Go on a mini-holiday to the Basque Country at the rebranded Alkaff Mansion
Formerly occupied by an Italian restaurant, the gorgeous building is now a multi-lifestyle destination comprising Basque restaurant UNA, Wildseed Cafe, and Singapore's first and only pintxos bar, TXA (pronounced 'cha').
There’s reason to head to The Alkaff Mansion once again, now that the two-storey, Tudor-style building has reopened its doors under new management, 1-Group. It may not house the same Italian restaurant (which shuttered in 2016), but it has been converted into a lavish lifestyle destination celebrating all things Basque.
Nothing represents the Spanish region’s food culture more than the quintessential pintxos or small snacks typically served with drinks, which you’ll find at TXA, Singapore’s first and only pintxos bar, and the rebranded UNA, previously located at One Rochester and now a true-blue Basque restaurant.
In keeping with the Basque spirit, the team at The Alkaff Mansion have partnered with Basqvium, the so-called guardians of Basque cuisine in and outside Spain, and have set up the Spanish Cuisine Development Group. Members include Basque chefs Marta Elvira Segales and Silvana Pascual Romero, Tom Kung, head chef of UNA, and Sujatha Asokan, the World Gourmet Summit’s Rising Chef of The Year 2019.
They’ve gone to great lengths to ensure you get the same experience here as having a delicious meal in cities like Bilbao or San Sebastian by bringing in rare Basque wines and tipples and dishing out Basque favourites using Basque produce where possible.
It’s easy to immerse yourself in this vibrant culture by having a few drinks at the bar, located on the first floor. If the weather is unforgiving, choose to sit inside and revel in the gorgeous space that has an expansive pintxo bar counter in the middle. Otherwise, park yourself at the outdoor area while having a cocktail, ice cold beer, wine or cider along with small plates.
The second level is dedicated to the restaurant, arguably the most romantic place in the mansion with its ebony-hued timbers, contemporary lighting fixtures that bathe the interiors in warm yellow light, and a view overlooking the lush greenery in Telok Blangah.
Here, you’ll find chef Kung dishing out popular favourites, among which are fideua de calamares (squid ink Spanish noodles with crispy calamari); pulpo a la parrilla con papas arrugadas y mojo (grilled octopus with baby potatoes and a coriander and paprika sauce); and cochinillo asado (Spanish crispy roasted suckling pig).
Before you leave the premises, make the Wildseed Cafe on the ground level your final stop. This is an extension of the original outlet at The Summerhouse, offering all-day dining pastries and cakes crafted by executive pastry chef Jasmin Chew. Have them at the quaint cafe, or better yet, bring home some treats to share.
A version of this story first appeared on Singapore Tatler.