What used to house The Tapas Tree is now Octapas Spanish Tapas Bar. According to the grapevine, there was a slight change in management, which resulted in the revamping of this beloved Spanish institution. This restaurant is the reason why I love Spanish food. I'd never had Spanish food until The Tapas Tree came along to our sunny shores. While the decor is largely the same, the menu has had a mini re-haul. Rest assured the quality of the food has been maintained, if not improved. All the dishes we sampled that night were pretty fabulous. We had a thoroughly satisfactory meal.
We started off with the Pan-fried Snapper ($15.50) thinly coated with a flour batter and flash-fried, so the crust was delightfully crisp and golden, while the fish remained moist. Spanish romesco sauce, a heady mix of olive oil, pinenuts, almonds, roasted garlic and sweet red peppers, was drizzled over the fish for a little kick and spice.
We also liked the Skewered Scallops ($16.50) plump, sweet and succulent, seared so it was still juicy, wrapped in serrano ham for flavour & topped with romesco sauce. The last time I ate at The Tapas Tree, the scallops were very sad and tiny. Clearly, the change in management has done the scallops some good.
The Sauteed Mushrooms ($9) were also a hit, cooked in sherry to bring out its natural sweetness and garlic and olive oil for aroma.
If we had to choose, the Spanish Omelette ($10) was probably the least exciting dish of the night, but mind you, it was still fairly delicious. The omelette was densely packed with softened potatoes and onions, a relatively mild and delicate dish.
What's Spanish food without paella (say pah-a-yah)? We got the Carne Paella ($36) a meat-lovers dream loaded with chorizo, ham, pork, beef and chicken chunks. The rice was lovingly infused with rich stock and saffron for that gorgeous golden hue, flavoursome and tasty, so good you can pretty much eat the rice on its own. My only gripe was the less than juicy beef, and that chicken breast meat was used. Chicken thigh would have been a lot more juicy while the beef could have a little more fat.
Octapas Spanish Tapas Bar
Blk D #01-08
River Valley Road
Tel: 6837 2938
Open Sundays to Thursdays from 12noon to 1am
Fridays and Saturdays from 12noon to 2am