THE BUZZ Nestled within the quaint Dempsey Hill, Don Quijote, which is opened by xxx offers authentic Spanish cuisine in a lovely setting. For an added touch of authenticity, the restaurant is the only one in Singapore that serves xxx.
AMBIENCE Awash with red and yellow colours, and outfitted with wooden furnishings and plenty of Spanish paraphernalia, the ambience at Don Quijote is homey and rustic – it almost feels as though you are dining in someone’s home.
FOOD & DRINK Like its rustic interior, the food served at Don Quijote is genuine and wholesome with flavours reminiscent of Spain. The chefs here swear by only the freshest and highest quality ingredients, most of which are flown in from Spain. In fact, almost all of the fishes on the menu (except the desserts) are cooked and prepared using the owner's family brand of organic extra virgin olive oil.
The menu sees a well-curated selection of traditional Spanish dishes – think cold and hot tapas, a variety of paellas, pastas, meats, and plenty of soups and salads. Being first-time visitors to the restaurant, we left the decision in the good hands of the loquacious staff, who introduced the menu and gave a very detailed breakdown of every item.
We started our meal with a basket of bread, a selection of hot tapas and some champagne. The tapas, which comprised grilled fried shrimp (gambas al ajillo, S$14), fried battered squid in a spicy sauce (calamares a la parilla picante, S$16), croquettes with cured Spanish ham (croquetas con jamón, S$16), grilled secreto (secreto a la plancha, S$26), Offering personalised service, a warm and cosy environment, and an extensive Spanish menu including some eighty food items ranging from tapas, savoury soups to fresh seafood, paellas and very succulent meats, Don Quijote definitely tops our list of 'must-visit' restaurants. and oxtail stew (rabo de toro, S$16), were a fantastic way to ease into the menu. Our favourite from the lot was the croquette filled with Iberico ham – a crumbed, cheesy, deep-fried and bite-sized delight. Also good was the grilled fried shrimp, which was moist, tasty and just the right side of firm.
For mains, we ordered a few items to share, such as the squid and shrimp pasta cooked in squid ink (fideuá negra, S$33), the roasted Spanish style suckling pig (asado de cochinillo espanol, S$169 for half a pig), the lamb rack with honey red wine sauce and garden vegetables (chuletas de cordero, S$42), as well as the restaurant's signature paella – the paella especial Don Quijote(tm) (S$53 for the small pan). We thoroughly enjoyed all the dishes, but the highlight for us was definitely the suckling pig and paella. The former was seasoned and cooked perfectly resulting in extremely tender, succulent and flavourful meat, while the latter, which came with a smattering of plump prawns, juicy mussels and clams, and scrumptious chorizo bits nestling amid the moist and slightly chewy rice grains, was exceptionally hearty and delicious.
Diners will be pleased to know that there are many ways to enjoy an authentic paella here – you can choose to have your rice cooked al dente or slightly softer, with five various toppings in a saffron or squid ink stock, and sizes that run from a personal pan to generous communal portions.
To round off an extremely sumptuous dinner, we had churros (churros con chocolate, S$12), and a warm chocolate cake made with Spanish chocolates and served with vanilla ice cream (bomba de chocolate, S$19). ADDRESS #01-02, Block 7 Dempsey Road
OPENING HOURS Daily : Noon to 3:00pm (Lunch) 6:30pm to 11:00pm (Dinner)
PRICE Cold tapas from S$12 Hot tapas from S$8 Salads from S$14 Paellas from S$30 Meats from S$18 Desserts from S$8