To mark the end of summer (and the dreaded start of the school term), a much-needed lunch date with two of my favourite friends was certainly in order.
We started the meal with hugs, dug into our tapas, chatted in between mouthfuls of spaghetti and rice, and finally toasted with churros to a wonderful semester ahead.
Ah yes, it was a good afternoon. And then oh, we had some wine.
It wasn’t our initial intent to dine at Via Mar, but it was more a decision made en route from the original eating place back to the train station. But I’ll save that one for another time, when we finally get to eat there. That said, this choice to “wing it” didn’t turn out too bad after all.
This being a Spanish specialty restaurant, it would almost be a sin to forgo the tapas.
Our appetizer was Salpicado de Carne, Beef Cubes seared with garlic and peppers ($15) served with slices of light crusty bread.
The flavour of the marinade was really intense, plus the garlic cloves kept whole just added a whole new dimension to the meat. So much so that the consequence of (possible) bad breath did not cross my mind, not even as an afterthought. And, what can I say, I love beef!
All meat tapas are priced between $8 to $25, with the biggest being a platter of ham and sausage.
And then moving into the main course, we ordered two chef recommendations to share. One is the featured photo of this post: Pasta con camarones y chorizo, Spaghetti tossed with Shrimp & Chorizo Bits ($19).
I’ll be frank, the spaghetti was quite a letdown. Dry, slightly hard even. But the shrimp… The shrimp, oh my mama. The aroma hits you first, then you go into sensory overload as your teeth sink in. It was oozing buttery goodness! Definitely more than saving grace for this pasta dish. And added points from the style of presentation!
The other main course: Miel Ventanal Muslo de Pollo a la parrilla, Chicken Chilindron ($20).
This is supposedly a famous dish from Navarre — chicken served with a spicy red pepper sauce, baked potatoes, sautéed vegetables and garlic rice. If eaten as an individual portion, this could be pretty heavy. Unless of course you can really eat 😉 The chicken was really tender and again, the flavours from the sauce were celebrating in my mouth!
Main courses are priced between $20 and $36, and are served with a choice of Potato Mash, Fries or Garlic Rice.
There’s always room for dessert. We went for churros, it being the specialty. I’ve had some before when I was in Japan, and those made me fall in love. But these… They were bordering on being uncooked! Granted that none of us knew how it was really meant to taste, but how difficult can it be to deep fry sticks of dough 😦
All in all, the food was average but forgettable. Which is rather unfortunate, considering it’s a restaurant at the Singapore Arts Museum and would play host to a ton of visitors. Worth mentioning is the poor service we received; no doubt it was 3p.m. on a Monday and the area equivalent to a ghost town, but the waitress hardly held a smile.
I don’t know if I’ll be back. The paella menu might warrant another visit, but it’s hard to say. We took a walk around Bras Basah afterward, and rounded up the day with hopes for the new school term.
For more photos (if you’re a friend on Facebook).
Via Mar Paella & Tapas
71 Bras Basah Road
#01-03 Singapore Arts Museum
Open Sunday to Thursday, 11.30am to 10.30pm and Friday, Saturday and PH Eve, 11.30am to 11.30pm
Closed on Public Holidays
Tel: +65 6423 0900