The best Latin American dishes, set in one of Changi Airport’s best locations

SINGAPORE (Feb 28): New Latin American themed eatery Tonito at Jewel Changi lets you sample the best dishes the regions of Mexico, Peru, Brazil, Cuba and Argentina have to offer. It prides itself as a family friendly haven but one of the best things about this place is the view — the terrace looks out to a valley of trees, in full view of the majestic waterfall (the world’s tallest indoor waterfall, by the way) at Jewel Changi Airport.

That aside, what will really have you raving here is the food. And as the man in charge will tell you, there are a lot of styles to choose from.

Main image: Tonito’s terrace looks out to a full view of the waterfall at Jewel Changi Airport

“Latin America consists of over 30 different countries of mixed cultures and identities. At Tonito we are starting with the most popular Latino cuisines (like) Mexican and Peruvian, because we want to introduce family-friendly comfort food that local diners can relate to,” explains Daniel Chavez, who helms Ola Kitchen Group. The group currently owns and manages three dining concepts – Spanish restaurant Ola Cocina Del Mar, the Peruvian themed eatery Tono Cevicheria and Tonito Latin American Kitchen.

The food at Tonito is created by Peruvian chef Chavez alongside a team of local talents he nicknamed ‘The Youngs’ (actually young chefs he’s groomed, most of whom are graduates from At-Sunrice GlobalChef Academy). The recipes for the dishes here are a reflection of Chavez’s experience during his travels around the Latin America region.

Recently, Tonito launched a specially crafted selection of new plates that highlights the unique flavours of the individual Latin American countries. You will be able to try traditional dishes that you have never heard of (and probably will have trouble pronouncing) alongside favourites like tacos, fajitas, burritos and nachos.

Seafood lovers are in for a treat with this ceviche dish

For starters, we recommend a serving of ceviche (a seafood dish that is typically made from fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices and spiced with peppers and seasoning). Seafood lovers will love it here: The restaurant’s rendition of Mexican Ceviche ($28) —a mix of fresh octopus, Japanese baby scallops and crab meat with tomato salsa, lime, avocado and crispy corn tortilla — is highly recommended.

The Latino Seafood Rice combines crabmeat, white wine, dried chilli sauce, parmesan cheese and tomatoes with crispy fish, calamari and prawns

Rice dishes — a staple of the Latin American diet — also gets a showcase here. The Latino Seafood Rice ($32) was a delectable combination of crabmeat, white wine, dried chilli sauce, parmesan cheese and tomatoes mixed into the rice and served with crispy fish, calamari and prawns. It was a hearty and comforting dish, made sweeter by the addition of crabmeat.

This Barramundi fish is cooked in a rich coconut gravy and served with a side fragrant garlic rice

Meanwhile, the Fish Moqueca ($26) — a traditional Brazilian fish stew prepared with rich coconut milk —features a tangy gravy made with tomatoes and peppers that packs a mildly spicy kick while the sustainably sourced Barramundi fish was sweet and fresh. This comes with steaming hot and fragrant garlic rice, which was the perfect accompaniment.

You can be sure to find Latin perennial favourites, such as Tacos

The restaurant also does quintessential Mexican favourites right. For example, the Taco Mexicanos (from $16) comes in four flavours – crisp and flakey fish; pork and juicy chorizo; beef with smoked chili mayo and chicken with adobo sauce. Meanwhile, the Mexican Quesadillas (from $12), features crisp corn flour tortillas that come in a choice of chicken, crunchy pork belly chicharrón, beef a la plancha or corn for the vegetarians out there. For those who prefer sharing, order some tapas to share such as Nachos with Guacamole ($10), Chilli Con Carne ($10) or Jalea ($26).

To end your meal, order the traditional dessert Tres Leches ($8), which literally means three types of milk in Spanish. This moist coconut sponge cake is soaked in three kinds of milk – evaporated, condensed and heavy cream – and then topped with pineapple compote for a sweet and sour finish and some crispy coconut flakes for that extra crunch.