La Cala at Duo Galleria means “the bay” in Spanish although it is nowhere near waters. I tried to search for information on the restaurant–who is the chef? what is their signatures? etc–but I couldn’t find any. In this day and age, it’s unacceptable that information cannot be freely found. What I could find on their facebook is some PR babble that the “prices [are kept] reasonable” (not really, it’s quite expensive); that the ingredients are sourced from Europe; and that it serves Spanish andMediterranean cuisines. So what I can judge in this review is only what I experienced and I guess that is the fairest sort of review: to enter a restaurant without much expectations and information.
They have a set lunch for $38++ but it just says “tapas, paella, dessert.” The vague lunch menu may be the reason why the restaurant was empty on the day of our visit. The emptiness didn’t inspire any confidence but, in the end, we had a fantastic meal.
I always claim (and generalise) that the gratis bread is an indicator of the standards of the restaurant. And this one is amazing. It’s freshly baked, warm, crusty, and has a sweet carby flavour. Very lovely that I asked for a second round.
The jamon croqueta ($4.50 per piece) is surprising as it is delicious. The saltiness of the ham goes exceeding well with the croqueta, which ISN’T filled with usual molten stuff; it’s solid and grainy with–I guess–potato and ham and cheese. Excellent. I love the bite of it.
The cannelloni ($14) is a traditional cylinder pasta stuffed with shredded beef and pork, doused with truffle cream. The meat is a little dry but the truffle cream is explosive, packed with umami. Use your bread to wipe up the sauce. Superb.
We didn’t order any from the “Seafood” section because we didn’t want to be healthy. Haha, just kidding. We didn’t feel like seafood that day although the waiter recommended the roasted octopus ($32). The crispy suckling pig ($35) is tender and crispy and a mild hint of garlic. The beetroot is amazing; usually beetroot has a “soil” taste which I detest but this one is entirely sweet, serving to undercut the savouriness of the pork. An outstanding contrast between beetroot and suckling pig.
The slow-cooked lamb rack ($38) in Catalan style, also from the “Meat” Section, is unfortunately overdone and tough; it was the only disappointing dish we had. But the combination with pumpkin mashed and apple is fantastic; the sweet balances the savoury.
The pigeon paella ($38) is sapid and extremely delectable. The pigeon is beautifully done, tender and succulent. It tastes slightly like a lean goose, liver-y. The carnaroli rice is mixed with porcini mushroom, which makes it sweet and bitter (from the char), tasting almost like the Chinese sweet-black sauce used for soon kueh. This is fantastic.
We didn’t have any desserts because the desserts didn’t sound very interesting… or perhaps, on the menu, there isn’t enough information about what the foreign desserts are. La Cala is an amazing restaurant, but unfortunately the dearth of information fails to educate the public about the food, and thus, inhibits customers to enter the restaurant. What a shame that people miss out on this wonderful restaurant. We paid $163 for three persons.
Duo Galleria, 7 Fraser Street, #01-40/43 Singapore 189356
tel: +65 6282 9200
11.30am-2.30pm, 6pm-10pm, closed Sun
You may be interested in…
–Ola Cocina Del Mar, MBFC: Steep but Superb Spanish Food by Alumnus from 3 Michelin-starred Santi
–Gaig Restaurant, Stanley Street: Offshoot of Barcelona’s Michelin-starred Restaurant With 150 Years of History, Serving Catalan Classics
–Pura Brasa, Tanjong Pagar Centre: Spanish Restaurant Created by THE Josper Grill Company
–Tapas Club, Orchard Central: Affordable Spanish Food by Binomio Chef Jose Alonso and Michelin Starred Chef Manuel Berganza
Written by Dr. A. Nathanael Ho.