It really does feel like the Spanish invasion, what with new tapas joints opening almost every week including recent arrivals Binomio and East 8. Located along Tanjong Pagar Road amid Korean eateries galore, Kaixo’s a cozy, unassuming 30-seater decked out in shades of pale gray with weathered-looking wooden tables and simple black chairs and bar stools.
In the kitchen is Le Cordon Bleu alum Issachar Lee who cut his teeth at Michelin-starred establishments such as San Sebastian’s Restaurant Martin Berasategui and where he’s drawn inspiration with a Basque-inspired menu including a changing selection of pintxos (from $12 for three)—pronounced pin-chos—one of their specialties that’s displayed in a glass case on the bar counter. It’s the perfect snack to accompany a cold glass, or two, of Stella on tap ($10/half pint) which they’ve got a sweet one-for-one deal on all-day everyday; highlights include a well-balanced tuna, sweet piquillo pepper and briny black tapenade combo, both served on a slice of crisp bread.
Also worth a go is a classic Spanish omelet with potatoes ($12) and sous vide organic egg with burdock chips, jamon and chicken broth ($12). While you might be tempted to pass on their specials, don’t. On separate visits, we sampled standouts like an unctuous barley risotto with button mushrooms ($18) and an understated triumph: pear and buffalo mozzarella, uplifted with lime zest and orange vinaigrette. Admittedly, service can be a bit patchy, but it’s a firm contender on the tapas front, and not too pricey, either.