I have a confession to make: Tapas is one of my favourite styles of cooking, and I had been looking forward to trying El Teatro Tapas at The Capitol Building. My interest was sharpened by the fact that it’s run by The Kempinski, so you know the attention to detail is going to be exemplary. Now, I just needed a willing lunch partner…in mid-February, I found one, and off we went to eat.

The restaurant is semi-open, and has the advantage of being fairly private, if you are seated at the back (we were), whilst still feeling airy and light. So far so good.

The welcome was warm and professional, and we sat down in eager anticipation. The S$17++ lunch set looked good value, so I opted for seared tuna, and my companion chose garlic prawns. We both decided on churros for dessert.

Complementary black olives were of good quality and presaged an enjoyable meal.

I had been nervously warned that the tuna would be cooked medium-rare (so not seared, then) but that did not prepare me for what arrived. The fish looked beautiful, was cut and plated stylishly, but had almost no taste. It had neither the fresh bite of the raw, nor the warm depth of flavour to be expected from cooked tuna. The texture was soft, in a slightly spongy way, and unappealing. It was not unpleasant to eat but had no redeeming qualities.

The garlic prawns was a generous portion, and had a properly Spanish amount of garlic. However, the prawns were not fully cooked, and were small, and weak in flavour. Not so much Gambas, as a Gamble that didn’t pay off.

Tapas should be a fiesta of colour and flavour – this was more like early-closing night in Rotherham.

The churros were spectacular – crisp, flavourful, creamy-centred and doused in cinnamon sugar – and meant we at least left the table with that on our tongues and in our memories.

I am still looking for my Singapore Tapas Home.

Address: Arcade @ The Capitol Kempinski. 13 Stamford Road, Singapore 178906

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