Sabio By The Sea

First thing first, this place definitely has a really nice ambience. The whole Quayside Isle exudes a chill relaxed vibe, that coupled with a nice cool night, can allow us to imagine we are not in Singapore. And the face that more than 50% of the people there are Caucasians doesn't hurt that vibe. However, without a car it will be quite difficult to get in, unless of course your yacht is berthed there or you stay at Sentosa Cove/W Hotel/W residences. Anyways, regarding the restaurant the open concept is inviting and very well ventilated (a cool night is important, and I'd imagine the day being too sunny/humid). They have a fair range of tapas (hot/cold), jambons y chorizos, Josper grill items and paella. The red sangria was light but boring, lacked that distinctively fruity-claret taste - somewhere between sweet, bitter, sour - to be memorable. The salted cod tapas was soft and flakes beautifully under the fork, but they weren't kidding about the "salted" bit. The scallops were fresh but the pepper sauce was overpowering the natural sweetness of the bivalve. The lamb cutlet was done well - as in medium - and other than it taste like lamb, not much else to complain about. The bone marrow was a generous serving and served hot with a tiny baguette slice without a spoon, so you had to dig that gooey, yummy insides out with your fork. The marrow was well seasoned on the surface, but however the flavour did not permeate into the interior, so the whole thing just did not taste as good as it could. The smoke of the Josper grill too was very superficial. Then came the small paella negra - squid ink paella with seafood - which was meant for 1-2 persons to share, but one hungry, average person could wipe it off. The rice was well cooked, with a good consistency that is rare to find in paella in Singapore. However, it was seasoned with capers and some herbs that did go as well with the distinctive squid ink taste. The clams and mussels here were nothing to shout about, nor was the squid. But the good thing about the paella was that the squid ink taste was not overpowering. Desserts: the piƱa asada was a disappointment, too sweet and too wet. perhaps I was expecting something closer to the Brazilian versions where the pineapples were roasted till slightly dry but developed a crispy caramelised outer layer and then sprinkled with cinammon. Here, it was just pineapple chunks soaked in caramelised syrup. The salted salted caramel lava cake was also boring. The cake was tough and rubbery, and the caramel was too viscous to fully appreciate the taste with the cake. Both desserts were served with vanilla ice-cream (likely from Ben & Jerry's). Service was mediocre. The manager/supervisor could not be bothered much with us, service was abrupt with wait staff just suddenly barging in with water/plates, utensils had to be asked for, plates changing had to be requested. No secondary plates for shells, so I just chucked them on the table. The restaurant only has 1 toilet and if you want to wait for it, the whole restaurant can see you waiting. You are better off just walking out of the restaurant to the lift lobby and use the public restaurant. Having said all that, the price is not unreasonable, and definitely a part of it goes to the ambience. Sadly, the 10% service charge is not very deserving.

Update (18 May 2013): Came back for brunch, and wasn't really impressed for the price. The bread basket came with 3 types: chocolate croissant, plain croissant and baguette, which was nothing to shout about. Came with a small jar of strawberry jam and a small serving of yogurt. No butter unless you asked. The 120g ribeye was mediocre. The sauce was tasty but unfortunately the beef itself was too lean and boring. The OJ was really fresh but the cappuccino was straight off Nespresso. Service, similar as before, is barely passable. For $35+++ it was not that worth the money although the ambience, by the sea, was good. 

Verdict: Even if it was not in Sentosa, it wouldn't be a place that I would come back to often unless a tapas/spanish craving calls.


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