On Boxing Day a.k.a Annular Solar Eclipse Day, an ex-classmate and I decided to go to The Capitol Kempinski Hotel arcade for our bi-annual meet-up and we opted for the Spanish restaurant and bar, El Teatro Tapas.
We were led to a cosy corner table lined with many cushions and which offers a good view of the length of the arcade. The menu for El Teatro (which is Spanish for “The Theatre”) is simple: there’s cold tapas ($12-$16), hot tapas ($14-$30), cold cuts and olives ($10-$28), paellas ($28-$40), and desserts ($8-12). There’s also a wine menu from which you can order by the glass or bottle. On weekdays, they have a two-course ($17++) and 3-course ($22++) set lunches which are quite decently priced considering that some of the mains already cost around $20-$30.
We decided to order a la carte in order to try more dishes. First up was the Jamón Ibérico de Bellota ($28) or Acorn Iberian Ham Pork, which is a lovely slate of cured ham slices served with some salad. If you love Spanish Jamon or parma ham, this will be a delight to savor.
We had wanted a green veggie dish for the “health part” but was intrigued on what constituted a Russian Salad ($14). Well, it is a fancy creamy tuna potato salad with loads of mayo, topped with garnishing and thin croutons. A nice tasty item for sure. (Oh, we were also given at the start a complimentary tapas of olives which normally you have to order a glass of wine before getting it, so thought that was nice of the manager.)
It was while waiting for the next dish to arrive that we was wondering why the sky had suddenly gone dark – the arcade’s roof is partly glass from which you can see the sky – when we suddenly remembered that there was a solar eclipse happening on this very day – December 26, 2019! So we took turns to dash out of the building – and despite dark clouds and super bright sunlight (you ain’t supposed to watch it with the naked eye) – were able to fairly make out the crescent shape of the sun as the moon slowly move across it.
As the annular eclipse was supposed to occur at 1.24pm, we carried on with our lunch. The sizzling Garlic Prawns ($22) was utterly fragrant when it arrived, served on a piping hot pan drenched with olive oil and with loads of colorful peppers, plus two pieces of toasted bread. This is one of the items in the set lunch menu so it would be very worth it indeed if you like prawns.
Last but not least, our final dish is the prawn, chicken and mushroom croquettes. Though the menu states that you can choose between the three, we were told that two of each meat will be served in the dish of six croquettes, which was a-ok for us. The taste for the elongated prawn croquette (top of picture) was sadly nothing to wow about, but the mushroom (the round one) and the chicken (middle with crust slightly browner) were flavorful and tasty, enhanced by the Spanish Padrón peppers that came with the dish.
It was in the midst of eating our croquettes that we realized we had totally missed the “magic moment” when the “ring of fire” occurs. It was already 1.40pm when we both dashed out of the restaurant—not before informing the waitress not to clear our table!—this time just to the foyer right outside El Teatro to catch the view (as seen above) through the roof of the arcade. Oh well, at least we could say we saw phases of the cosmic spectacle of the century!
All in all, the quality of food in El Teatro was good and service was attentive. Pricing was probably a bit steep but our four dishes came up to about $96, which is still decent for two people in the town area. Would love to try their paellas one day as I have been looking for a paella as good as those we ate in Barcelona but to no avail. Something to consider.
El Teatro Tapas is at The Capitol Kempinski Hotel arcade, 15 Stamford Road. Opening hours: 1130-1430 and 18:00-22:00 daily.