Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Bomba Paella Bar, Martin Road

The Spanish culinary conquistadors which have been making quite a bit of inroads on this sun blasted island in the past few years and have yet to show signs of abatement. A handful have gotten their flags planted firmly still going strong, some have collaborated with the Italians and others have failed to gain ground after a while. Bomba Paella Bar (38 Martin Road, tel : +65 6509 1680) opened their doors slightly over a year ago. I'm not about to venture a guess on which category they belong to, but here's a look at what they've got.

The name of the place mentions paella bar, but it's really just another Spanish joint serving limited varieties of tapas - some of a forward thinking nature and of course, a few options for paella. The latter, being rather pricey for their portions. 

First up was their fried ibérico ham croquetta.

Creamy and milky tasting ball of mashed potato flavored with bits of jamon ibérico. This was quite nice.

Then came the Manzanilla olives with pork crackling. The pieces of crackling were still popping lightly when it was served and they weren't salted. What worked was the piquant olives which lasted as nibbles for the entire meal.

Bomba's Galician styled octopus served on a bed crushed potatoes and capers was actually quite good. Slow cooked in water before hitting the flat top grill, the flesh was rather tender but didn't score so much with the char from the grill. As disposed I am towards it, I've had better octopus.

Deep fried baby squids had a bit of heat that kept it from being monotonous, was well fried, but was ultimately just fried squids.

The tastiest part of these courgette stuffed with mackerel and shrimps was the courgette stem itself. The stuffings were creamy and all that cream pretty much left the bits of seafood quite unidentifiable.

Paella here cost quite a bit. So it was a good thing that we were here on a Monday evening which is Paella Night for them. All paella goes at 50% off. This small portion which is good for one with healthy appetite is $45. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't come for paella here on any other days. 

Back to the rice, the arroz negro was rich and creamy and flavored moderately with squid ink....and a little bit more wet than I had been expecting. The bits of squid and black mushrooms inside were rather finely minced....and thus lost in the textures of the rice.

Tasty if ordinary chorizo tortilla.

There was a ribeye with piquillo peppers and bleu cheese. The meat was well greased, but I'm not sure if it's all from the fat of the ribeye. The char factor was minimal and the texture wasn't so firm. The service also thought that we would be fine cutting it with butter knife as they had never even bothered getting us sharper tools until it was requested. I'm not sure what is the blue cheese that they used, but it was more salty than pungent. Not my kind of beef.

First dessert was their bitter chocolate ice cream, sour dough bread and salted olive oil. They say that a picture paints a thousand words. But sometimes, a thousand words simply aren't enough so I'll add a few more here. 

The ice cream was light on the sugar which was a good thing for me, allowing the bitter to come through. The sour dough bread crisps were actually sugar glazed. Together and paired with the olive oil made it unusual but not un-enjoyable. What impressed me a little was the base, if I may call it chocolate soil, was perfumed gently by rosemary. Not overwhelming with rosemary is something that I think a lot of good cooks fail to master.

The chocolate and olive oil pairing reminded me of the mousse at Esquina.

And then, a rice pudding with caramelised apple and Spanish brandy. I'm not sure what's that Spanish brandy, but I couldn't taste it. The creamy cinnamon scented rice was quite good and the toasted almond shavings were a nice touch.

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