Dehesa is a Spanish nose-to-tail restaurant at the edge of Boat Quay where Chef-owner JP Patruno specialises in alternative off-cuts, offal delicacies and succulent classic cut specialties with a commitment to whole animal usage. His repertoire of dishes is presented in a succinct no-BS menu, putting out food that is much like him – bold, honest, brazen.
We have visited many times to sample delish dishes like his signature platter of cold meats featuring delights such as pig’s head, scratchings and fifi pate, duck hearts on toast and secreto Iberico, and we were pretty impressed. Chef JP recently updated the menu, so we decided to head back again to see what new creations he’s come up with.
Why you should come here:
The food and chatter with JP at the bar tops our list of perfect lunchtime and dinner leisure. The seats at the bar are the best in the house; allowing you a first-hand view of the what goes on in the kitchen, where you can hear the orders being barked and witness JP’s quick moves and flicks of plating. What appears to be nonchalance is actually clockwork precision from years of cooking. Being at the frontline of this action makes the dining experience that much more satisfying. Plus, the private room that faces the kitchen also lets you hold a casual business meeting or private dinner session without being too stuffy.
What we love:
From the recently revamped menu there were a few new dishes and some adapted ones. Our favorites would have to be the Crispy Soft Iberico Eggs, Lala with chillies and sherry (we’ve had this before and were disappointed they had run out—be sure they have them in when you go, trust us!), and the Octopus with Lardo and Ratte, which has always been delicious.
Chef JP adapted the Squid Ink paella so it’s now a smaller serving for two people and offered up on a plate rather than off the pan. It still tastes just as good, but we definitely could have had more.
The Jamon Croquettas were tasty, but we say go for some of the other unusual dishes, especially if you’re an adventurous eater. For example, we decided to go out of the box and try the Crispy Pig Head with egg yolk. We weren’t too sure about the texture, but we’re glad we tried it. Be sure to check out the daily specials too, as they have some great dishes going on there.
They also have very reasonably priced wines. With all the food we ordered and three bottles of wine, we ending up spending about $120++ per person, which when compared to a lot of other restaurants is great value for money, especially considering the quality of the food.
Did we mention that sitting at the bar is the best seat in the house? While watching the hubbub in the kitchen, order your choices off the menu and sit back and enjoy.
Oh, and Dehesa makes the best desserts in town, so to finish off your meal, go for the crowd favourites, torijas and lardo flan with caramelized pancetta; or simply let us pick for you, as we have been doing all along, and go for our favourite – chocolate, olive oil and salt (another UJ insider tidbit, JP has spent 5 years perfecting this chocolate dessert, and boy, those 5 years were not wasted).
A little more about JP: much of his almost 30-year career was spent in London for over 22 years, where he worked at highly acclaimed Quo Vadis and trendy Soho restaurants Fina and Barafina. Look these places up, they are among the most popular restaurants in the UK.
Who to look for:
JP of course! Or Jen, the lovely head waitress. Oh and one more tip – mention Honey from Urban Journey sent you and be treated like royalty.
About $50++ per person excluding alcoholic beverages.
Where: 12 North Canal Road, Singapore 048825
Opening Hours: Monday – Friday 11:30am – 2:30pm, Monday – Saturday 5:30pm till late