The specialty of the 12-seater tapas bar (with some al fresco tables) is the $30, 000 Josper grill oven, an oven at a high heat that sears the flavors and juice of the meat while giving it a smoky aroma. Since we, hipsters, have been to almost all tapas bars in Singapore, we thought Foodbar is one of the better ones at a relatively lower price.
We were there a few months ago on a Saturday at 8.30pm. Although the bar was packed, we got a table easily outside the bar, along the pavement. It was hot and there was no ambience to speak of but since Foodbar is not along the river/canal, the pavement was quiet, avoiding curious glances of passersby.
Both our drinks, Southside Fizz ($19, mint, gin, lemon juice, lime juice and sparking wine) and Out of this World ($19, egg white, ginger, thyme, white rum, spiced rum, orgeat syrup, lime juice, Angostura bitters), were pretty but pretty disappointing. One of them tasted like, in Huccalily’s words, detergent. Maybe they are out of this world for aliens to drink. We didn’t go for a second round.
But the food was another matter, they were excellent. The watermelon gazpacho ($12, pictured above) was one of the best in Singapore, and came with a dollop of charcoal olive oil ice cream. Light, tangy, unique, not acrid, and refreshing. Dada bravas ($6) is their version of the Spanish patatas bravas, that came in cubes with a hole in the middle crammed with cream — quite yummy.
The specialties of the bar also shone: baby squid ($18, above) was sauteed on a iron skillet in the josper oven, doused generously with garlic, and an egg beaten into it when it was almost cooked. For those who prefer lighter food, this may be oily and too salty but for those who prefer heavy-handed cooking, like us, we liked it. The other speciality, black Mediterranean rice ($8), or squid-ink rice, is a must-order: the flavors burst in the mouth.
The so-so dish, Sishito Peppers with Shitakes ($11, pictured above), was ordinary, like something you can order from a cai-fan stall. Huccalily ordered this. Next time, I should always do the ordering because she makes the worst ordering choices ever.
We ended with Josper chocolate souffle, vanilla and passion fruit ($12), which had thick and dark chocolate and a pleasing contrast with the tart passionfruit. A better souffle than that chocolate shop at Robertson Quay.
Orh Lu Lu Rice or Black Mediterranean Rice.
The service was good, friendly, approachable and attentive.
Actually, we don’t understand why other reviewers complain that Foodbar is expensive because we spent $115.50 for two, which is cheaper than other tapas bars. As I was writing this entry, I thought the food was delicious but why was Foodbar so forgettable? Then I realized that while. by and large, Foodbar Dada is an all-rounder and has outstanding dishes, the food wasn’t as orgasmic as Esquina, as delicate as the defunct Amuse, as intense as Lolla, as lingering as Salt’s barramundi, or as classic as Binomio. In short, although the food at Foodbar Dada may overall be better than some of the tapas bars listed above, it needs to find a unifying touch and style that link the food together or it runs the risk of being forgettable.
60 Robertson Quay
#01-12 The Quayside
T: 6735 7738
Rating: 3.420/5 stars
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.