It’s not for nothing that the folks behind one of Publika’s more popular restaurant chose the name “Estilo” for their new venture. The word is Spanish for “style,” and you’ll find plenty of it here, along with outstanding food, good service, and some of the tastiest sangrias in town. Located at The Square on the ground floor of the expansive Publika Mall, Estilo Spanish Tapas Bar & Charcoal Grill just looks like a good time before you’ve even taken your seat. We arrived shortly after 1pm on a recent Sunday afternoon, and the place was hopping. Tapas and tipples were owing in equal measure, and there was a laid-back and genuinely enjoyable vibe with families, couples, and friends all taking up tables and enjoying the Spanish style of this great eatery. Part of it is the ambiance, of course. With kitschy lamps, hexagonal wooden bar tables, hand-painted dinner plates and sangria pitchers, and plenty of Spanish wines on display, Estilo casts an inviting spell, to be sure. But in the end, it’s all about the food, and here, this restaurant delivers.
The gregarious Executive Chef Pedro Avila, himself imported directly from Santander, Spain, presents a delectable array of cold and hot tapas, gourmet salads, grilled delights, and authentic paella. We started with just a couple of the more popular tapas, the bestselling Queso de Cabra Crujiente, an oven-baked goat cheese delight in a filo pastry crust, with pumpkin jam and caramelized shallots, and the pan-seared Foie Gras, served on toast points with membrillo jam. Other favoured tapas from the list over two dozen include Albondigas (beef meatballs), Piquillos Rellenos (Spanish peppers stuffed with beef and cheese), Paella Pan Pizzas with a variety of toppings (try the chorizo and pineapple), and a gorgeous Cold Cuts and Cheese Platter with a selection of Spanish meats and cheeses. Be sure to indulge in a great Spanish wine from Estilo’s outstanding collection, or order a pitcher of their outstanding sangria in a variety of flavours.
We then moved on to the Ensalada de Pato Ahumado, a well-presented cold duck salad comprising an entire head of crispy baby romaine, quartered and stuffed with smoked duck breast and caramelized shallots and drizzled with a tangy framboise dressing. Next up came Estilo’s signature Paella Mariscos, a pan of perfectly cooked, flavourful imported Spanish rice, adorned with prawns, mussels, squid, clams, and a particularly delicious fillet of deep sea snapper. With a squeeze of lemon and a drizzle of chilli-garlic oil, the paella was sublime.
One special treat on Sundays is a spit-roasted lamb. Carved hot to order, the meat was succulent and juicy. A trio of house-made dipping sauces were presented for us to try, too – the mojo green with chillies and herbs, a tangy peri-peri with red chillis and lemon, and a particularly piquan Thai dipping sauce with spicy chillies, soy, and lemon. If you find yourself at Estilo on a Sunday afternoon, do yourself a favour and get a few sliced bits of the roasted lamb. If you’ve room for dessert, Estilo offers a few excellent choices, from a Leche Frita (fried milk curd with cinnamon) to a Tarta Manzana (apple tart). With or without dessert, Estilo is a place to return again and again! By Alexander Lim
Source: The Expat February 2014
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