Bodega Y Tapas was rebranded to Amuse for a short while, and now it has returned to the old name with the return of Chef Roberto Hernandez Sevillano who left to open TungLok’s MAD in the interim. Chef Sevillano was trained under 2-Michelin-starred chef Paco Roncero and has worked in Italy, Paris and Spain. His inspiration comes from childhood memories of cooking with his mother. Bodega Version 2.0 is slightly different from the old Bodega: there is now a modern twist to traditional Spanish tapas.
The handsome mixologist, Klaus Leopard, is still around, so order a cocktail or two: Amber Bowl, P for Passion and Maica are drinks with depth that we had before and we recommend them.
For starter, the not-Spanish but very good foie gras terrine ($14) had a fruit-and-nut vinaigrette, tangy with pomegranate, sweet with apricot, that brought out the full richness and, at the same time, reduce the excessiveness of the terrine. Quite a smart combination but the bread was a little run-of-the-mill and could be improved.
My eating companion’s favorite dish was Spanish pulpo ($15). We were 90% sure this was cooked sous vide because it would otherwise be impossible to maintain this kind of texture for octopus, tender and bouncy but not rubbery. “This texture has the same texture as fats,” my companion said in amazement. The octopus comes with a smooth mashed potato.
The suquet balear ($18) is a must-order. A traditional Spanish stew, made from saffron broth, it tasted like intense lobster bisque, with an extremely sweet aftertaste, felt right at the back of the tongue. The broth, thickened with almond, pine nuts, parsley and garlic, had a great viscosity, not too gooey or too thin. In the broth were pan-fried fish, rice, prawns, and the best mussels I had. Not chewy and overcooked, the mussels were soft and pillowy like a dream.
The slow-cooked suckling pig ($22) was the selling-point of the old Bodega. I had tasted it previously and while I thought it was still good, it was not as fascinating as the first time. The pulled pork was compressed into a cube, then topped with a piece of crackling piece of skin. It had a porky smell that I couldn’t appreciate. This was a competent dish but weight-watchers like myself may want to order something else.
Overall, version 2.0 is an improvement. The food was more polished and delicate.
442 Orchard Rd, Orchard Hotel #01-29, Singapore 238879
T: 6735 3476
M-Sat: 12pm-1am; Sun 12pm-2am
Rating: 3.284/5 stars
ps: Thanks, Zhaoting and Roberto, for the hospitality.
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.