Don Quijote Spanish Restaurant: Splendid Spanish Surprises

Address: 17 Lorong Kilat, Singapore 598139 | Tel: 6465 1811

There has been a bit of a talk about visiting Spain. So the girlfriend brought me to this obscure restaurant for some Spanish fare. Don Quijote isn’t exactly accessible by public transport, (with exception of the taxi, that is) but it is worth the walk from the bus stops at Jalan Jurong Kechil and Upper Bukit Timah Road.

First Impressions
The restaurant is nicely done up with nice warm lighting. No deliberate and pretentious welcome phrase from the wait staff, (doubly awful if it is in badly pronounced Espagnol) just a dignified greeting and we were ushered to our seats. Family friendly and Romantic at the same time.

Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (Acorn)
Spanish Free-Range Acorn-Feed Iberian Pig Ham that has been cured for 36 months

I added this item to my “to eat” list after a few travel and dining shows and articles featuring Spain and her legendary ham. Curiosity had the better of me and I decided to give it a try. I like it for the way the rich individual flavours from the fat and fibres permeate the palate. The fat seems to melt in the mouth, releasing this pleasant, nutty flavour. The meat fibres provides this firm, resilient texture that you would play on your tongue for a while before swallowing. Definitely an experiential food.

It costs $27 for 5 paper thin slices and a few sprigs of salad greens. Not bad, considering it is actually bits of a 3-year-old pig carcass.

Berenjenas al Horo
Oven-Baked Eggplant

The girlfriend and I thought this would a “dry” dish consisting of the main event (the eggplant) with a little thick gravy on top. What the kitchen served up looked more like an oven-baked crockpot of clear vegetable soup with a halved eggplant. This dish was surprisingly flavourful. The eggplant was soft and mushy as it should be and the clear soup provided the needed taste for what would be a plain tasting dish.
The only grouses: This dish was quite oily and the skin on the eggplant was rather tough. I’m guessing the eggplant was deep fried or sauteed with lots of oil before going into the oven.
Nevertheless, an enjoyable dish.

Paella Negra
Spanish Style Seafood Rice with Shrimp and Squid, in Ink

I like to think paella as the Spanish equivalent of the local claypot rice. At first look, this dish looks like rice with with too much blackened poison. Mixing the rice around reveals the generous condiments of shrimp and squid. The squid ink blackened rice had a nice, unique and robust seafood taste to it. Some might find this taste a little over-powering and tasting like some stale seafood. But if strong flavours are your thing, paella negra is for you. Of course, the fun part of all squid ink dishes is always about achieving that timeless blackened lips and teeth look.

Sangría Tinto (Red)

Yum. This alcoholic drink was fruity, tasty and surprisingly potent. The slight fizziness and the chunky bits of fruit was refreshing with the generally heavy tasting food. Best to avoid it if you are driving. It would have knocked both of us out if not for sharing.

Last words

I think Don Quijote serves up pretty decent Spanish fare at reasonable prices. Service is brisk and unpretentious. Dishes like paella will require waiting (25 – 35 mins) as advised in the menu. Bring friends if you like to try a variety of dishes.

Must Tries: Paella, Iberico, Sangria

Everything with Fries

The Girlfriend and I went on an “excursion” to the east during the weekend and came across “Everything with Fries”. The curious taste buds ordered the Vanilla Mille Crepe and Garlic and Herbs Straight Cut Fries.

The place mat was simple, functional, minimalist and rather cool.

I liken the Vanilla Mille Crepe to a westernized tribute to kueh lapis. The vanilla cream sandwiched between the thin crepe oozed out invitingly at every bit of pressure applied on the top-most caramelized layer.

could hardly taste the Garlic and herbs though. More like some generic chilli flavoured powder with fries. Nice bite to every piece of the fries though.

Chendol Melaka

Once you’ve tried the chendol in Melaka, you wouldn’t want to touch other versions. Chendol Melaka sets itself apart with the generous use of gula melaka which is that fragrant brown coconut sugar as well as the thick, undiluted coconut milk. Both ingredients are almost always diluted to the point of mediocrity elsewhere.

Especially for this stall in Jonker Walk, the gula melaka has the consistency of honey. It slowly runs down the little mountain of coconut milk drenched ice as its viscosity resists being absorbed. Best of all, it sticks to the spoon so that its fragrance can be savoured as it is licked off. The result is a little bowl of awesomeness that will leave you knowing you never want to go for chendol knockoffs.

Hainanese Chicken Rice Balls at Chop Chung Wah

The herd mentality is works pretty well in finding good food anywhere, in Asian countries at least. While in Melaka, I spotted an unassuming kopi-tiam that was filled with customers and had people queuing out in the open.

The herd mentality naturally suggests that there is something good there. So I went in for look…

The full house of customers can’t be wrong, so I sat down to order what everybody else ordered…

Ok, so I wasn’t exactly alone to have ordered 2 chickens. Anyway, I am here to talk about how different and good this chicken rice is from the Singaporean version.

Starting off with the chicken, the texture of the meat was a different firm, juicy and had that natural sweetness only found in free range chickens. There was significantly less fat under the skin too. The sauce drizzled all over the meat gave a nice fragrance of sesame oil to it.

The ping-pong ball-sized rice balls were heavenly. At first bite, it was literally a burst of flavors. There was an extra oomph that was distinctly from the chicken fat that went into the making of the rice. Plus, it was such a joy to eat them, I wish didn’t have to limit myself from having one too many.

Overall, this is probably one of the best chicken rice ever.

On a side note, there is another chicken rice balls restaurant chain (with 2 branches) by the name of A’Famosa Chicken Rice Balls (or something like that) that’s more atas. Heard they aren’t as fantastic as expected according to some who have tried. So don’t go for substitutes, go for Chung Wah!

Cui Yuan Hong Shan Zhong Rojak

There are many variations of rojak available in Singapore, all of which are have the element of mixing its ingredients up. While I can’t say that I have a favourite kind of rojak, I do recommend this grilled variety.

Rojak

Rojak from Cui Yuan Hong Shan Zhong

Incidentally, people might argue that this isn’t really rojak, but just a plate of stuffed taupok and youtiao. As for me, I’m more transfixed on the food. Who cares about debating if it should have pineapples and turnip before it can be called rojak anyway?

What makes the rojak or taupok youtiao here special is the use of a charcoal grill. Each item you order is toasted to perfection over the old school grill for that doistinctive smoky flavour you can taste in every bite. Everything is quickly cut into bite-sized pieces and generously drizzled with the black rojak sauce and a generous shower of crushed groundnuts.

End result is plate consisting of crispy youtiao that you wish you didn’t need to fight over among friends. Among that, stuffed taupok with that amazing fine, crumbly texture that goes so perfectly with the crunch of beansprouts and cucumber.

Of course, I personally like that the stall is run by an old couple in an old school eating places like Bukit Merah Food Centre.

Below is the address and a picture of the stall for identification.

Blk 163, Bukit Merah Central
#02-20 Bukit Merah Central Food Centre
Singapore 150163

the stall front

B Bakery – A Quaint Little Find

Some time back I visited this quaint little restaurant (less than 10 tables inside and 4 outside) in Bussorah Street which is within the Arab Street network for a friend’s birthday dinner. The food was pretty decent and I liked the fact that the owners took effort to ask for the group’s (10 of us) food order in advance so that they can handle the orders, as well as providing a non-public menu for our selection. Not too sure if this menu is now printed, so when you do go, ask the staff about it.

The food was served rather quickly thanks to good planning by the restaurant even for such a small group. These are what I managed to try.

Grilled Vegetables & Hummus Platter – $5
Grilled Vegetables & Hummus Platter

A very interesting starter. Deceptively simple in preparation. All the vegetables used were grilled just right for that soft mashable texture. Though some of the vegetables were quite badly charred, like the onion on the 9 o’clock position. But still worth the mention was its surprising sweetness and the absence of spiciness. The hummus in the middle was great with the default basket of bread. A colourful, cheerful, healthy appetiser. I do wish that the portion would be larger. But at $5, maybe I will order 2.

Water Melon, Feta Cheese & Rocket Salad – $5
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I almost forgotten about photographing this! Nevertheless, I must say is is a wonderful salad that cleverly combined watermelon with feta cheese. The strong taste of the former was nicely complimented by the refreshing crunch and sweetness of the latter. Both together made the salad eating extra enjoyable and fun. Clearly another happy and comforting dish.

Braised lamb shank in wine sauce, mashed potato, sauteed vegetables – $20
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What’s this thing about braised lamb shank that every restaurant seems to be serving? Not that I am complaining, though. Anyway, the one here tasted pretty much like every other decent braised lamb shank with exception to the wine sauce which tasted sharper and might take a little getting used to. The fibres of meat could have been more tender and moist, but if the texture is your thing, it was done just right. I do wish the lamb shank had a little bit more of the tendons though.

Salmon papilote (oven baked in paper), vegetables, capers – $18
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The salmon was nice, moist and flaky thanks to the way it was prepared. Unfortunately, zesty sauce used was not necessarily the best thing to go along with it, in my opinion. The saltiness from the pickled capers masked taste the fish by a bit too.

As for ambience, I like it for being small, quiet and personal. Perhaps the name, B Bakery also wanted to suggest its humility.

Lastly, the recommendation is to make reservations and order in advance as their inventory for dinner is quite limited.
Also note that they are open for dinner from Thursdays to Saturdays, 6pm – 10pm only.