Ladies and gentlemen, my dear food fanatics, prepare to embark on a gastronomic journey like no other! You might not be ready for this, so hold your heart and brace yourself for what’s about to be unleashed because Alegria Singapore is launching an explosion of flavours in their brand new menu.
This fantastical fusion of Latin American, Filipino and Singaporean flavours, enriched with the captivating touch of traditional Argentinian parrilla, is the ultimate gastronomic match made in fusion heaven!
Located in the heart of Keong Saik, Alegria Singapore is a vibrant Latin Asian restaurant and bar. Their open-fire grill concept combines contemporary artistry and traditional culinary techniques, resulting in a beautiful marriage of flavour. Indulge your senses in a culinary extravaganza where succulent meats, ocean-fresh seafood, and smoky grilled vegetables come together to give you an experience enriched with authenticity and divine tastes.
Alegria is the brainchild of its founder and Executive Chef, Charles Montanez. This culinary genius hails from the Philippines and surges forth with a passion for bringing together diverse palettes and creating gastronomic experiences that resonate with diners on a profound level!
Today, I present to you the dishes that stuck out to me and might have changed my life. These are the dishes I would truly recommend, one and all to try, with no fluff or bluff.
But, my dear readers, I must warn you. This culinary affair is not for the weak. It’s a rollercoaster ride of flavours that will have you smiling from ear to ear with sheer delight one moment and shedding a tear of overwhelming joy the next. The flavours burst like fireworks on your tongue, and the textures dance harmoniously, leaving you begging for an encore. If you’re ready for what awaits you, this review is yours to take!
No restaurant experience is complete without the perfect ambience. And boy, did Alegria deliver. The dark interior and dim lighting make for an intimate dining experience (Perfect for a date, might I add). Whether you choose the booths, the bar tables or the regular tables, you’re in for a cosy yet enjoyable experience, complete with the mystery the dim lighting offers.
In the background, they play some sick beats that complement your dining experience. You’ll catch yourself singing along to the hits that Alegria plays softly for your entertainment, giving you the perfect white noise for your meal. Look around, and you’ll also see some interesting paintings on the wall that add to the restaurant’s funk and youthful yet mature feel.
Oh, the food! It’s absolutely divine. As mentioned before, this restaurant gives you a fusion of Latin American, Filipino and Singaporean flavours. What better way to celebrate food than to bring together some of the most flavourful and delicious cuisines, pick their best highlights, and serve them together on a plate?
Alegria brings us two dishes that celebrate our very own local culture and are specially available to you from 9 August till the end of the month – the Hainanese Curry Chicken Tostada and the Caldo De Laksa. These odes to our nation’s rich culinary culture meet in a fusion of Latin American and Filipino flavours that will increase your appreciation for our local delicacies tenfold!
But now, onto the review.
Pao de Queijo
This is Brazilian Cheese Bread with Basil Butter. One word: wow. Can something so simple be so delicious? Pao de Queijo is a popular Brazilian breakfast dish and snack and was served to us as an appetiser, but it could well have been the highlight of my night. And it’s just bread!
But not just any bread. It’s made with tapioca flour. Sounds familiar? Ding ding ding! Tapioca flour is also used to make bubble tea pearls. So this Pao de Queijo has a similar chewy consistency to our beloved pearls. And in the bread is cheese! Come on, everything in life is better with cheese. With the chewiness of the tapioca flour, the stretchiness and the slight saltiness of the cheese, the bread becomes stretchy goodness. It was almost reminiscent of mochi.
But the cherry on top? The basil butter. It’s salty, herby, creamy goodness. It makes for the perfect accompaniment with the bread while subtly enhancing it. Be sure to dunk your bread in the butter, and you will have the most scrumptious, yummilicious start to your meal.
Hainanese Curry Chicken Tostada
Still on appetisers, this Hainanese Curry Chicken Tostada is one of the two exclusive National Day dishes available until the end of August; one you definitely can’t miss.
Chef Charles crafted this dish keeping in mind his sheer love for the nation-favourite Scissor-Cut Curry Rice! He makes sure to have it every time he’s in town and wanted to bring this to his diners as well, but in a reimagined manner. The Hainanese Curry Chicken Tostada contains chicken barbacoa, Nestum cereal, chap chye, and of course, the heart of the dish, the curry.
When you have that bite, there’s so much going on and so many textures partying in your mouth – the crunch of what tasted like a cucumber, the juiciness of the chicken, the crisp of the tostada, and the creaminess of the curry. The bite feels like a beautiful blur to me now. But I can tell you that the star flavour is the curry. It’s the most prominent element of the divine tostada, calling for your attention in the most blissful manner.
But Chef Charles cleverly ensures that every element of the tostada complements one another, reminding us of how we, Singaporeans, come from different cultures and backgrounds but unite harmoniously and come together as one Singapore. Marvellous.
Moving on to the mains, this is one of those dishes that had me going in for multiple bites because I couldn’t believe what I was eating. Wait till you hear it. This stunning Kurobata Tomahawk (pork) came with a squash “Kare Kare” mole, which is basically a peanut base. Yes, peanut.
Given the consistency and uncanny similarity, I thought the base was peanut butter as soon as I tried it! But this creamy sauce is an inspiration drawn from Kare Kare, a Filipino peanut-based stew.
Chef Charles very intelligently pairs this with pork, and together, they actually taste like satay and peanut sauce! The pork’s juiciness, perfect char, and slight smoky tartness are combined with the sweet yet smoky peanut base, making it reminiscent of our dear satay! Once again, a little nod to Singapore flavours and palettes!
And a little something about Kurobuta pork is that it’s a speciality pork product and comes from a heritage breed of pigs. You could say that Kurobuta is the Wagyu of pork. You’re getting served like royalty here at Alegria!
Caldo de Laksa
Ah, laksa. You spicy, creamy, coconut goodness! It’s not a coincidence that every time 9 August comes by, you’re celebrated just as much, with must-try renditions of you putting the country in a chokehold. This dish is no exception. Until the end of August, celebrate Singapore and laksa with this Caldo de Laksa at Alegria! With grilled tiger prawns in laksa broth, served with Arroz de Marisco and a wrap for you to put it all together, Alegria gives laksa a new look and feel.
First, let’s talk about the laksa itself. It was rich and thick, almost sauce-like, which made it perfect for this dish. That unmistakable laksa taste is oh-so present, and the coconut taste wasn’t too strong or jelak. As a laksa enthusiast, this broth passed with flying colours. The tiger prawns may seem daunting to deshell, but all hail Chef Charles for ensuring the prawn is already freed from its shell prison for you! Just scoop it out of its shell and enjoy!
Then comes the Arroz de Marisco, a seafood rice dish from Portuguese cuisine, that makes a great accompaniment to the laksa. While it was a punch of flavour (a punch I’d take any day!), it was too mushy on its own for me to really enjoy it, kind of tasting like soggy rice krispies. But its texture makes it perfect for a wrap, which is what Alegria has in mind for this dish.
As much as I hate to admit it, the wrap served was way too powdery to be enjoyed. Its texture overpowered every other element and made the experience a bit of a letdown. I wish it were grilled or a different type of wrap was served.
That being said, the textures in this dish didn’t bode well with me, but the laksa broth and prawns were phenomenal and an important celebration of Singaporean flavours and dishes.
What’s dessert if it isn’t a banging end to the meal? Champorado does exactly that. This frozen chocolate mousse is topped with baked rice and Polboron crumble and served with bite-sized mochi, all topped with a warm coat of chocolate. Did I just describe heaven? Well, it’s certainly mine.
For your first bite, get a scoop of that frozen mousse, a bit of mochi, and make sure you’ve got lots of chocolate on there.
The coldness of the mousse (which tastes just like chocolate ice cream, by the way) and the warmth of the chocolate perfectly juxtapose against each other, giving you the perfect marriage of hot and cold! With the chewiness of the mochi, you’ve got yourself the best dessert ever. Within each bite, you’ll get little bits of the baked rice and Polvoron crumble, but they might go unnoticed with the other elements.
Nonetheless, the perfect end to a perfect meal, the Champorado has our seal of approval!
A signature cocktail, and the superstar on the menu, ladies and gentlemen, welcome Calista to the table! A sweet mix of Umeshu, Gin, Lime and tangy Yuzu Tonic shaken with specially infused spiced pear, she’s an absolute feast just to look at. Her stunning colours will have you hesitant even to take a sip. But when you do, her colours merge and remind you of the crack of dawn. She’s smooth, sweet and ever so slightly sour, with the taste of alcohol being so faint, making her the perfect cocktail for something light and easy.
A bonus observation: she pairs well with the tiger prawns from the Caldo de Laksa. And that chunky block of ice that takes centre stage in the biggest glass I’ve ever drank from will keep your drink chilled all night!
Another star on the menu that has Alegria’s diners coming for more is the Pink Lady! She’s a combination of only the best Gin in town, with sweet Dragon Fruit nodes, lemon zest and Muyu Vetiver – known for its earthy and mystical notes.
If I could give her an alternative name, I’d call her ‘Sweet but Psycho’. She’s sweet, a little sour, and leaves behind a trail of that unmistakable bitterness from the alcohol in its wake. Her presentation was stunning, but it had us wishing that we had more!
You thought that was it? No, darlings. Alegria comes packed with flavour but also surprises…
Say hello to Taco Tuesdays, with 50% off their signature tacos, unlimited and with no minimum spend. Say hola to Ladies Nights every Wednesday night, where you get 1-for-1 signature cocktails and a complimentary bottle of Prosecco when you gather your squad of 5.
Furthermore, say feliz cumpleaños (happy birthday) with Alegria and celebrate your birthday or a friend’s! Bring along 3 paying adults, and the birthday king or queen can enjoy a complimentary 3-course meal (your choice of starter, main course and dessert) or unlimited drinks all night!
They have so many other dishes that left us feeling wowed, like their Wood-Fired Oysters drenched in torched cheese and served with chips, their addictive Truffle Chicharones (mushroom fritters), which would be a great drinking snack, their Carne Asada which is Angus short-rib bone served with mole rojo (traditional Mexican sauce made with chillies, spices and chocolate) and avocado chimichurri, so much more!
And there you have it, my dear readers, a tale of gastronomic enchantment that has left me utterly spellbound. The next time you’re in the mood for culinary escapism, remember to make a beeline to Alegria’s doors, a mere five-minute walk from Outram Park MRT Station (Exit 4). Alegria proves that when Latin spice meets Asian zing, magic happens on your plate!
¡Buen provecho! (enjoy your meal)
Location: 18 Teck Lim Rd, Singapore 088390
- Tuesday – Sunday: 12pm – 12am
- Closed on Mondays.
Photos by Marcus Lim of the DANAMIC Team.