Spanish Fare at La Taperia (ex-Terry’s)

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Being a big fan of Spanish cuisine, I was dying to try out Terry’s, the new Spanish restaurant at the newly revamped wing of Shaw Centre. But by the time me and two pals got there late last year, the original chef had already left and the place – managed by Les Amis Group – has been renamed La Taperia. Certainly doesn’t sound as catchy as Terry’s but hey, it’s still new so let’s check it out.

The place has a good pleasant vibe with tables not too close to each other and the classy decor easy on the eye. We were quickly led to a table that was just beside an unique outdoor balcony where people can wine and dine on their feet.

The menu features a decent selection of tapas (warm and cold), paellas, meat and seafood items, desserts, breads and soups. As it was for most of my meals during my trips to the land of La Liga, we started our meal with a Plato de Jamon ($24/50g, pictured above) which was served with Picos crackers. A very good way to start any meal, I say.
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We didn’t noticed it then but the rest of our orders were mainly warm tapas. The first to arrive was Tempura de Cangrejo ($15), which was crispy soft shell crab that though scrumptious was probably more Japanese than Spanish!
20141210_193209 (800x578)Next up was Gambas Al Ajillo ($18) which was prawns cooked with garlic, chili and extra virgin olive oil, and which arrived at the table with the oil still sizzling. It was tasty but it was also a dish I cook quite frequently at home and which would have cost the most $5….
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Our red meat item was really good. The Black Angus A La Parrilla ($28) was charcoal grilled to perfection, meat juicy and tender and sweetly enhanced by a light wine sauce. Great choice.
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Croquettes, another popular Spanish tapas, was a must but the Croquetas de Jamon ($14), was a disappointment somewhat ‘cos the menu said it has suckling pig. Okay, we weren’t really expecting a big roasted pig as we Chinese know it but the croquettes, though soft and moist, were a tad tiny and had hardly any pork taste in it. Crispy and tasty though they were, we still felt shortchanged…
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There were two clams tapas. We opted for the Almejas A La Marinera ($16) which offered fresh Venus clams stewed in dry Sherry wine, garlic and extra virgin olive oil. It was mighty fine and we would have ordered another plate if we didn’t order a paella…
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There wasn’t much choices for paellas (only three and the enticing one with lobster cost a whopping $66!) So we went for the signature dish, Squid Ink Seafood Paella or Paella Negra de Marisco ($30) – inspired it seems by a restaurant in Barcelona. Hmm, I ate many paellas in Barcelona and this one was a letdown. The rice was hard and both the prawns and clams were dry and none as tasty as those from our previous orders. It actually tasted like the order was left on the stove a tad too long. Pity…
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Thankfully, we managed to end our meal on a happy note. The Marquesa de Chocolate ($14) or Chocolate Marquise topped with baked almond praline, was simply out of this world. Horrendously rich and sinful in equal parts, it went very well with a good cup of expresso ($4) with the chocolate taste lingering long in your mouth…

Drinks-wise, the restaurant supposedly boast the biggest Spanish wine collection in the country but the chap whom we asked to recommend wines seem quite unsure what he has on the menu. I asked for something sweet and he recommended a (dry) Cava; one of my friends wanted something not too sweet, and he served her a sweet Sherry… We should have just asked for a Sangria ($14) which our other friend had that was quite decent.

The final bill came up to about $70 per person which wouldn’t seem pricey if all the food items we had were great. Still, it isn’t a bad place if you are hankering for Spanish tapas although I reckoned you can find better fare at the many other tapas bars popping up across the island.

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