Lunch at La Ventana Dempsey, a top Spanish restaurant in Singapore
La Ventana is a Spanish restaurant in Dempsey Hill, Singapore. It was set up in June 2015 by Michelin starred Chef Carles Gaig as part of his expansion to Asia. The tapas-centric restaurant in Singapore features a menu of classic Catalan dishes. We stopped by for lunch recently. (2018 Update: La Ventana has rebranded as Tapas 26 and moved to another location at Dempsey. Read about our visit to Tapas 26 here).
According to the La Ventana website, Chef Gaig aims to “… bring about a sense of nostalgia to Catalans from all over the world and make them feel at home, while at the same time giving international visitors an introduction to authentic and long-standing Catalan fare.”
(2017 Update – It appears from a Straits Times article on 8 August 2017 that the consultancy with Chef Gaig had ended and the Gaig family had opened up their own restaurant in Singapore. You can read about our lunch at the new Gaig Restaurant in Singapore here.)
The La Ventana restaurant takes up a single storey building and its surrounding garden. Entering the premises at 16A Dempsey Road felt like visiting someone in a bungalow with sprawling grounds. The lush foliage surrounding the building is as impressive as the restaurant itself. We can imagine it to be even more beautiful when lit up at night.
Dining at Spanish restaurant La Ventana in the afternoon takes place mostly in the internal air-conditioned space as the outdoor space is simply too hot, even with the awning deployed. The decor is elegant but not ostentatious.
On weekdays, there is a $48 set lunch. Here are pictures of the La Ventana set lunch menu and pages from their a la carte menu. We decided to go a la carte as there were items on the list that we were curious to try.
La Ventana Singapore Menu
To start with, we had a Spanish draught beer ($12) to beat the heat of the mid-day Singapore sun. The beer went well with our first dish – L’Escala Anchovies – cured anchovies on toast (5 pieces for $16). This was superb – tasty anchovies on a bed of extremely light and crisp toast.
Next we had a Miniature “Tortilla” ($12). Spanish omelette is one of our favourite tapas item and we always like to try it whenever we can. This one was very enjoyable with the external surface being well cooked and the insides creamy and soft. It never fails to amaze us how a humble dish of eggs, potato and onions can combine to taste so good.
The octopus dish ($32) was served in an unusual way. The tentacles of slow roasted octopus were cut into small portions and served with potatoes and Spanish smoked paprika in a terrine-like presentation. The taste of this was good but the octopus was a bit too soft for our liking. We prefer octopus with a firmer texture (and a gentle bounce).
Finally, we could not visit a Catalan style Spanish restaurant without trying their paella dish. There were a few choices available including lobster paella and pigeon paella. This time we opted for the “Fideuà” – Catalan style noodle paella cooked in seafood broth and garlic ($32). We do not often come across noodle paella. This one, oddly enough, reminded us of Chinese fried noodles. It was a hearty, tasty dish.
We had no space for desserts. The coffee was quite expensive ($7.50 and $6 for cappuccino and black coffee respectively). But some nice petit fours were served and we finished our lunch at La Ventana Spanish restaurant in Dempsey on a sweet note. This is certainly one of the best Spanish restaurants in Singapore that we have tried.