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Home / Spanish Cuisine / The Tapas Tree at Clarke Quay – Spanish Dim Sum
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The Tapas Tree at Clarke Quay – Spanish Dim Sum
By Alfred May 10, 2009
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The Tapas Tree at Clarke Quay – Spanish Dim Sum
Fast Facts
Spanish Cuisine
Price Range:
S$61 & above
Rating Range:
7 to 7.9
Clarke Quay
Food Centre:
Recommended For:
Reviewed by:

I have always loved Spanish food ever since I first tried it when I was in London. Spanish food is not all that alien if you’re thinking that way. For me it is a ‘close relative’ of the Italian. I mean you get all the cheese, tomatoes, chili peppers, beans, potatoes or cooking in olive oil and stuff in your meat or vegetables.

One interesting statistic to note is that out of 10 Singaporeans friends I’ve asked whether they like Spanish food, 10 of them had told me they’ve never tasted. Yes 100% of those I’ve asked have told me they’ve not tried Spanish food in their life! Well I don’t blame them, because for me even when I loved it so much I don’t even know where to get good Spanish food in Singapore, and the fact is even if I do see a Spanish restaurant while walking along the street, it would really take a lot for me to walk into it to have a try and risk eating something that is not good because as we all know, Spanish, Italian, Greek or whatever, all these European food are quite expensive in Singapore.

If you’re thinking all Europeans eat their food the same way then I will tell you that even all Asians don’t. For some reasons, the Chinese love Dimsum while the Japanese love Sushi.

Now the truth is Dimsum is to the Cantonese what Tapas is to the Spanish and Hongkong Tea house is to the Cantonese what a Tapas Bar is to the Spanish. Tapas is technically a wide spread of appetizer’s sized dishes that usually people would order and have it like a full meal. It’s exactly how Dimsum is being eaten.

However one thing to note is that in Spain, people usually have dinners quite late like 9pm to 10pm or sometimes even as late as 11pm to 12am leaving significant time in between finishing work and dinner so they would usually hop into the bar for a beer and some tapas to go along. Now if you’re thinking that’s strange then it would be equally strange if Europeans were to find Singaporeans rushing to Kopitiam for a bowl of prawn noodles before they head off to work because people in the west have no time to enjoy a good breakfast. Even their lunch is a light one which is some kind of roll usually but a feast for dinner.

So now you know that Tapas is the Spanish form of Dimsum which is fairly uncommon outside of Europe and usually eaten after work and before dinner.

Now eventhough Tapas are usually served in appetizer’s size, they also have main course’s size dishes and one of it is the Paella. Paella is what many people called the Spanish seafood rice which is essentially seafood cooked with rice in something which they called the Paella pan.

Now if you were to ask me for the Chinese version then our Claypot Rice comes to mind except that we cook it with chicken pieces and in a pot while they use different varieties of seafood and in a pan.

Well of course a lot of Cantonese Dimsum places serve main course dishes like Beef Horfun or Seafood Fried Rice but that usually is not the reason why we go to a Dimsum place right? And so I see the same analogy in the way that Paella is also not the reason why I would go a Tapas bar.

I really don’t know much about the Spanish food scene in Singapore so I can’t give a wide recommendation but however, the only one that I know, they serves really quality Tapas, even better than those I’ve had in Europe.

Now if you were to head into any Tapas Bar and found yourself been greeted by words on the menu that you’ve never come across before, don’t fret. The thing is if you read into the ingredients, they’re normally something you’re familiar with otherwise in an Italian eating place. Spanish food is infact the good cousin of Italian food(or at least that’s how I think). They not only shared many similar ingredients but in taste too.

It’s like if a Westerner found himself loving the prawns in the Har Gow, it doesn’t mean of all Chinese food, only in Haw Gow you get to eat such succulent prawns right?

Ok if you’re looking to widen your gastronomy horizon, but yet not willing to taste something that is really out of your umami range, then The Tapas Tree is where you should go next.

The Tapas Tree is something that me and my partner chanced upon while walking along Clarrke Quay one night and decided to give it a shot. It is interesting to note that the menu there is something very different from the Tapas menu I’m familiar with.

Here, the names get a little more strange with a lot of what I felt like an ‘air of authenticity’ and it can be difficult to know the dish based on the names but if you were to look at the ingredients, then you simply can’t go wrong. I mean if it reads ‘Mushrooms’ or ‘Meatballs’ or ‘Sausages’ then how far wrong can it go, right?

Well if like me, you like all the tomatoes, mushrooms, cheese, salami and pepperoni stuff in an Italian meal, then you may like to go for something that I’ve tried in Tapas Tree and loved it so much that I think for the quality of food, it’s not difficult to give a distinction.

[xrr label=”Tapas:” rating=”7.5/10″ group=”s1″]

The thing I liked about Tapas Tree is that every food that arrives on your plate gives you the feeling that you’re being served something that was cooked after you ordered and not scooped from something that is cooked mass in a big pot which is often the case with Tapas elsewhere, even in Europe. They’re really serious about the quality here, it’s just like eating anything in Tung Lok, you know that you’ll be served something that would be in it’s own league.

The only thing I have to warn is that prices here are pretty steep and for 2 person, you should be looking at around $60 to $70 for a meal of 4 Tapas dishes including drinks.

I must admit that I haven’t tried that many Tapas bar in Singapore so I can’t vouch that they are indeed one of the best here but I shall say they’re indeed one of the best I’ve tasted of all Tapas and though it’s quite expensive but the amount of quality in the food you’ll get(not forgetting the ambience and the service) is something that will be worthed every of your penny.

Price: Avg $10 per dish

Recommendation: Sauteed Mushrooms in Cream Sauce.

Conclusion: The best Spanish food I have taken. It can’t be compared to those 1 pound a dish types in Europe obviously but here they’ve clearly uplifted the quality to the point where I think you’re really getting your worth even for $10 a dish.

Likes: Really really fresh food being served. Everything including the sauce just tasted so fresh. Nice ambience.

Dislikes: Price a little too steep, makes it difficult to visit often!

Address Overall Rating

Tapas Tree
3D River Valley Road
#01-08 Clarke Quay

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[xrr label=”Value:” rating=”7/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Service:” rating=”7/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Ambience:” rating=”8/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr label=”Cleanliness:” rating=”7/10″ group=”s1″]
[xrr overall=true group=s1 label=Overall:]

Readers' Comment(s) : 11
Lim Boon Tiong says:

wow…. what a rare post !
I belong to the 100% of people who had never tried spanish food before.

One thing i would like to suggest to the restaurant is they should print the food photo on the menu so that Singapreans and tourist will know what to expect.

I will drop by this place just for the Sauteed Mushrooms in Cream Sauce in future, so as to know how Spanish food taste like.

Posted May 11, 2009
Alfred says:

Well sauteed mushroom in cream sauce would taste something like cooked mushrooms bathed thickly in buttered carbonara sauce and sprinkled with parsley. The thing i like about it is the sauce tasted so fresh that i think they actually cooked it on the spot.

Posted May 11, 2009
Mag says:

You can get pretty good Tapas at Serenity @ VivoCity, level 1. One bonus of this place is that they serve good drinks and have a filipino duo entertaining the diners.
It was at this place that I heard “Looking through the eyes of Love”. Good food & drinks plus soothing songs to boot, what more can one ask for?

Posted May 13, 2009
Lim Boon Tiong says:

i saw that place before at vivoo but never step inside.
it looks pretty posh and expensive place.

the food standard should be good i guess.

Posted May 13, 2009
Alfred says:

What’s the price like at this tapas bar?

Posted May 25, 2009
Lim Boon Tiong says:

check out the online menu here..

Posted May 25, 2009
Alfred says:

cool, cheers!

Posted May 25, 2009
Lynette says:

There is a very good spanish restaurant called Don Quijote at Lorong Kilat, opposite Beauty World. Must tries: Squid Ink Pasta, Don Quijote Special Paella and sparkling sangria.

Can find more information on their website:

Posted June 24, 2009
Alfred says:

Cool but the prices are pretty steep though. Any other dish they’re famous for other than pasta or paella which isn’t my fav food…

Posted June 24, 2009
Lynette says:

They do have some discount with credit cards..i think it’s 15% off the food. some good tapas i tried: garlic shrimp roll, baby sotong sauteed in olive oil, tenderloin cubes and they do a very good oxtail stew. I loved the warm chocolate cake. They use spanish chocolates which is not too sweet but high cocoa content.

Posted June 25, 2009
Alfred says:

That’s cool. I was looking at the menu, beautiful pictures there. Worth checking out sometime. Thanks!

Posted June 25, 2009
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