Over the years, Don Quijote has had more than its fair share of bad publicity, but it appears they've weathered negative reports of bad service, lackluster food, and Donoghue v Stevenson-type lapses. Their half-a-decade tenure in the brutal F&B scene, where Spanish restaurants are a dime and dozen these days, is evident of their staying power, and their loyal following. Whether on a Monday night at the tasting, or a Saturday night at the revisit, the restaurant was close to a full-house.
As per inviting tasting S.O.P., I dragged a couple friend of ours and double-dated for an incognito, paid, revisit. The food at the revisit was as good (and generous) as at the tasting. That said, tbh, Don Quijote isn't the most outstanding or exciting of Spanish restaurants, but like that trusty beat-up Toyota Corolla, the fare here is hearty, rustic, and solid.
The classic fried live shrimp in olive oil and garlic was scrumptious, and the prawns succulent.
The highlight at the tasting was manila clams perfectly cooked in a heady white wine sauce, its subtle sweetness complementing the juicy clams. Disappointingly, the Almejas al Vino Blanco ($29) was sold out on the Saturday when we conducted our revisit.
The grilled squid, beautifully charred, and tossed in a spicy chilli-ed seasoning, was just the right balance of soft and chewy.
The baby squid cooked in its own black ink sauce was a surprise, enlivened by lashings of fried garlic, and the moreish squid ink decidedly nuanced due to the use of natural squid ink (extracted from the very same squid) instead of the more robust commercially produced squid ink.
At the revisit, the Chipiron ($15), of perfectly tender baby squid cooked in its own ink, was wonderfully light.
I liked the Huevos Estrellados (regular price $15), a breakfast hash of fluffy eggs scrambled with chorizo and potato wedges.As good as I remembered from 2010.
A signature, the Asado de Cochinillo Espanol ($169) roasted Spanish-style suckling pig, was surprisingly delicious, and I'm no fan of suckling pig. This was very fresh pork, so there wasn't that ghastly sluggish taste of mature pork.
At the revisit, as none of us were particularly keen on suckling pig, we opted for the Tacos de Lomo al Queso Azul ($21), tenderloin beef cubes with blue cheese dressing, that I had when I last dined in 2010. The beef was cooked very well, and sauce refined, but even that couldn't mask the gamey taste of the beef.
The Fideau Negra (regular price $65) of squid ink noodle paella, laced with squid and shrimp, was pretty awesome, light on the squid ink, and heavy on the fresh tomatoes for a balanced flavour. For some reason, I couldn't stop nibbling on this.Very addictive, this one.
The paella especial Don Quijote ($98 for large with a premium lobster add-on $69) was overflowing with sparkling fresh seafood.
On second thought, at the revisit, the Paella Especial ($53 for small) was commendable, but a tad forgettable. That said, the seafood was very nicely treated, and swimmingly fresh.
A traditional Spanish dessert, the fried Spanish dough sticks, paired with molten chocolate, was delicious.
At the revisit, I had to have the Churros ($16) again. These were crunchy on the outside, moist and chewy on the inside.
For those preferring an English dessert, the Pudin de pan Y Manteqilla (regular price $8) Bread and Butter Pudding, was highly recommended.
A relatively unknown sweet, the Leche Frita (regular price $9) fried milk cube with cinnamon syrup, was pretty good, with a thick crust fried to a golden crisp, encasing chewy milky goodness.
The Cream Puff with Chocolate Sauce (regular price $19) was my second favourite dessert at the tasting, with a airy fairy puffy pastry slathered with a sumptuous chocolate syrup.
At the revisit, we opted for the Bomba de Chocolate ($19), a molten chocolate cake with Spanish chocolates and vanilla ice-cream. Not the most innovative of desserts, but awesome nonetheless.
Thanks to Winston of HGW for the invite and the very passionate Ken of Don Quijote for being a wonderful host
Don Quijote Spanish Restaurant
Block 7, Dempsey Road
Tel: 6476 2811
Daily for Dinner from 6pm to 10pm
Lunch only on Friday & Saturday from 11.30am to 2.30pm
Sunday Ala Carte Brunch Buffet: 11.30am to 2.30pm