Please note that Pepe Moncayo has since left Ola Cocina Del Mar.
|The interior of Ola Cocina Del Mar|
The closure of Santi after the demise of the 7 Michelin-starred Santi Santamaria, the former chef patron of El Racó de Can Fabes, has breathed new life into the careers of Daniel Chavez and Pepe Moncayo, former executive chef and chef de cuisine of the defunct restaurant at Marina Bay Sands. Together with Italian chef-restaurateur, Osvaldo Forlino, the trio has opened Ola Cocina Del Mar, an unpretentious Spanish eatery sited on the ground floor of Marina Bay Financial Centre. The décor in this 75-seat restaurant is simple yet rustic: concrete floor with decorative tiles, walls adorned with posters and a 25-seat wooden-top counter for those who wish to witness the buzz in the stainless steel-clad open-concept kitchen. There are neither windows nor views to speak of here – perhaps all the better to keep the focus firmly on the lush Spanish fare.
|Chilled tomato gazpacho with a touch of cucumber pizzazz and a drizzle of olive oil|
|Brandade-stuffed piquillo with vizcaina sauce|
|Tosta Ramona – anchovy, dried figs and cherry tomato on warm toast|
What to expect
Leveraging on their time spent with Santamari, Chavez – a Spanish chef of Peruvian descent – and Moncayo – a Spanish chef through and through – bring to the fore a concise menu of Spanish classics and heart-warming tapas fare, sans the hefty price tags. From the tapas menu, standouts include chilled tomato gazpacho with a touch of cucumber pizzazz and a drizzle of olive oil; the mound of brandade (cod emulsion)-stuffed roast piquillo drenched with peppers-accented vizcaina sauce; and, best of all, tosta Ramona, a warm toast crowned with umami-rich anchovy, sweet dried fig and succulent cherry tomatoes. Admittedly, the tapas plates are petite and you would want to fill-up with mains. Count yourselves lucky if the restaurant is serving the off-menu crispy shoulder of suckling pig with sides of borlotti beans tossed with baby zucchini; if not, the New Zealand coral trout with fideua – a pasta from Valencia cooked paella style – is a plausible, if healthier, alternative. For desserts, you can’t go wrong with the orange-scented Crema Catalan.
12 Marina Boulevard, Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3, #01-06; +65- 6604 7050; olarestaurant.sg/
© Evelyn Chen 2013
Please note that the reviews published on this blog are sometimes hosted. I am under no obligation to review every restaurant I’ve visited. If I do, the reviews are 100% my own.