After the closure of popular noshing spots in Rochester such as Roast and Graze, the regular patron may just be feeling a little melancholic. Well, fret not. The past few months of renovation and refurbishment of One Rochester have led to the opening of latest Spanish kid on the block, UNA Dining and Tapas Bar. Helmed by Chef Jean Philippe Patruno previously from Bomba Paella Bar, UNA is Singapore’s first bar and restaurant that brings together the authentic and rich flavors of Spanish, Italian and French home-styled cuisines. This concept is termed the ‘South of Latitude 30°‘ (SOL30°).
The interiors of UNA are split into 2 separate dining areas with different sets of menus – UNA Dining on the first level and UNA Tapas Bar on the second. UNA Dining is set in a lush garden setting with classic white decor – also perfect for the many weddings which are frequently held here. The full menu (designed by Chef Philippe) here offers a fine selection of starters, mains, desserts and drinks. On the other hand, UNA Tapas Bar provides a casual, laid-back atmosphere with a full bar. Here, choose from a range of spirits, mixers and artisanal cocktails on the bar menu (specially created by Proof & Co) to go along with your tapas.
And what better way to start off the meal with some classic, specialty cocktails? The Le Bucky ($19) above is a refreshing mix of bourbon, mathilde framboise, fresh apple juice, fresh lemon juice and ginger beer while the Bastille ($20) is a combination of gin, hibiscus, maraschino, amaranto and fresh lemon juice.
We got started with some small plates. Among them was the beautifully plated Heirloom Tomatoes, Piquillo Peppers and Burrata ($18 for small, $28 for large) which caught our eyes. From the soft burrata cheese to the juicy cubes of tomatoes, this petite dish makes for a light, refreshing appetizer.
If you’d like soup, go for the starter Gazpacho Salmojero ($12 for small, $22 for large) which was recommended to me by a server – a cold dish of a rich tomato and cucumber soup alongside with a quail egg and Sicily olive oil. Though the tomato-based soup requires an initial acquired taste, I thought that the texture and consistency was excellent – smooth and substantially thick.
Hanger Steak Tartare, Slow-cooked Egg Yolk, Watercress ($28 for small, $38 for large)
Iberico Pork Belly and Smoked Chorizo Mash ($32 for small, $42 for large) – I was in awe of the 24 hour slow-cooked spanish pork belly which was cooked to near perfection. It was tender in the mouth and the springiness of pork belly which I abhor is also at is bare minimum. The smoked mash with chorizo oil in the middle deserves a mention as well.
Another huge favorite for that day would be the Wild Sea Bass with Serrano Ham and Caviar D’Aubergines ($40 for small, $50 for large). The sea bass had a crisp exterior with touches of salt and its insides were soft – this was suitably coupled with the dry cured serrano ham.
Towards the end of our meal, the kind bartenders recommended the cocktail Champs de Fraise ($19) which is only offered on UNA Dining’s menu. The concoction – strawberry infused cognac, fresh lemon juice and sparkling wine presented a fruity fizz which I enjoyed more compared to the aforementioned cocktails I had.
I’m always particular about my desserts and UNA’s desserts were right on spot to me. The Pedro Ximenez Panna Cotta, Popcorn ($14 for small, $18 for large), unlike the usual panna cotta, came in a glass shooter and was uniquely topped with popcorn. Fortunately, the salted popcorn complemented the sweeter, smoother pudding it was laid upon. The panna cotta was as creamy as how it should be, making this version one of the best I’ve had.
Falling a little short of our expectations was the Churros dipped in chocolate and accompanied by honey ice cream ($16 for small, $20 for large). They were too crispy (for my liking) such that they broke easily. A fluffier and chewier interior would better befit them churros. Shoutout to the honey ice cream though.
From the idyllic environment of the restaurant to the helpful service provided by servers and bartenders to the cuisine itself, the dining experience at UNA, I believe, should not be skipped. You’ll be surprised at how every intricate detail matches with the other, be it ingredient-wise or interior-wise. This is definitely in accord with Chef Patruno’s vision for UNA – “an exquisite dining experience providing the best of [his] worlds, with heartfelt and comforting foods that will form great memories.”
All food shown in this post are of the small portions.
This was an invited media tasting.
1 Rochester Park
UNA Dining – Mon to Sat 6pm – 11pm
UNA Tapas Bar – Mon to Sat 6pm – 1am
Closed on Sundays
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