Four years ago, I visited La Paloma for the first time to try their summer menu. There, I was introduced to their “explosive” tapas – including a Spanish bluefin tuna-topped cracker-like puff with a tangy filling. It was stunning, and I thought about it whenever my friends and I talked about going out for Spanish food. But… it’s been four years. Is La Paloma still any good?
Recently, I went back to try some of their new à-la-carte dishes, and upon entering the restaurant at 7:30pm on a weekday, I knew it would be just as great as I had remembered. The restaurant was packed – even the patio ended up being full!
While I waited for my friend, I ordered some of the explosive tapas: salmon TNT (smoked salmon with chipotle cream; $35 each), ternera y foie gras (Wagyu beef and foie gras cream; $35 each) and bacon con queso (bacon and cheese; $32 each). Stunning. Intense. Calorific. It’s absolutely worth a trip here just for these and some sangria ($98/glass).
In terms of the à-la-carte dishes, we started with the vieiras al fuego ($188), or “scallops on fire”, served with Brussels sprouts and Ibérico ham in a lobster sauce. The scallops were plump and fresh and the sauce tasty, but I wished that the dish had been served either hot or cold rather than lukewarm.
The ensaladilla Rusa ($128) is delicious. Both my friend and I enjoyed the lovely mix of flavours and textures. This is a soft and creamy potato salad with crunchy (breadsticks), salty (anchovies) and sour (olives, piquillo peppers) toppings.
I was really looking forward to trying the albondigas con sepia ($148), a recipe for Catalan-style meatballs with cuttlefish and peas from chef-owner Alex Fargas’ mother’s cookbook. These are the definition of Spanish comfort food.
We’ve all had chicken skewers before, but perhaps not like these pinchos morunos ($128). These skewers were super juicy and fresh, and they’re topped with a moreish, slightly sweet shallot dressing. Another dish where my friend and I paused our conversation to discuss how delicious it was.
Of course, we couldn’t leave without trying the new paella de mariscos ($428), or seafood paella. La Paloma now has a whopping eight different kinds of paella on the menu including this seafood one, which was previously off-menu. It was tasty enough and had delicious socarrat (the crispy, crunchy bottom of the rice), but for the price, I would have expected more seafood.
We ended our meal with churros ($78) and a crema catalana ($48) that’s presented like Italian cannoli. Both are solid choices for dessert.
La Paloma is such a fun restaurant. It’s bright and colourful, inspired by chiringuitos, or Spanish beach bars. The food is delicious and priced reasonably, and the new dishes add a homey feel to an already stacked à-la-carte menu, featuring delicious dishes that I haven’t seen on other Spanish menus in town. It’s a real gem and definitely worth a visit.
The restaurant also has an all-inclusive lunch menu from $198, weekend brunch with free-flow paella and suckling pig and great happy-hour deals that run even at the weekend.
This write-up is based on a complimentary media tasting provided in exchange for an honest review and no monetary compensation. The opinions expressed here represent the author’s.
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