Spanish cuisine is still not an often thought-of cuisine in Asia, though it has gained in popularity over the last decade, with increasing tourism to Spain. Consequently, there are probably not enough benchmarks for the uninitiated like me, who have not stepped foot into Spain. It is unfortunately often the 3rd choice I never get to behind Italy and France. And OK, Rafael Nadal just isn't on my list of favourite persons.
So D's choice of Via Mar was somewhat refreshing. That meant some apprehension also since this was untried and I hadn't seen any reviews. The setting is very nice, on the grounds of the Singapore Art Museum, on the Waterloo Street side. There is also an al fresco area for those willing to suffer the humidity. Despite the hour, we were the only table at lunch and it wasn't until we were half-way through that another couple joined us. On the bright side, we just had more attentive service.
First up, our tapas of Chorizo slices dunked in a garlic-infused olive oil. A nice starter with the warm sliced baguette served, but just a tad salty for me. The sodium level would be acceptable with a nice cold jug of Sangria, which we did not have.
The seafood paella was touted to be a special and in my opinion, a Spanish benchmark. It was pleasantly tasty enough and decked out generously but somehow, I just wasn't sure of its authenticity, especially with the hard-boiled egg quarters (although I do like them!). Overall, the dish did not come close to a "wow" for me - the seafood could have been better cooked so as to be more juicy - most of it lost their taste somewhere but unfortunately not in the rice. Suspicion: parboiled then decorated over the rice???
The recommended dessert of the pear soaked in red wine, with chocolate sauce and strawberry ice cream was surprisingly very decent. Of course, the pink pear was the main character who stole the show. Heavily laced and pretty, it still retained its crunch and went well with the chocolate. The strawberry ice cream in my opinion was superfluous. I think a strawberry sorbet would have fared even better to make this an excellent summer cooler.
71 Bras Basah Road
#01-03 Singapore Art Museum
Tel: +65-6423 0900