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El Sabio Tapas Bar and Restaurant @ Duxton Hill

10:31 PM , , , 0 Comments


Also under the same group that brought you L'Entrecote, here's El Salio that fits into the category of growing Spanish Tapas bars around. Admittedly, I'm no Spanish cuisine fan, partly from the lack of knowledge. Spanish food to me is limited to paella. No reservations are allowed, the same dining rule accorded to L'Entrecote. By the time we reached slightly shy of 7pm, the place was bustling with people. Packed to a brim, nearly. We grabbed the counter seats hoping for a change of seats towards the later part of the meal but it was impossible.

wall menu

Loved the handwritten black board.


Clipboard menus.


Liked the pigeonholes used to store wines.

the most popular

The famed leg of a pig that Salio is known for.

love the pink!

Gorgeously marinated but high risks involved when seated next to this. The server would be carving the leg right next to you with a sharp knife.

red sangria

What's Spanish without their signature Sangria? Comes in red and white, I headed for red and it came with a saucer of complimentary roasted potatoes and ham. Taking a jiggle and a gulp, Sangria was fruity enough to pass off as fruit punch.


Lovely flavours here - nicely sauteed potatoes meets salty ham cubes.


Sabio, I thought was off to a nice start.

stuffed squid

Shrimps-stuffed squid in the squid’s savoury black ink ($16)

Gave this a pass but the companions wiped it clean.


I'm no fan of chorizo but this was well-flavoured.


Sliced thinly and stir fried with onions, while I liked the was lacking in oomph. Nothing too spectacular.

potato omelette

Saw the couple across the table ordering and we had a go at it. Dense omelette with cubed potatoes, nothing wow either.

potatos with mayo

Fried potatoes with garlic-scented mayonnaise ($8)

If anything, this did not taste spanish...rather it can pass off as regular bar food. Fried potato wedges with mayo. Garlic was too faint to discern. However, it was one of the more delish plates for the night. 


Jamon Iberico ($14 per 50grams)

Ham sliced ala minute. This was the star, in its own league infact. I've never eaten ham this way before but it's chewy and meaty..with the layer of fats, sublime!


Salt cod with red capsicum ($18)

Highly recommended by past reviewers, I thought this was ordinary. Tastes better with the sweet capsicums, the cod was mildy salted. I would have expected a heavily marinated version. Disappointed I was by this point.


Chicken and seafood paella ($22)

Nothing can be more authentic and world renown next to Sangria than Paella. I expected a wicked interpretation of their national dish. Well, no. Mushy rice meets peas, chicken and seafood. Sounds boring?

Certainly was.

crunchy nougat

Turron suave ($6)

I caved in to dessert despite the many misses and yay for that - incredibly crunchy and absolutely awesome crunchy nut nougats! Three measly pieces but loved every bite of it.

Service was casual, the waiters are more than willing to make recommendations, with two of their owners making their rounds bantering with the crowd.

"Rule no. 1 in Salio playing of phones allowed." The headturner of the girlfriend was chided for whatsapp-ing. I wonder if the warmth and attention accorded was because of the gf or they are usually so warm.

Chalking up a bill that runs into hundreds is easy, $200 for 3 of us was pricey...too pricey to stomach infact. We're talking about tiny plates of food, not exactly my idea of dinner. I could have been better off with hearty Italian around the corner. It could be me and Spanish food that does not sync. The maddening crowds...I fail to understand, I can barely hear myself breathe much less hear what the companions had to say.

Worth a visit, to get the fuss but beyond that.

El Sabio Tapas Bar and Restaurant
5 Duxton Hill

A foodie born to eat, shop and travel. Forced to work.

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