La Pepa is the latest Spanish tapas restaurant, bar and gourmet grocer to open on Gemmill Lane. The space used to be occupied by European-Mediterranean deli-restaurant Delicacy by Food & Wine Merchants Singapore.
Hanafee Wahab, formerly sous chef at FOC Sentosa by Nandu Jubany, helms the kitchen. The menu encompasses a good mix of cold and hot tapas, communal-sharing paellas and platters, and hearty mains. These are complemented by a good range of Spanish wines, cocktails, ciders, beers and seasonal sangrias. Expect the use of unusual ingredients that are sourced across the Iberian Peninsula, such as mojama, an air-dried salt cured tuna loin from Cadiz, Southwestern Spain, here used to heighten the flavours of dishes such as ensalada pepa ($22) a garden salad with heirloom tomatoes, manchego cheese, fresh mandarins and Spanish Marcona almonds. There is also Mojo sauce from the Canary Islands comprising Palmera peppers, garlic, paprika and spices paired with a tender oven-roasted baby chicken ($22).
Traditional Spanish snacks like wild mushrooms croquet ($8), and chorizo tortilla ($12), a chorizo Spanish omelette, are hearty, flavourful options. But our favourite dish is Arroz Negro (from $28), a squid ink paella that holds a fine balance of sweet and savoury notes. Its deep flavours are heightened by bomba rice that is slow cooked with a stock base that includes ingredients such as nora peppers and both diced squid and octopus head, and toppings of grilled tiger prawns and clams.
This dish goes well with wines such as the intense, fruity 2015 Paco y Lola No.12 white wine from the Rias Baixas wine region specialising in Albarino grapes. Be sure to check out La Pepa’s petite retail section offering a range of premium produce such as olive oils, vinegars, olive teas, cured meats and seafood.
10 Gemmill Lane. Tel: 9830 0908
This was first published in Wine & Dine’s Jan/Feb 2018 issue – Embracing Clean & Green, ‘Restaurants’