When my friend suggested we catch up over a late dinner, and was feeling slightly adventurous with food, I suggested we go to a tapas bar. I have always been a huge fan of tapas bars particularly because of its wide variety (it’s like Spanish dim sum). I blame that on my inherent Chinese upbringing – as a child I always had 4 to 5 dishes on the table as opposed to a starter, main and dessert in other cultures. Additionally, the small bite sizes of tapas do not distract dinner conversations unlike a main course.
I suggested we meet at La Viva Spanish Tapas and Bar located at Chijmes. I do enjoy the quaint rustic air of Chijmes, and I would love the alfresco dining option even more if they had solved their pest problems. Nevertheless, I was curious if La Viva was able to top my favourite tapas bar in Singapore.
Thankfully Happy Hour stretches from 5pm to 9pm; when we were seated down slightly shy of 9pm, I ordered my pint of Erdinger to take the edge off my Wednesday. Didn’t you get the memo? Wednesdays are the new Fridays.
As it was a late dinner, and we were all weight conscious diners (the irony of a food blogger), we limited our orders to 4 tapas.
We started with the Pan fried Chorizo with garlic. Chorizos are a type of pork sausages. The first bite offered a burst of flavours, but that was before the saltiness of the sausages kicked in. Subsequent bites and I wondered why the sausages were so dry and tough. I suspect that as the slices of sausages were too thin, pan-frying it led to its dryness.
The next was Sea scallops with thermidor sauce. The scallops were fresh – sweet, juicy and chewy, but the pan seared was a little over done. After ordering the dish, I had to google what was thermidor sauce. Apparently, according to the ever-reliable Wikipedia, lobster thermidor is a French dish that is lobster meat cooked with egg yolks and brandy or cognac. Sounded impressive, but it read better than it tasted. It did in no way contribute to the flavours of the scallop; in fact, eating it by itself is a tad sour.
Our third tapa was the Homemade meatballs in tomato sauce. The meatballs were nice and flavourful, with the meat filling a juicy texture. It is hard to be impressed with meatballs, especially when you’ve had the ones from Ikea or Torte. La Viva doesn’t top the list, but it is a close consolation. My only regret was the restaurant not serving bread with this dish; the tomato gravy would have gone oh too well.
The final tapa to be served, which was quite the highlight too, was the Sauteed mushroom and avocado coulis. It was a masterpiece of various textures. The mushroom is chewy, avocado creamy and the bread soft. You will be greeted first with the rich mushroom taste, which then follows with the good sweet-sour lingering taste of avocado.
La Viva offers commercialized tapas at the tourist entrapment known as Chijmes. If you were on a hunt for a rustic tapas bar, I would recommend going to Zsofi Tapas Bar instead. While Chijmes offers a similar old-stoned feel common in Spain, it lacks the hustle and bustle that is common in tapas bars.
Did it turn us on?
The lightbulb had Einstein kicking in his grave…
As we value honesty and integrity here at Six&Seven, all food reviews have been paid for by our writers.
La Viva Spanish Bar & Tapas
30 Victoria Street, Chijmes
Tel: 6339 4290
Opening Hours: Daily 3pm till late