Spotlight Series – Bar.celona

Spotlight Series – Bar.celona

Quisine’s Spotlight Series takes an inside look at the food and beverage industry by speaking with the folks who know it best – restaurant owners, chefs and managers. This time around, we get the inside scoop on Bar.celona by talking to Sergey Apalkov, the managing director.

Bar.celona serves the Spanish wine cava and shakes up some original cocktails with cava as the main ingredient. The refreshing dry wine has a low sugar content and is produced in Catalonia.

Alongside cava, Bar.celona also serves up authentic Spanish tapas. To learn more about the tapas and cava bar, we asked managing director, Sergey Apalkov, a few questions.

What made you choose this line of work? What/Who inspires you?

We love sparkling wines. In Singapore, champagne is very expensive, especially in restaurants. We always knew that Spanish cava is a very high-quality sparkling wine made with the same technology as French champagne. However, it is much cheaper. We brought some samples from Spain to try and treat our friends. We were so impressed by the quality that we decided to open the CAVA-BAR.

What do you feel your restaurant adds to the city’s dining scene?

Our concept is very unique in that it is a CAVA-BAR in the very heart of heritage Singapore. You don’t pay for the prestige and brand in our bar. Instead, we serve great quality sparkling cava and prepare tasty and reasonably priced tapas in a cosy environment. Our aim was to make a sort of European corner in the heart of Singapore, with European values where taste and quality is more important than brand name and label.

What has been the biggest business challenge for your restaurant?

Our biggest challenge is paella. We tried to make it as authentic as possible, but not all our guests liked it, probably due to the fishy taste. Local customers love seafood rice but we would prefer not to offer it, because that can’t be labelled as an authentic paella. We even tried to make a quinoa paella, which had some success. Currently, we are considering how we can implement paella onto our menu again. And one further challenge; we are located on a relatively quiet side street and customers have to go almost to the end of Duxton Hill to find us.

Is there a dish on your menu that you’re most proud of and is there a story behind it?

Our main dish is cava. We import it from the famous La Xampanyeria, located in the heart of Barcelona. This particular bar has over 60 years of history and sells several thousand bottles of cava per month. It is one of the most visited bars in Barcelona and is included in many tourist guides.

Where do you see the future of dining out or the restaurant scene in general?

In the future we would like to have more kiosk-style CAVA-bars with ice cold cava and Spanish delights, like jamon, chorizo burgers, octopus, olives and anchovies. We’d like to see more small cosy places to spend time with friends without breaking the bank.