The UTW (“Under Ten Words”): Spanish, hearty and gloriously pig-centric, nose-to-tail, occasionally adventurous comfort fare.
The must-orders (if any): Carabinero Arroz, Gin Panna Cotta
Summary: The chef previously headed the kitchen at UNA at One Rochester. Dehesa is proud of its nose-to-tail concept (choice extract from their website: “robustly flavoured alternative cut and offal delicacies, as well as succulent classic cut specialities with a commitment to whole animal usage”), which makes for some adventurous dishes such as the Crispy Pig’s Head (not an intact one with glazed cherry eyes, mind) and Figatelli Pork Sausage, which includes pig liver and intestine amongst many other parts in the mix. Whilst the pig-romantic may be drawn to these highly meaty offers, the highlights of the evening for me were their Carabinero Arroz (rice with deep-sea giant red sweet prawns), which is immediately my favourite arroz quite possibly ever (and I have had my fair share in the past few months) and the boozetastic Gin Panna Cotta.
Pimientos de Padron ($14). Sweet and crunchy pepper freshness ahoy with alluring char, with very distinct salt crystals that offer pleasurable salt shocks.
Monkfish liver on toast ($16). Imagine rich mackerel oil crossed with soft salmon mash.
Figatelli pork sausage ($17). A terrifyingly meaty endeavour – upon my first bite, a wave of thick oily richness rushed towards the back of my throat with the speed of those Dementors from the Harry Potter books, and took every inch of my entire mouthly cavern completely under siege, not letting go easily even when I tried gargling with red wine. With this dish, your mileage may vary depending on your love for oinky meats.
Dehesa Bravas Potatoes ($12). Essentially a feel-good, millefeuille-esque hash brown dish, with the inspired inclusion of chilli padi bits which scythe through the grease like sparks of red-hot fire.
Croquetas ($14). Steamy, hot and creamy within, with chewy ham that possessed good bite.
Carabineros Arroz ($36, serves two). This was the top dish of the evening – the rice was comforting, spicy, salty, umami and the right amount of wet all at once, thoroughly steeped in the gloriousness of oceanic essence. The rice alone was already magnificent, but then you also have the plump and positively regal carabinero prawns, which made for some darn pleasurable bites ,tasting every bit their premium prestige.
Crispy Pig Head Dehesa Signature ($28). An intimidating concept to stomach. The tender flesh within – interjected occasionally by the odd gelatinous bit – was strongly, oinkily perfumed, while the exterior titular crisp reminded me strangely of McNuggets.
Chocolat ($14). A bitter, cocoa-heavy encounter, with the honeycomb supplying sweet relief.
Gin Panna Cotta ($15). Using Monkey 47 and some negroni (!!) in its production, this wobbly wonder was remarkably boozy, and essentially a Gin & Tonic in creamy form. Marvellous.
Grade: Easily mid to high A2.
This was a hosted meal, courtesy of Dehesa Singapore.
12 North Canal Road