Category: European/Spanish – Special Occasions
Just a month ago, we visited UNA for the first time over Christmas. My family has a family tradition of having brunch every 25th of December, and I, as usual, was placed in charge of making the reservations. I was looking for a place which served up hearty meats (beef/pork/turkey) – to me it just doesn’t make sense to have Asian cuisine at Christmastime – and a cosy atmosphere. Helmed by Chef Jean-Philippe Patruno, UNA, veiled by the lush greenery of One Rochester, was relatively new and had already received a number of good reviews.
1 Rochester Park, Singapore 139212
Located in the vicinity of Buona Vista, One Rochester is an enclave of classy restaurants. Parking is limited in the open air carpark, but you can always park next door at The Star Vista and take a short 5-10 minute walk over.
They have several tapas-style options in the $10s to $20s. Mains of Hanger steak, suckling pig or Pluma Ibérica are around $30 – and the portions are decent but not that sizeable. So if you’re planning to do the entire suite including dessert, prepare for about $100 each. At Christmas, their brunch menu of 1 main and a buffet of starters and desserts was $65++ each.
To go: Sometimes, on special occasions
While the food was good, the thing that stood out to me most was the impeccable service. I think anyone who has experienced poor service on an important occasion would agree with me that it makes a whole lot of difference. The staff were very friendly, helpful in offering suggestions, prompt at checking-in on guests, and basically doing everything possible to ensure the best experience possible. They had some standout dishes as well, including the Spanish Tortilla, Pluma Ibérica, Crispy Cod Fish main and Pedro Ximénez Panna Cotta.
A MORE DETAILED REVIEW
We opened the meal with appetisers of cold meats, jamon iberico, and pan con tomate, which is a dish which I saw lots of when I was studying in Barcelona, and which we made at barbecues and gatherings by taking a tomato cut in half and then rubbing it into bread. The spread included pan-fried scallops & asparagus which featured thick juicy scallops, as well as spanish tortilla with prawns and aioli (see featured picture, triangular slice) which in Spain was referred to simply as a kind of “spanish omelette”.
For the mains, we ordered the pluma ibérica, hanger steak, baby chicken and crispy cod fish. The steak was a bit dry and tough, but the pluma ibérica was incredible – the pork was tender, and its meaty-woody flavours sang powerfully to the accompaniment of a light but intense sauce made from natural jus. The mash which lay beneath was smooth and creamy, and balanced out the saltiness of the meat perfectly.
The baby chicken was beautifully charred on the outside, although not crispy, but the inside remained juicy and moist. The crispy cod was a good counterpoint to the heavy meat dishes and was fresh, falling off in large flakes when pulled with the fork, and the batter which encased it was crispy, light and non-oily.
I was excited about the spread of desserts which included items like banoffee mess, bitter chocolate tart, and churros & chocolat. The bitter chocolate tart was a disappointment in spite of how it looked – the presence of salt in the chocolate was overwhelming and masked the taste of the cocoa entirely. The churros was too oily as well. The Pedro Ximénez Panna Cotta, however, was fantastic – topped with light crumbles of popcorn, the panna cotta was soft and creamy, with the sweetness of the grapes of the sherry coming through in its wake – and I just had to have three of those before calling it a day.