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I had paella in Madrid,’ my brother offered helpfully as we weaved our way to Bungalow, a tapas bar and restaurant in Novena Square. The outdoor corner space inhabits a chilled-out suburban universe where time slows, but not my brother’s tongue.
‘I prefer sangria made from white wine,’ he tossed airily. ‘It’s cooler in hot weather.’ Fortunately, Bungalow’s four sangria offerings were aimed to complement every season – traditional white wine citrus (which, despite the name, is made with red wine), rose (white wine), white peach (white wine) and Portuguese (red wine and brandy). There were other surprises on the menu. ‘I don’t remember having Wagyu in Barcelona,’ frowned my younger ward, ‘or foie gras.’
Not being the types to practise restraint, we had both. The foie gras oozed excellence, with fi ve medium strips of crispy, fatty liver oiling the plate. Pity, then, that it arrived perplexingly cold. The ceramic tasting platter, with its scalloped edges and cheery Mediterranean colours, covered nearly the whole table, holding four succulent meats.
Each exuded its robust flavours independently: slightly overcooked teppan-style Wagyu coated with sesame seeds, well-marinated lamb cutlet, grilled chorizo and sautéed chicken coated in red picante sauce. Great for variety.
We barely had room for the paella – which was definitely a winner. The fragrant saffron rice authentically contained crunchy caramelised bits, and the initial strong smell of mussels mingled with the rest of the prawns and squid rings, leaving sourish tomato and olive to add a kick.
The night was not all hits. Stale tostadas in the promised combination of salmon, anchovy fillet, Parma ham and chicken pesto were slops of sour cream on barely toasted loaf. The lobster bisque was forgettably fishy and gritty.
Brownies and cream tasted like sponge cake with a scoop of Magnolia vanilla, though was slightly redeemed by maple walnut and chocolate-chip ice cream. Did we mention the service? The staff bantered wittily and attended delightfully. We’d come back often, if only because Barcelona is 11,000km away, and Bungalow is just outside of Orchard Road. June Lee
United Square #01-14/15
101 Thomson Road
|Opening hours:||Sun-Thu 11am-midnight , Fri & Sat 11am-2am|
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