Note: Foodbar Dada at Robertson Quay has closed and they are currently relocating to a new location.
In Singapore, a city full of amazing restaurants, it really takes something outstanding to make me sit up and take notice. I am just going to say this once: visit Foodbar Dada – a Spanish tapas bar at Robertson Quay – before it gets too popular. Make a booking, and go there soon.
If you are into Spanish tapas, I can safely say that this is one place you must try.
During my first visit two months back, the crowd was quite a sight. By coincidence, there was a restaurant owner, executive chef from a restaurant group, and Singapore’s top food critic from Straits Times, dining in the same time. It was completely unplanned, and felt like a mini reunion for everyone.
The bar itself is small, with 20 seats along a narrow counter. Upon stepping inside, I fell in love with the place, and I knew immediately tat it was going to do very well. It was a multi-sensory experience for me: the music, the people, the vibe, the smell, the clanking of cast-iron pans, the heat from the Josper grill…
We started with the Iberican secret ($16) which came highly recommended and the sous vide pork was superb! It was tender, fat, and very juicy.
During my visit to Barcelona last year, I felt let down that most of the squid ink paellas that we tried were mediocre. So I took a cautious approach when facing Foodbar Dada’s black mediterranean rice ($8). After trying it, I dare say it was better than most of the ones that I’ve had before. The rice was flavourful and cooked to the right doneness of what you would expect from a good paella.
I wasn’t very keen to try the watermelon gazpacho ($12) as I was not a fan of cold soup, until Foodbar Dada’s rendition changed that. It was light, and very refreshing. That said, I would probably order this just once as there are too many items on the menu to choose from.
The best dish of the night – and something I would return to Foodbar Dada again and again – is the Josper mini squid ($18) cooked with olive oil, salt, pepper, and egg. It was simple, but so so good. Definitely a dish that you must order!
We decided to push our luck and go for the potato bravas ($6). Here, it was done slightly refined, with four cubes of potatoes on a nice elongated plate. It was very from the usual potato bravas, but I have to give credit to the chefs for the presentation.
On the second visit, we had the same baby squid and black squid ink rice, and I am happy to say that the quality of both dishes were still very good.
I was disappointed to see that they removed salmon from the menu, as I remembered it to be nicely-seared, and paired with heavenly sweet grapes and a well-balanced sauce.
In place of it was the grilled seabass ($18), which my dining companion noted that the chef managed to maintain the integrity of the fish by not over-complicating it. I thought it was decent, but nothing to write home about.
Josper razor clams ($18) – with diced tomatoes, onions, olive oil, and lime – while good, was slightly overcooked, and it paled in comparison to the signature baby squid.
We also had the cod puffs ($12) – a new special item on the menu – which is essentially a savoury puff pastry filled with cod bits.
Next up was the 150g Josper steak ($30), accompanied by red pepper, pumpkin, and peas. Again, a piece of good meat seasoned well with sea salt, and prepared to a high level in the Josper grill.
For desserts, we were puzzled that the souffle ($12) did not rise as much as it should, and it had a molten chocolate-y centre. It was more like a chocolate lava cake than souffle. Not that we were complaining, it was a sweet ending for our wonderful meal.
The food at Foodbar Dada is not rocket-science. They use fresh produce, well-seasoned with good quality olive oil, maldon sea salt, and expertly-cooked in Josper grill. If budget is a consideration, prices here are significantly lower than the other top Spanish tapas restaurants in Singapore.
It might seem that I raved too much about Foodbar Dada, and the last thing I want to do is to set your expectations too high. But trust me on this, Foodbar Dada is worth a visit.
I’d go so far as to say it is one of the best new restaurants to open in Singapore this year. See you there!
60 Robertson Quay
Tel: +65 6735 7738
Tue to Sat: 6pm – 11pm
Reservations are required.
For more recommendations, read my list of Spanish Restaurants in Singapore