UNA: Spanish fare under a fairy-lit canopy

Like Botanico, UNA's kitchen brigade is run by Executive Chef Antonio Oveido who favours the authentic seafood themed gourmet finds from the South of Spain and tries to blend that with heartier cuisine from the North which avoids fussing and tweaking. The result - an innovative and contemporary menu that exudes the regular wholesome fervour of Spanish fare but founded by modern cooking techniques.

UNA is anything but low-key, it's dreamy landscape complete with shower curtains of fairy lights and banquet like soft cascades of fabric from wooden beams affecting a certain sort of formality. Step through a plush garden, as represented by most other establishments in the Rochester Park vicinity and be transported to a different dimension. Between it's white-washed patio area and grandeur of colonial bungalow, the whole experience of being seated can be a bit overwhelming.

It's almost impossible not to be intimidated by the menu, the makeshift place mats guarded by complicated Spanish names (that are also impossible to pronounce should you not have Spanish heritage) offer an endless possibility of permutation and combination from tapas to paella and grills.

Here to help you out, these are some of my favourites:

UNA's take on the Fideua De Calamares ($20) is memorable, drawing references from our local chao ta beehoon (I'm kidding) and softening to a state of dried mee sua in its later stage (I'm kidding again). A quintessential Catalan dish, fideos pasta is cooked with squid ink and sofrito sauce in a cast iron skillet. In UNA's version, local baby squid is coated with flour and deep fried till golden brown, blobs of aioli plot their demise against your diet; egging you on to take an extra serving. I would have loved for the dish to have a bit more of a crisp edge as I've once divulged in at Don Quijote but calamari is such a bonus.
Patatas Bravas ($10)
Foie Gras and Grilled Figs on Spanish Flatbread; Chargrilled Octopus
Nuanced dishes such as the Coca De Higos Y Foie Con ($26) tickled my fancy despite it's overtly rich formula. The swirling shifting flavors of luxurious pan-seared foie gras comes together with sweet slices of ripened fig (sourced from France), the final flourish of vermouth reduction providing a plum like sweetness that reminds one of summer romances. Synonymous with Mediterranean dining, the Pulpo A La Parilla Con Papas Arrugadas Y Mojo ($32) is an unavoidable dinner table classic, but a bad tooth and slight rubbery texture was a nail to the coffin.
Gambas Al Ajillo ($22)
Instead, order the Gambas Al Ajillo ($22)- fresh tiger prawns sauteed in olive oil, white wine, garlic, chilli and parsley will change you life. Don't be ashamed to reach out for the bread basket after, toasted slices and the olive oil stained with aromats are meant to be together. 
Crispy roasted Suckling Pig
Spanish Chorizo Paella; Grilled catch of the day
A trip to any Spanish restaurant is not complete without Paella, their version suitable for 3-4 to share. Paella De Chorizo Y Habitas ($46/ $66) works up an appetite the moment it hits the table. Chorizo and fava beans are ringed around flavoursome paella dyed a vibrant orange from the use of saffron. Dots of aioli once again ruining the skinny element. 
Fresh Cream Cheese Mousse; Churros
Desserts have a clarifying effect and are not to be passed up on. For starters, there's the Fresh Cream cheese mousse, Roasted Pumpkin Ice Cream and Quince Jelly with caramelised walnuts ($14) which as queer as it sounds, works like a charm. Don't be too quick to deliberate on this somewhat savoury concoction, the cheese-board like qualities of the dish making it extremely esoteric. But it's the Churros Con Chocolate Y Cafe ($14) that steals the show, sturdy sticks yielding a doughy yeasted center is best enjoyed with swabs of dark chocolate sauce layered with cold coffee-infused foam on the top for a bittersweet finale to an epic meal. Churros are a dime in a dozen, but authentic ones like these, you can only get at UNA.

Celebrate Mother's Day at UNA from the 5th to the 13th May with a specially crafted 3-course dinner set menu (worth $68++) with every 2 paying adults. Elegant colonial settings and dining under a whimsical fairy-lit canopy; I'm sure the queen of our hearts will be down for that sort of pampering. Call 6773 0070 to make your reservations.

1 Rochester Park
Singapore (139212)
t: 6773 0070

Operating Hours:
Mon - Sat: 6 - 11pm

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