Sunday, October 01, 2006

De Los Santos

I went to De Los Santos on Saturday to try some Spanish food. The website looked very enticing with the recipes listed so was really looking forward to it.

When we first arrived there, the restaurant was very empty and we had some trepidation about going in. Generally an empty restaurant on a Saturday night means it's not too good. However, we decided to go in and more people started to arrive soon after. The room had very high ceiling painted red and the surroundings were comfortable. I'm not so sure about the funky red vinyl covered plastic chairs though. The vinyl didn't quite stretch the whole way, so when you lent back on the chair, you couldn't feel the back of the chair and was stopped by the vinyl. Apart from that, plates, cutlery and cups were all clean and not scratched. One of my pet hates is really scratched up glass cups that just look unclean.

De Los Santos Interior

For dinner, got got tapas and mains and shared as usual. We ordered the following dishes:

Veal and Pork Meatballs
Above: Albondigas - veal and pork meatballs in a rich caramelised salsa

The veal and pork meatballs tasted like regular meatballs in tomato sauce. There wasn't anything particularly different about the flavourings.

Above: Chorizo - grilled spiced pork sausage with a sherry and eschalot vinaigrette

I was expecting a lot from the famous Spanish chorizo but must say I was not fully satisfied. The sausages were extremely salty and lacked a real character.

Spiced Chicken Balls
Above: Pollo y Arroz con Fritas - spiced chicken and rice balls with saffron aioli

The spiced chicken balls tasted a lot like other rice balls I've had. The texture was a bit mushy and even the saffron aioli lacked flavour.

Above: Jamon - sliced jamon with a piquant salsa, Spanish extra Virgin olive oil and sourdough bread

I liked the jamon, it tasted like a milder version of proscuitto. The salsa worked well with its slighty sour flavours.

Cured Salmon
Above: Salmon - vodka and sugar cured salmon with a citrus and horseradish creme fraiche and caviar

The salmon tasted like a dulled down version of smoked salmon. It lacked any flavour of salmon and I couldn't taste the vodka or sugar flavours at all.

Twice Coooked Pork
Above: Panza de Cerdo - twice cooked caramelised pork belly with a warm spiced lentil adn green bean braise

I liked the twice cooked pork, it tasted a bit like Chinese roast pig, but with slightly chewier skin. The lentil salad went well with the pork with the tangy sauce.

Above: Paella con Pollo y Pato - mixed meat paella with chicken, duck, chorizo and a salsa verde

We decide against the usual seafood paella and tried this one. This paella was ok but not great. The rice was too soggy. The duck was just pan fried but not enough so the skin wasn't crispy. The chorizo on this paella was better than the tapas chorizo that we ordered.

So far in the meal, we all unanimously agreed that it was ok, but just couldn't match the great dining experience that we had at Movida Spanish restaurant a month earlier. If I hadn't gone to Movida before and came here first, I would say that it was ok. But having been to Movida, everything here lacked that special "pazazz" and tasted rather bland to be honest. However, I said that De Los Santos could still redeem itself if the desserts were great, since I'm such a sucker for desserts.

Coffee Soaked Dates
Above: Coffee Poached Dates - with hazelnut toffee and muscat custard

I liked the date soaked in coffee, it gave them a very interesting flavour. The toffee were ok and the custard lacked flavour.

Creme Caramel
Above: Flan - Spanish creme caramel with citrus and spiced red wine glaze

The flan texture was quite bad actually and I didn't much care for the flavour either.

Chocolate Pudding
Above: Budin de chocolate - chocolate and espresso pudding with rum and raisin ice cream

The rum and raising ice cream (my favourite type of any ice cream) was good, but again lacked more flavour. The pudding texture was good and went well with the chocolate sauce.

Spanish Doughnuts
Above: Rosquillas - Spanish doughnuts with chocolate parfait and Seville orange sauce

The doughnuts were quite crumbly and didn't work for me. I did like the chocolate parfait and eaten together with the doughnuts, helped moisten the doughnuts. However, the whole dish was ruined by the extremely bitter orange sauce.

The desserts did not redeem this restaurant in my eyes. Their flan is like supermarket quality while Movida's was truly unforgettable, a definite must have the next time I go back there. Their pudding was ordinary while Movida's chocolate ganache pudding was truly magnificant. Their ice cream was again normal, while Movida's was different and great.

So what are my overall summation of the place. I think that everything was done ok but nothing stood out. There wasn't anything that I would go "wow" and must eat again. If I hadn't been to Movida previously, I would rate this place fairly highly. The pricing is good, it's definitely cheaper than Movida, service was good but lacking a little in atmosphere. However, I have been to Movida and this place is just a very cheap imitation. All night, the most uttered words were "At Movida.....". Everyone just kept comparing every dish to Movida and reminiscing about how good that place was. The food there may be slightly more expensive, but it was all done so well that I will be going there for my Spanish food in future.

Overall Rating: 11/20, Food and service ok but just lacking anything special. I just kept comparing it to Movida and it was well and truly beaten. Despite the great sounding menu, not a single dish here lived up to expectations and was a standout that would differentiate it from Movida.

Scores: 1-9: Unacceptable, don't bother. 10-11: Just OK,some shortcomings. 12: Fair. 13: Getting there. 14: Recommended. 15: Good. 16: Really good. 17: Truly excellent. 18: An outstanding experience. 19-20: Approaching perfection, Victoria's best.


  1. OOOH the salmon looks goood!

  2. It was ok but lacked any real flavour. Regular smoked salmon tasted better.

  3. Hi Thanh,

    I know it's an old post, but visited De Los Santos the other day and also thought it was rather ordinary.

    If you're a fan of seafood paella, you should try Bolero's in Warrandyte:

    1&2 / 188 Yarra St Warrandyte VIC 3113
    Phone: (03) 9844 2271
    Open: lunch Sunday only from 12pm, dinner Wednesday-Monday; closed Tuesday

    Thanks for the blogging!!!!


  4. Sam, I love seafood paella. Thanks for the suggestion. I shall try Bolero's if I'm ever heading out that way.

    Thanks for reading.