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25 Sep 2017 By

Tapas Doesn’t Need to be Fussy or Fancy, it Just Needs to be Authentic, Appealing, and Aptly Paired with the Right Cerveza, Sherry or Spanish Wine. We May Have Just Found Our Buena Tapas Social Club.

First of all, Tapas Club is not a club, and it welcomes all with a friendly, rustic vibe. It is accessible, being in the middle of Orchard Road, and it has an unbeatable set lunch offer (more of this later). What it really is is a casual eatery with good beers, reasonably-priced wines, and a whole lot of authentic tapas from all the regions of Spain.

Tapas Club beer cerveza

You want to start with beers, and Tapas Club distributes and serves Ambar, which is from Zaragoza. The Radler is made with fresh lemon and tastes just the right side of tangy and light. The Lager is the brand’s flagship, finely balanced with medium toasted malts. The Export goes through three malts and a double fermentation, which gives it a rich character and personality. It’s a great intro to go with your starter dish like the Jamon Iberico ($25), 36-month-cured Iberian ham served with toasted bread and tomato puree.

You might also start with a sherry, we recommend the Manzanilla Sherry from Solear.

Tapas Club1

The Cuatro Rayas Verdejo from Rueda is intense with hints of lemon on the nose, and on the palate there’s apples and peach and distinct mineral notes. It’s a good match with the Patatas Bravas ($9.90) – deep-fried potato cubes served with spicy brava and alioli sauce.

And this as well (below), the Gambas al Ajillo ($12.90), prawns sautéed with garlic and parsley.

Gambas al Ajillo Tapas Club

The gambas are beautifully sauteed and spiced, and the serve is a substantial portion. They don’t skimp here, small plates doesn’t mean small portions.

Tapas Club2

The wines are around $35 a bottle, almost unheard of in Orchard, much less in a restaurant. This Tavera Mentrida (from the Castilla region) has gone through carbonic maceration, and emerged with a slightly woody and mineral character. Though it’s light on the palate, it’s a good match for meats, like the Carrillera de Ternera Con Idiazabal ($12.90), stewed beef cheeks in red wine sauce, served with Idiazabal cheese cream.

Tapas Club3

The Aradon Riojo is a big red with loads of dark cherries and minerals. The tannins are soft, and the finish is like walk in the woods after the rain. Definitely my favourite of the night.

tapas club wines

Pair the earthiness of the Aradon with the Arroz Negra ($25):, a sumptious squid ink paella with cuttlefish and clams. The dish is finely tuned with textures that yield like steamed fish.

Tapas Selection

Random tapas photo. As mentioned, the weekday set lunch is a DEAL at $12.90++. You get a main (squid ink noodles paella, pan-friend chicken with ham and cheese), a side (pumpkin soup, mashed potato) and a soft drink. Add $3 more to get a sangria.

Tapas Club retail

There’s a small retail section at the entrance of the restaurant, selling a selection of its wines from small bodegas across Spain. 

Verdict: The flavours are authentic, and the heritage recipes definitely showcase Spain’s culinary diversity. It’s honest fare, at honest prices. And that’s no small claim.

Tapas Club, 181 Orchard Road, #02-13 Orchard Central, tel: 3163-7577.

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