BOAT QUAY - Dehesa is a Spanish nose-to-tail restaurant, at the edge of Boat Quay, and home of delectable off-cuts, offal delicacies and succulent classic cut specialties, with a commitment to whole animal usage. This warm and cosy 54-seater is run by Chef-Owner JP Patruno, or JP as he is affectionately known, who is a specialist in the culinary skill of preparing and cooking offal and alternative cuts. His repertoire of dishes is presented in a succinct no-BS menu, putting out food that is much like him – bold, honest, brazen. From his signature platter of cold meats featuring delights such as pig’s head, scratchings and fifi pate, to duck hearts on toast and secreto Iberico, the food at Dehesa is definitely exciting and much to shout about.
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.
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:
To be honest, we went for the whole menu…ok, almost! You really MUST try the soft cooked eggs with chorizo and smoked mash – perfection on a plate and one of the most comforting dishes we have eaten. The Iberico jowl is beautifully cooked to a soft, velvety, almost melt-in-your mouth texture and when paired with the celeriac, certainly makes it one of the most underrated stars on the menu.
And, definitely not to be forgotten, Dehesa also has an impressive list of wines – we went for the crisp and stark white with our starters that really brought out the peppery notes of the pimentos. A medium-bodied red went perfectly with our cote de boeuf. If in doubt, just ask JP for recommendations, you won’t be disappointed.
Did we mention that sitting at the bar is the best seat in the house? While watching the hubbub in the kitchen, go for the Tasting Menu. For $128++ a pop, you get 7 surprise dishes of JP’s selection, depending on what he has for the day. Trust us when we say that you will be blown away.
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