If Jean-Philippe Patruno had his way, he would serve up croquetas made of lamb brains (an AVA-restricted import) at Dehesa, his very first restaurant venture where he presides as both chef and owner. Watching him sear lamb hearts in his open kitchen, it is clear that Patruno is at ease with turning offal into plates of pleasure. After all, the Spanish-Italian chef is no stranger to off-cuts. During his stint as Head Chef at Quo Vadis in London, he awakened the jaded palate of the cynical Londoner to the marvels of nose-to-tail dining.
He might have sharpened his knives at London's famed 23-seater Barrafina and dabbled with his Spanish leanings at Bomba Paella Bar and Una in Singapore, but with Dehesa, he's reviving his love for offal in a menu that reads like an episode of Fear Factor. There's ox hearts, pig ears, and lamb sweetbreads — dishes that are not there to serve as culinary dares, but rather proof that off-cuts can be transformed into something worthy of your calorie count.
For the uninitiated, the Dehesa platter of cold meats is a good place to start. Duck hearts on toast has proven to be a popular favourite at this four-week-old restaurant. The duck hearts are swiftly pan-fried in a wine reduction before the remaining liquid is used to create the flavourful sauce that accompanies this dish. There's frit mallorquin too, a classic Majorcan dish that features morsels of lamb liver, kidney, heart, and lungs, all served alongside silky potato purée. If you're not into offal, the seafood dishes will keep you well sated. Stopping by for lunch? Order up the wet seafood rice (a soupier version of paella) topped with prawns, mussels, and clams sourced from Pulau Ubin.
For dessert, you'll find a classic caramel flan infused with lardo (don't tell your cardiologist), turning it into an incredibly rich treat. Patruno ups the flavour stakes even further by topping the silky flan with crisp slices pancetta.
Dehesa. 12 North Canal Road. Tel: 6221 7790