How time flies! It’s been over 2 years since I was running across the dehesa in Extramadura chasing the acorn fed Iberian pig, and over 6 years since I was introduced to the jamon Iberico de bellota at the now defunct Santi restaurant! I would rank the shiokness of jamon iberico right up there with foie gras, wagyu, white truffles, carabinero prawns and uni, and the perfect meal will include all the above, with perhaps two slices of otoro. Those who are more astute might immediately realize that two of my all time favourite foods happen to come from Spain, which also means that Spanish food is one of my favourite cuisine!
Unfortunately, I haven’t eaten much Spanish food since I came back from Spain. There are a few Spanish places around which are quite good, but I have just never found a place with the right balance of quality, price and ambience. That used to be the case until a friend of mine insisted on bringing me to Pura Brasa.
Since my first meal there, I have been back thrice in the last month. There are few things I like about Pura Brasa. Firstly, the quality of the food is very good and it’s mostly cooked in a Josper charcoal oven. In case you aren’t familiar with the Josper, it is essentially an oven and a grill combined and heated entirely by charcoal. That means that the food will be grilled under intense heat which quickly seals in the juices while at the same time imparting it with that irresistible smokey flavour! The restaurant chain was started by Josper in 2011 to promote their ovens and this outlet in Singapore is their 7th and the first one outside of Spain.
I also like the laid back ambience which is conducive for meals with the extended family and gathering of friends. The dishes come in large portions and is supposed to be shared, so you get to try lots of different dishes. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, the prices are quite reasonable. The average spend per person without alcohol is around $40-$45 which makes it one of the more affordable places for Spanish food in Singapore.
We held our mid week makan here and the photos show some of the dishes we tried. The highlight of the meal was undoubtedly the secreto, which is a prized cut of the iberian pig that is well marbled and delicious. We had it as an off the menu item, but due to the response from our kakis, the boss, Dane Lim will be adding it to the menu soon! The secreto comes from the “armpit” of the pig, around the same region where our local butchers cut the “bu jian tian” which is excellent for charsiu. However, unlike the “bu jian tian“. the secreto is presented as a single flap of muscle. The Spanish chef, Luke would sous vide it for 10 hours before placing it in the Josper to give it as nice char and influse it with charcoal flavour. It is one of those things you bite into and time comes to a standstill while you savour the flavour and juiciness of the meat! 4.5/5
The pork belly was a bit of a surprise. It was also sou vide before being grilled in the Josper oven after which a sweet teriyaki sauce is applied. Sure, it is not traditional Spanish cuisine, but it is part of the Pura Brasa menu in Spain and it works very well! Most of our kakis describe it as being very similar to char siu! 4.5/5
We found the iberico pork ribs to be a little dry which was surprising since iberico pork is usually very well marbled. Aside from the pork belly, their other meats are usually minimally seasoned with a mix of salt, pepper and herbs because their principle is to preserve the natural flavour of the meat. The portions though, are very generous and the ribs are cut with a thick layer of meat still attached. 4/5
Their chicken wings on the other hands are seasoned the same way but are surprisingly juicy and really showcases the ability of the Josper oven to seal in the juices! 4.25/5 The other dish which I would always order are the grilled egg plant which are simply grilled till the flesh is soft and has taken on the smokey aroma of the charcoal. Simple but very delicious! 4.25/5
Finally, there is the seafood paella which is quite good. It too is cooked in the Josper oven. It isn’t cooked ala minute, as the rice is par boiled first and the sofritto has been prepared before hand. However, the rice texture is still very good and the paella is tasty. Not the best I have tried but, again, reasonably priced at $28 per dish. 4.25/5
Finally found a Spanish restaurant which you can enjoy quality Spanish food at family friendly prices! The Josper charcoal oven does wonders to the food, infusing it with that smokey charcoal flavour which everyone loves!