Carles Gaig, who owns the eponymous one Michelin-starred restaurant in Barcelona, has recently opened La Ventana at Dempsey, an isolated, exclusive enclave hidden behind another building, serving Catalan tapas. (La Ventana is situated with the art galleries and furniture shops, not where the food section is.)
The kitchen is helmed by Eduard Castellarnau, who is, according to this badly Google-translated newspaper, Gaig’s son or son-in-law; and Gaig’s daughter, Nuria, is the manager. In any case, La Ventana appears to be family-run, like the Barcelona restaurant that has been passed down for generations since 1869. The Gaigs need to have plenty of offspring if they want to expand their food empire.
The food was not bad, and had a homely touch, but was overpriced. We eschewed the tapas tasting menus ($88 or $125) and went a la carte.
The best dish was Canelon since 1869 ($9.50/pc, above), a traditional cannelloni stuffed with foie gras, beef, and pork, sopped in truffle cream. The shredded meat was a tad dry, but the flavors packed an umami.
Another good dish: Carabinero paella‘s ($34) al dente carnaroli rice was swollen and chewy–nice bite–coated generously in a complex savory-then-sweet sauce that tasted similar to black sauce for soon kueh.
The meats, however, were mediocre. The Hokkaido scallops ($31, above) were boring and forgettable. The whole pigeon ($38, below) done two ways, confit and josper-grilled, was respectable and ordinary respectively. The grilled part could benefit with more char, and could be cooked longer. It came between rare and medium-rare so it retained a bloody iron flavor though it was easily masked by the sauce reduced from pigeon’s bones.
One area that could be improved was the service. Although most servers came from Spain, and although a dashing Spanish server could part-time as a heart-stealer, they did not introduce the dish when served and they couldn’t answer when we asked questions. The fault was venial, of course, and they were polite and attentive and very nice. But at this price, I wanted perfection. Including alcohol, we spent $84 per person.
16A Dempsey Road, #01-01 Singapore 247695
T: +65 6479 0100
Ambience/ Decor: 8.5/10
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.