Tinto opening Singapore spanish food dempsey hill

Photo: Tinto and Kenneth SZ Goh

Chefs Daniel and Tamara Chavez are expanding their footprint of Latin American cuisine in Singapore with their latest venture, Tinto, a Spanish restaurant in Dempsey Hill, which opens today.

The opening of Tinto comes two years after the duo launched Canchita Peruvian Cuisine, which is a stone’s throw away from the former. Daniel and Tamara, who are from Peru and Mexico respectively, are known for promoting Latin American gastronomy and culture in Singapore, from highlighting the use of indigenous ingredients from the continent to helming dining collaborations across the region. 

Their latest restaurant Tinto, which comes from the Spanish term for red wine, vino tinto, is inspired by the preference for red wine among oenophiles here. Daniel, who has run restaurants such as OLA Cocina Del Mar and Tonito, noticed this preference from his 17 years of working here, which also include stints at Les Amis and Santi. Tamara has 14 years of culinary experience under her belt, including a stint at the renowned El Mercado restaurant in Peru. Spain, which has a diverse culinary scene, also holds a special spot for the lovebirds, who visited the country for their honeymoon last year. 

At Tinto, Daniel is zeroing in on his food memories in Valencia. He completed his Master’s programme in culinary arts at hospitality school Escuela de Hosteleria y Turismo de Valencia in the Southeastern Spanish city, and has also worked in La Sucursal restaurant there. Pay homage to the birthplace of paellas, the highlight of Tinto’s menu has 11 variations of the one-pan dish, which include its noodle counterpart, fideua.

Related: Review: Restaurant Chedi captures the right spirit of contemporary Thai cuisine 

11 types of paellas to choose from

Tinto opening Singapore spanish food dempsey hill
Photo: Tinto

Menu highlights include the De Pulpo & Chorizo Paella, which adorns the bed of fragrant saffron Bomba rice with salty pork chorizo sausage, tender chunks of grilled octopus and fava beans. Not that flavours need to be amped up but the side of piquillo pepper aioli makes the dish more moreish. Take time to dig into the burnt layer of crisp soccarat at the bottom of the pan.

The Fideua Carabineros & Setas is drenched in rich prawn oil from the ribbons of fiery red carabinero prawns that are draped across the layer of Spanish noodles that is cooked in the pan. New Valenciana, which features a time-honoured recipe, switches the use of rabbit meat with spicy pork chorizo, in the rice dish that is cooked with chicken, roasted artichoke and raw zucchini strips. 

Daniel says: “Spanish cuisine has always been popular in Singapore. With so many tapas restaurants here, we want to focus on paellas and fiduas, but serve them smaller portions so that diners can sampling different flavours in one sitting.”

Tinto opening Singapore spanish food dempsey hill
Photo: Kenneth SZ Goh

Other highlights include Gambas Al Ajillo, which has prawns drenched in umami-rich prawn head-infused oil and perched on a bed of potato puree, and Cangrejo, a refreshing dish of creamy mashed avocado and crab salad with pops of salmon caviar. Mains also include Pescado & Cava, crispy fish skin doused with Catalan cava butter sauce and served with tomato concasse, grilled cauliflower and green asparagus, and Cochinillo, roasted suckling pig with orange reduction.

True to its namesake, the 120-seat restaurant stocks 70 labels of Spanish wines, which are curated by chef Daniel. Most of them are red wines, from well-known regions such as Rioja, Priorat and Ribera del Duero. Wines include the spice-accented and full-bodied Adega Algueira Mencia 2019. No Spanish wine list is complete without cava, in this case, the Agusti Torello Mata Brut Reserva, which has apple and caramel notes. The restaurant also has a greenhouse seating area at the back, which opens up to the verdant greenery of the Dempsey neighborhood.