Review: Top 5 Eats at OLA Cocina Del Mar

Review: Top 5 Eats at OLA Cocina Del Mar

Akin to stepping into your Abuela’s kitchen, be greeted with nutritious and hearty meals at this downtown Spanish restaurant, with rich flavours from the land and sea

Helmed by the talented, and outgoing Chef Owner Daniel Chavez- protégé of the late Michelin-starred Chef Santi Santamaria, this warm and cozy Spanish restaurant at Marina Bay Financial Centre, serves up sustainable seafood, and the freshest of seasonal produce, that are meticulously and skillfully prepared, to feed our body and soul.

Here are 5 of our recommended eats: 

1. Gazpacho

Gazpacho, a cold tomato soup with crispy quinoa. Photo: OLA Cocina Del Mar

Gazpacho is the signature dish of this restaurant. It's a cold tomato soup (suitable for vegetarians) with diced Japanese cucumber, raspberry vinegar, and crispy red quinoa to give the dish added texture. It has an extremely smooth consistency and has a slight glisten to it. The tanginess from the raspberry vinegar, and cool temperature of the soup amplifies the freshness of the tomatoes used, making it feel like you’re biting into a freshly plucked, juicy, cold tomato. Plus, the crunch of the quinoa creates more depth to the texture and taste, to this seemingly simple soup. It is refreshing, rich in flavor, making it the perfect dish for our warm climate, which we simply couldn’t get enough of. You may also want to explore the various tapas on the menu, e.g. Grilled Octopus, Grilled Pork Belly, or the Jamon “5J”- 36 months aged Iberico ham.

2. Ceviche

Ceviche ($25), diced raw fish marinated in ‘Tiger’s milk’. Photo: OLA Cocina Del Mar

Ceviche is a classic Peruvian dish, a representation of Chef Daniel’s hometown, and his personal favourite. It is made from marinated wild fish (snapper), limes, onions, Peruvian yellow chilli, and Andean dried corn. As this dish is primarily made up of raw fish, the Peruvian locals once believed that this dish could only be eaten in the morning, as the catch would have been the freshest at that time of the day. The citrus-based, spicy marinate used to cure the fish is also known as Tiger’s milk (Leche de Tigre), and it is believed to make one’s body strong. The freshness of the sea was entirely captured in this dish, the snapper had a nice, slightly firm texture, and had no fishy taste to it. The Andean dried corn went really well with the raw fish, as the crisp added another dimension to the consistency of the overall dish. We especially loved how light, guilt-free, and delicious the ceviche was, sashimi lovers or people who are on a low-calorie diet, should totally go for this.

3. Parrillada De Verduras

Parrillada De Verduras, a spring garden on a plate. Photo: OLA Cocina Del Mar

Parrillada De Verduras is made of grilled spring vegetables, Catalan romesco sauce, and manchego cheese. I was quite surprised that a vegetable dish could actually taste this good (clearly not a huge veggie-eater), it was like everything was freshly taken right out of a garden and served on a warm plate. The grilled vegetables which had a slight smoky aroma include, asparagus, eggplant, green peas, summer squash, zucchini, grilled tomatoes etc. The Catalan romesco sauce- a blend of roasted tomato, bread, and garlic mashed into a paste, was a great compliment to the vegetables. Chef Daniel displayed his skills and techniques through this unassuming dish, by being able to maintain the freshness, texture and moisture of the vegetables impeccably, without them being overly seasoned, or drowned in sauce.

4. Market Fish

Market Fish, sustainable fresh catch from the ocean. Photo: OLA Cocina Del Mar

The grilled market fish is prepared a la plancha or seared over high heat on the grill, served with lentil stew, fregola sarda, sautéed cauliflower, and roasted purple baby carrots, making it one hearty meal. The fish which was grilled to perfection, was meaty, tender, and the skin was beautifully crisp. It is served on a bed of fregola sarda, which is a type of pasta (from Sardinia, Italy) made from semolina dough that has been rolled into balls, 2-3mm in diameter, and also lentils that have been stewed till soft. The cauliflower and roasted purple baby carrots have a natural sweetness to them, giving a great balance to the entire dish. This restaurant serves up sustainable seafood, and their portions are especially generous. Their menu also offers other meat dishes like the Beef Cheek, and Suckling Pig.

5. Paella Valenciana

Paella Valenciana, a traditional rice dish originated from Valencia, Spain. Photo: OLA Cocina Del Mar

Paella is one of the best-known dishes in the Spanish cuisine, and it is made of Spanish saffron rice, baby zucchini, thyme, roasted pepper aioli, and chicken. This is definitely one of the best paella we’ve ever eaten. The highlight of this dish is that the Spanish saffron rice was not only moist in the center, it was also crispy on the top, side, and bottom, as the cooking process was finished in the oven. Together with the roasted pepper aioli, and pieces of chicken which were marinated and grilled till tender, the paella was aromatic, and packed with flavor. There are also other signature paella dishes on the menu that is worth trying, like the Spanish pork & chicken paella ($38), and the “OLA” seafood paella.

Location: Marina Bay Financial Centre Tower 3, #01-06, 12 Marina Boulevard, Singapore 018982

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