I am a huge fan of Spanish cuisine. The obvious reason for that is Spanish cuisine is full of a variety of spices, without necessarily being hot or chilli. The not so obvious reason is that it maintains a perfect balance for those whose palate craves for delicate yet spiced grub.
Recently, I visited one of my favourite Spanish restaurants in Singapore – Don Quijote. For those who wonder what the name is all about, Don Quijote is the chivalric primary character in a fictional Spanish novel titled “El ingenioso hidalgo Don Quijote de la Mancha”, roughly translated as “The Ingenious Hidalgo Don Quixote of La Mancha”. It is recognised as one of the best works of Spanish fiction and the novel went on to inspire many artists in the musical, literary and filmmaking fields.
Coming back to Don Quijote the restaurant, it is one of the better Spanish foods I have tried in Singapore.
Located at the serene Dempsey Hill, the restaurant offers both outdoor and indoor seating. On a cool Singapore evening, it is an absolute pleasure to sit outdoors and enjoy the fresh crisp night air.
Their indoor seating is quite classily done.
Right from the bright yellow colour of the walls to the partial brick setting, the restaurant has a warm feel. The large bar takes a centre-stage in the restaurant.
The wooden décor at the bar and
the paintings on the wall make it a real homey yet swish place to be.
Now focusing on the main aspect… the food. Don Quijote offers some authentic Spanish gourmet including the variety of tapas and of course their traditionally made choices of Spanish Paella.
Here’s what we tried:
We started with the complementary bread and garlic butter…
 Patatas Bravas: This is my most sought after Spanish Tapas… soft boiled potatoes served in spicy tomato chilli sauce. My tapas selection is never complete without this dish. The Don Quijote tapas was nicely made with enough sauce to make a moist well garnished dish. It was just the right amount of tangy and spicy so that neither tastes were overwhelming.
 Setas al Ajillo: The Setas al Ajillo or Garlic Fried Mixed Mushroom was a new try. And we weren’t disappointed. A mixture of choice of mushrooms sautéed in garlic made for a great starter. Just like the Patatas Bravas, the mushrooms were nicely flavoured and really well made.
 Croquetas con Jamón: The Croquettes with Cured Spanish Ham were the highlight of the evening. Beautifully fried crispy croquettes with a delightful mixture of cheese and ham left you wanting for a lot more than were actually served. The croquettes were served with a spicy tomato basil sauce that was a great accompaniment.
 Spanish Paella Vegetarian: I am a hard core non-vegetarian, but surprisingly, I have always preferred the vegetarian paella… I often find it to be more flavourful than the others I have tried. Or maybe it’s just a matter of taste. I think one of the reasons for that is that a vegetarian paella just like Paella Valenciana (chicken based) is made is saffron stock. You just cannot miss that flavour. Either ways, the paella at Don Quijote is really good. One of the things about Paella is that it takes a good 25-30 minutes to be made and hence, the best idea is to order your paella early… A small is good enough for 2 persons; a medium good enough for 3-4 and large is for a group of 4-5 at least.
 Bomba de Chocolate: The Don Quijote version of a freshly-made chocolate cake made with Spanish chocolates and served hot with vanilla ice-cream. The cake is one of the really good lava cakes I have had in a long time. Just like the paella, the cake is made fresh and take at least 30 minutes of preparation time. Furthermore, it is sold out quite often, so order early!
 Almond Marquise: Of all the dishes we tried, their Marquise was probably the most underwhelming. For one it looked like it had been frozen for too long that instead of being a slight bit mousse-like, it was actually hard, almost like a soft cake… If this is the quality they serve often, then this dessert is avoidable.
 Castillo de Maetierra (Dessert Wine): The dessert wine was really good – Sweet with a bit of spicy after taste, but not overwhelming. They have a decent wine collection, although like most other restaurants around Singapore, their better collection is served only by the bottle… and it is no secret that alcohol in Singapore can get quite pricey.
How much will it cost me: Here comes the sad part. The food is excellent, and it comes at a price. A rather high price. The dinner cost us approximately S$ 120 (minus the wine bottle), which I agree is rather steep. However, my experience with Spanish restaurant in Singapore overall has been that they are pricier than the normal restaurants… I have no idea why that is.
Verdict: I like the place. Of course it isn’t a place I would go all too often, but it is a place I have visited when I have guests who wish to try their hand at some Spanish spread. The ambience, the location and the selection of food available makes it a good bid. Apart from Spanish specials they have a large collection of Cold Tapas, Fideus, Ensaladas and Pastas. Their choice of meat and seafood dishes is great, but it also has a lot to offer for vegetarians which I always find comes in quite handy, especially when I perpetually have at least one vegetarian around… Overall, I would definitely give it a thumbs up.
Address: Dempsey Hill, Block 7 Dempsey Road, #01-02, Singapore 249671
For reservation: +65 6476 2811