It is the up and coming.
It is the current and in fashion.
It is the Tapas.
Tapas. For those are aren’t a veteran in Tapas, they are small Spanish savory dishes, commonly savored with a drink at the bar. Yes, now it sounds familiar, doesn’t it. You do just that very often. Letting your hair down over a drink at a local bar, having a man’s talk or gossip sessions alike. And those small bites as supper, or as foundation in your stomach for those hard liquors you are about to down. Yes, those, Tapas.
The Chef behind 1 Rochester and 1-Twenty Six (under the One Rochester Group) recently launched their Tapas Menu at the latter. Specially crafted for sharing amongst your dining companions, you are treated to a meal where you have a reason to order a couple of different Tapas to try. Having 8 different Tapas platter, diners would surely have something suitable for their palate, not forgetting the sides they offer as well.
Granted, the location isn’t the most accessible. If you have someone in your party who drives, 1-Twenty Six is the place to chill, drink, and nibble. Located within East Coast Park itself, it is just about one of the restaurants sitting within closest proximity to the beach. With the right spot in the restaurant, you are able to feel the sea breeze in the starry night, and within sight of the waves. Now tell me this isn’t ideal.
Tapas Platter ($42++) :: Serving at least 3 persons, this signature Tapas Platter consists of Salt & Pepper Squid, Gambas Pil Pil (it means prawns with pil pil sauce – basically comprising of oil, red chilli and garlic), Potatoes Bravas (white potatoes fried in oil), Spicy Meatball, and Chorizo with Garbanzo Bean & Rustic Bread (spicy Spanish pork sausage). I’d call dips on the Chorizo if I were to head back and order this platter. Notwithstanding that, the rest of the items were satisfying too.
Charcuterie Platter ($28++) :: Fans of cold platters (like yours truly), here’s a Tapas (ohmygee) with just that, Jamón Serrano (dry-cured Spanish ham), prosciutto de parma and Cotechino sausages (Italian pork sausage). Paired with a glass of wine, or whatever you are there for, it’s quite the heavenly, don’t you think?
126 Sliders (Mini Burgers) ($42++) :: Look at the patty. No, that isn’t the best. The best is what contains it – the burger bun. I just dig burger buns that are slightly over toasted, giving the subtle crispy when bitten. And, slightly flavored. Best. All patties are that of beef, though, be warned. A third of them comes with foie gras, another third comes with cheese, tomato and bacon, and the rest comes with tomato jam, crispy French bean and rocket. Oh, complete with truffle fries (ooohhlala). No, thankfully it’s not ‘each sold separately’.
Poultry Platter ($52++) :: Non-beef and pork meat lovers, this platter is plausibly customized for you. With quite a commendable portion of Roasted Baby Chicken, Duck Leg Confit, and Honey Grilled Quail, this can almost substitute as your skipped dinner. The Duck Leg Confit was my favorite. The Quail caught most people’s attention, this rare piece of meat, one that you don’t really see in the everyday restaurants / cafes.
Meat Platter ($68++) :: And this, is for the other breed of meat lovers, the one who eats everything. Beef. Pork. Its Grilled Beef of Rib Eye, Snail Sausage and Pork Belly was accompanied with baked vegetables and mashed potatoes, of which, have gotten endless compliments from all over the table, hailing it as one of the best mashed potatoes. Probably the most sinful platter, but most gratifying.
Salt & Pepper Calamari ($18++) :: Possibly the best calamari (sashimi style) I’ve had. People have no idea my love for the plain and simple (p&s), pepper and salt (p&s) (see what I did there). It’s so uncomplicated yet expresses the best flavors.
Besides serving one of the best food (Tapas) in town, they also serve their clients pretty well. Though not concrete, and might not even go through, the management is actually thinking of having Mix-Your-Own-Cocktail/Mocktail sessions for diners. Blue, red, yellow, green. Sour or sweet, highball glass, cocktail glass, it’s all in your hands, literally. Watch the space. Who knows whether they will commission this session.
They also have this ultimate bragging rights. Because East Coast Park is under NParks, smoking is actually prohibited all around. But if you are dying to have a puff, 1-Twenty Six’s bar is the only legalized area to smoke – head over there!
Next best thing – the restaurant’s resident band, EJS. They perform every Friday, 7.30pm onwards. They are, in no exaggeration, the best local band I’ve seen. Man, they can hit the notes, sing the hardest songs, and still sound, so, damn, good. I would go there just for the good live music. Of course, the usual song dedications are taken. Just alert their friendly waitpersons.
Speaking of which, service is under the watch of Amin Adam, Assistant Group Dining Manager. Be assured that your evening will be turned around by this gentleman. He’s outspoken and daring to interact. If you’re there for a wild time, he can aid you in just that.
By far, one of my favorite hangout places.
Special gratitude to Immelia and the One Rochester team for the hospitality and hosting the invited tasting.
Address: 902 East Coast Parkway, #01-26, Playground @ Big Splash
Telephone: 6348 2126
Opening Hours: 11am – 12am (Mon – Tue); 11am – 1am (Wed – Thurs); 10.30am – 3am (Fri – Sun)
Photos by Yee Meng.