How funny is the name Octapas, which is located conveniently at the bridge between The Central Mall and Clarke Quay. The female servers are dressed in traditional Spanish costumes, bare-shouldered with frilly long skirts, and flowers in their hair. The restaurant has an al fresco area along the Singapore river and if you sit inside the restaurant, a band (with a pretty decent singer) plays on Wed-Sat from 9.30pm. Strangely, many Koreans were dining when we were there.
Beef Tenderloin Cubes sauteed in Olive Oil and Garlic ($17)
Bacon-wrapped Deep Fried Prawns with Tomato Salsa ($16)
If you look very carefully in the backdrop of the photo above, you’d see two glasses of strong sangria($15/glass; $65/jug): the citrusy white and the grapey red. The sweetness of the fruits made it deceptively easy to drink, but be warned, the alcoholic content was pretty high. A pity I didn’t peruse the drinks menu properly–not much of a drinker–because I’d love a glass of sparkling sangria (more fun) or lychee sangria, both of which are of the same price as the white and red sangria.
Grilled Squid with Balsamic Vinegar Reduction ($16)
Wine-sauteed Scallops in Cream Sauce ($17)
The tapas are divided into hot and cold. Since we Asians hate cold food, we skipped the cold food and went for the whole food. For the hot tapas, there are meat, seafood, and veggie sections. Since we Asians are animal lovers, we skipped the veg.
The tapas were generally quite heavy-handed in flavors, which would go very well with alcohol. In fact, we liked it that they were so kickass salty. The squid was perfectly grilled and retained its bounciness, without being rubbery or dry. The cream sauce of the scallops were as salty as the Dead Sea but they complemented each other excellent since scallops by themselves are usually bland.
One minor improvement, however, is that we didn’t think prawns/shrimps were fresh and they came across limp and dense, like mock meat.
Mariscos Paella ($38 for 2; $58 for 4)
After the tapas, we Asians needed carbs. We decided to forgo their specialty paella and opted for the marisco, made of mussels, squid, shrimp and fish. Even the staleness of the prawns couldn’t bring this dish down. The flavors were complex that it would be hard to recreate this dish on our own. The texture of the rice wasn’t the burnt-to-the-pan sort, but it was more of a moist congee. Chiobu, who hates green peas, devoured this dish.
Churros with Chocolate Sauce ($10)
The weakest link was perhaps their desserts. Not much of an option, the churros had the taste of bad oil.
But still, the end didn’t mar the experience for us. Overall, we enjoyed our dinner. Even the fusspot Chiobu was contented after the meal. After the meal, I went home, lay on the bed and basked in the postprandial warmth of the tummy.
Octapas Spanish Tapas Restaurant & Bar
Blk D, River Valley Rd #01-08, Clarke Quay Singapore 179023
T: 6837 2938
F, Sat, Eve of PH: 12pm-2pm
Rating: 3.038/5 stars
PS: Thanks to Fransisca and Octapas for the invite.