It wasn’t too long ago that the mention of tapas would make me want to tabao hokkien prawn mee rather than pay so much for such tiny portions. I used to think tapas was a rip off in Singapore.
But either it’s me getting older (you know what they say, you can’t eat that much as you grow older) or maybe decent Spanish places have cropped up here, nowadays I find that you can say “let’s go for tapas” and not have to head on to prata after that.
El Tardeo is one such cool find. Located at Craig Road, this tapas joint prides itself on its range of pintxos and super-affordable wines. We’re talking about pintxos that start from $5 a plate and $7 a pop for a good glass of house wine.
And they don’t stinge on the ingredients either – for example, a Zapatilla (toasted bread with jamon) sees 2 toasts with multiple slivers of ham, not just a couple of paltry pieces.
If you like anything deep-fried, you will love the Squid Croquettes and the Cod Fritters – I especially love the Squid Croquettes because once you break into the crisp coating, unctuous black squid inky béchamel and proper pieces of squid start oozing out. Yum.
Speaking of oozy, the Setas Con Huevo (Soft Egg, Potato Puree and Mushrooms) is absolutely delicious too.
One of my favourite dishes is the Bikini de Rabo Toro (Oxtail sandwich) – it’s a plump chunk of shredded oxtail meat between 2 very thin slices of bread that has been fried to caramelized perfection.
There are many other dishes that are worth a try but these are just some great highlights.
Tip: They classify pintxos and tapas differently. Basically pintxos are cheaper and smaller portioned than tapas, and they might say tapas is more value for money, but I’d say, for 2 pax, go for about 3-4 pintxos and a couple of tapas and you should be smiling.
And ladies – the folks at El Tardeo clearly love you – there’s free muscatel from 6-8pm on Tuesdays and Ladies Nights are on Wednesdays, with 1-for-1 cocktails all night long.
Update: 12 August
Visited them recently and happy to see that they have added squid ink paella to the menu.
Now, you might know that Binomio (one of the best Spanish restaurants in Singapore and El Tardeo’s sister restaurant) makes the best squid ink paella around.
So, thrilled that the same is now offered at El Tardeo, with one special difference – this version comes with fried, not grilled, squid. My hubby prefers the fried one, while I still prefer the grilled version.
But, that inky black rice with dollops of aioli is still perfect!
Address: 20 Craig Road, Craig Place #01-01, Singapore 089692
Contact: (65) 62216288, (65) 81811829, firstname.lastname@example.org
Tuesday-Saturday: 6pm to 12am
Sunday: 11am to 6pm
Last orders: 11.45pm