Our team goes undercover to suss out the latest and most talked about restaurants in town
Food-wise, there were more misses than hits on both visits. For tapas, we enjoyed the Gilda Skewer ($5/piece) – a briny lollipop of anchovy, smoked seabass, pipara pepper, pickled onion and cucumber, and olives. Skip the tapas of Spanish Anchovies ($12) and Marinated Olives ($8), and have the Pim Pam Crab Croquetas instead – crisp golden orbs cradling a hot filling of bechamel and crabmeat.
Of the cooked seafood dishes, the Octopus Galician Style ($22) served with mashed potatoes presented burnt notes on our first visit but fared better on our second; no hint of char, thankfully, and the flesh was succulent. The Prawns Al Ajillo ($14) didn’t meet expectations. We were looking forward to plump crustaceans slicked with spicy, aromatic oil. Instead, the gambas arrived pale and dry, sans spicy, fragrant and garlicky oil for mopping up with the accompanying bread. It is a straightforward dish to execute and the only acceptable explanation for the mediocre dish that we had could only be down to its recipe.
The Pim Pam Trinxat ($12) – pan-fried mashed potatoes and Savoy cabbage with crispy pork belly, topped with fried egg and crispy kale, was decent and could do nicely as a brunch dish, washed down with a glass of white. Skip the Ibérico Pork Presa ($30), which tasted rather bland and was saved only by the accompanying punchy black garlic mayo.
Of the paellas, we preferred the toothsome Squid Ink Paella ($24), a moreish treat brimming with cuttlefish and plump prawns, over the Senyoret Paella ($30) served a la llauna. The latter, traditional Spanish paella with squid and scampi, cooked in a shallow rectangular pan for more of that desired socarrat (the crunchy rice that forms at the bottom of a paella pan), was a tad disappointing with none of that promised treat. The scampi – two precious morsels halved lengthwise such that there was scant meat to bite into – placed atop the paella, didn’t do much for the dish. Desserts-wise, the Doodle Churros ($4/two pieces) was crunchy right through, tasting like a sweet, re-toasted cruller. A chewier texture would have been lovely.
Service was generally helpful, save for a waiter who insisted that there weren’t enough menus to go around (there were only two other tables occupied) when we requested to hold on to a copy, and proceeded to park the menu on the shelf. We’d give it more time before we return to try the breakfast bocatas (Spanish-style sandwiches), cochinillo (suckling pig) and bottled cocktails.
Average dinner bill for two, with drinks: $150
Must-tries: Crab Croquetas and Squid Ink Paella
Book a table at Pim Pam by FOC with Chope.