I love Spanish food, but there are not many quality Spanish restaurants in Singapore. Dehesa (which in Spanish means “grasslands” – home of the famed Iberico pig), is one of them.
What makes Dehesa unique is their adherent to the concept of ‘nose to tail eating’, whereby the chef commits to whole animal usage and each dishes are made-from-scratch. This is not easy to achieve as some offal can be very gamey in taste if it’s not prepared properly.
Offal is extreme gourmet for some, but to those who know how to enjoy them, they are hard-to-get delicacies, seldom found on restaurant menus, except by the very best chefs who know how to prepare them. If you can stomach the pig’s ears, intestines and skins served at your local kway chap stall or the beef tripe from the beef noodle stall, you can stomach the offal dishes at Dehesa too. I am a big fan of kway chap and am definitely game to try everything on the menu at Dehesa.
Chef-owner Jean-Philippe Patruno (affectionately known as JP) sits at the helm of this innovative venture located on North Canal Road, which extends the thriving Hong Kong Street dining scene. I was invited for a tasting with the chef and these were the dishes I tried:
Stunningly good! Duck hearts are new to me but I can get used to the rich flavours and go for another serving. I have always enjoyed tripe but this is the first time I tried crispy tripe which introduce me to something new. I love the offal dishes for the sheer surprise they pack – given that they are likely foreign to most diners.
The signature octopus and seafood paella are must-try. The freshly prepared octopus, charred to perfection in front of your very eyes was both a visual and gastronomy treat. The paella was rich, moist and strong in texture, with the seafood flavours infused into the rice.
I am usually not a dessert person, but I really like the chocolate dish, served with olive oil and salt, mixing sweet with savoury. This seems a common play for the chef as like the other dessert dish which was paired with caramelised bacon. The restaurant also features a wide selection of alcoholic drinks options for those who like to enjoy their offal dishes with a drop of liquor or two.
Prices are reasonable too for the high quality of food. The chef is extremely friendly and would chat and banter with diners in his casual self. If you are interested to visit Dehesa, details are as below:
12 North Canal Road,
Monday to Friday
11,30 AM – 2,30 PM
Monday to Saturday
5,30 PM till late
Private dining area
available via bookings
on +65 6221 7790