If there were ever to be a perfect match between a song and a dining experience, it would have to be Barcelona by Ed Sheeran and FOC PIM PAM’s La Boqueria Market Brunch ($88 per pax, $128 for free flow premium drinks). Between the alluring display of tapas, caricatural effigies of Spanish figures, and improvised music, the festive vibes at this market-style dining concept had me “somewhere where the sun is shining bright”.
The venue has a market-meets-restaurant concept that incorporates a fusion of timber finishes and metal accents. Partition walls, display shelves, pillars and counter tops take on rounded corners and languid lines. The place just contains a sort of chirpy, humming energy that invigorates.
FOC PIM PAM’s La Boqueria Market Brunch is a newly introduced experience that is designed specifically to appeal to this atmosphere. On selected Sundays only, the place recreates the atmosphere of the buzzy La Boqueria market in Barcelona with ‘live’ stations featuring platters of salads, cheeses, cured meats, churros (because what Spanish platter would be complete without it).
The Patatas Bravas shows how inexpensive ingredients can be elevated to something complex and wonderful. Using a pasta machine, Agria potatoes are sliced into thin sheets, which are then layered and steamed, before being deep fried. Served with creamy Aioli and salsa brava, the end result has goes down easily with one of FOC’s Sangrias.
The Ibérico Cold Cuts Platter features three meats: Pork Loin ‘Lomo’, ‘Salchichón’ Sausage, and Chorizo. While all three are delightfully cured, the Pork Loin ‘Lomo’ particularly stands out because of its marbling, which melts delightfully on the palate to give a flavour reminiscent of the acorns that the pigs are fed on. And what goes nicely with cured meats? The board of cheeses right beside the cold cuts platter, of course.
They also offer an el Bulli creation which has since become a classic: Spherified Olives, which are globules that pop in the mouth, releasing an intense burst of olive flavour. FOC PIM PAM’s staff have considerately placed them on small tasting spoons lining the food stations so diners who need a little mouth-pleaser before making their way back to their tables.
By about 1.30pm, diners on the free flow premium drinks package would probably have had a tipple or two. Just as the trip down to the food stations might seem a bit of a chore, the brunch takes a boisterous turn with FOC PIM PAM’s Food Parade. The service staff begins parading different family-sized servings of dishes around tables, dishing out a plate or two of beef, fish and their signature suckling pig.
Their Market Fish was a welcome surprise. The sea bream fillet was firm but retained this moist, flaky texture which went well with the chunky tomato side, which was equal parts tart and sweet. The crunchy garlic flakes gave that contrast in texture that punctuated the substantial sea bream meat. The Market Beef was also a delectable treat – roasted in slabs, the meat is carved table-side to produce pink slices of bovine goodness.
The main spectacle, however, is definitely their Suckling Pig. It’s so tender that the waiter cuts the pig with a plate, the crispy crackling gives way to a substantial but not excessive layer of fat, and moist flesh. Even the serving of the pig is special: FOC’s staff line up in a procession of sorts, hitting plates with spoons (it sounds much better than on paper) while hoisting the porky piglets to each serving area. The mood lifts and things get a bit more festive, especially for diners who have previously been consumed by a calorific or alcoholic stupor. After dishing out rather large portions of the enjoyable pork, the waiter proceeds to throw the plate on the floor in a Spanish practice of warding off bad luck. Kind of a crowd-pleaser, but it definitely adds a unique twist to the whole experience. The staff clearly enjoy a bit of crockery destruction as well.
Considering that FOC PIM PAM goes through this plate shattering process a few times every Sunday, they are probably quite the lucky place by now.
442 Orchard Road #01-29, Singapore 238879. Tel: +65 6100 4242