Esquina Tapas Bar – Revisiting my favourite tapas joint

Roasted pork loin, salt-baked parsnips, pear, lardo, buttermilk and sorrel - S$33++

Roasted pork loin, salt-baked parsnips, pear, lardo, buttermilk and sorrel – S$33++

If you ask me what my favourite tapas restaurant is, that accolade goes to none other than Esquina. That statement is backed up by my many visits to the restaurant. Here’s three simple, but very true, reasons why I continue to patronize Esquina in spite of the many new tapas bars that have sprouted up (and shuttered) in recent years:

  • The dishes have never once disappointed;
  • The portions are perfect;
  • The prices are affordable considering the first 2 reasons.

I am not a dessert person but if there was a weak link in the line-up at Esquina, it would have to be the desserts. They were not bad in any way, in fact, smiles appeared while we were eating them. Before you place judgement on this humble author, I am by no means saying that the desserts should be changed, but after being brought up to the zenith with the appetizers and main courses, the desserts came across  being safe (read: boring)

I leave you with photographs of our meal a few months ago where we celebrated Christmas Eve.

JIN Fine Dining – Amoy Hotel (Far East Square)

Jin Fine Dining - Chirashi

Bara Chirashi – S$18++

In the last few weeks, I’ve been seeing photos of JIN Fine Dining appear on my Instagram and that got me interested in trying out this establishment. That’s the power of social media activation! Moreover, it’s a short 10 minute stroll from my office in Raffles Place.

Granted, most of the posts on Instagram were of what should be invited tasting sessions for their omakase dinners but the occasional mention of affordable chirashi sets being available for lunch was music to my ears stomach.

The Missing Pan – Bukit Timah

The Missing Pan Bukit Timah

A few months ago, I visited The Missing Pan along Bukit Timah Road. This was when photos of food coming out of this cafe’s kitchen were seen at least once during every weekend on Instagram.

A highly recommended dish by many, French Toast Salpicon (S$19++) came with chicken, spinach and mushroom stuffed inside the French toast, banana nuggets (think of it as goreng pisang or fried banana fritters served in nugget size), mixed berries and served with a serving of smoked maple syrup. P.S. this description was lifted from the menu.

The dish was interesting to say the least; a juxtaposition of savoury and sweet.

Sarnies Cafe – Coffee in CBD (Telok Ayer Street)

Flat White - Sarnies Cafe

Flat White (S$5.00+) 7% GST, but no service charge

If you’re looking for a cafe that’s not too packed yet serves up the perfect cuppa, look no further than Sarnies cafe.

First, it’s along Telok Ayer Street, right smack in the Central Business District. People who spend 5 days a week in the CBD would likely choose alternative venues (The Lokal Cafe along Neil Road is a sister cafe of Sarnies); second, it’s fairly ‘old’ in cafe-speak and third, there’s decent seating capacity (if the weather holds up and you don’t mind outdoor seating – they do have quite a number of seats outside).

Sin Lee Foods – Cafe at Bukit Ho Swee

Sin Lee Foods - Flat White (S$5.50)

Flat White (S$5.50)

Located at the foot of a HDB block in the Bukit Ho Swee estate is Sin Lee Foods. It is one of the newer entrants to the retro indie cafe scene in Singapore. But I’m not complaining. Sin Lee serves up pretty decent cups of coffee and its proximity to home makes it all the merrier.

The coffee, while nothing mind-blowing, is always served with a meticulously done up latte art. Perfect for Instagram. If memory serves, they use blends roasted by Papa Pahleta.

Una, Rochester Park – Tapas Bar


How does a restaurant stand out from amongst the crowd? One way, as UNA at One Rochester has, is to open a European restaurant that serves up dishes from 3 cuisines – French, Italian or Spanish. Whether it’s confusion or a show of creativity, that’s ultimately for the diner to decide. My take? I’m always game for choice!

To put things short, UNA Tapas Bar is the reincarnation of the old One Rochester. What has changed is its dining concept (gone with the communal dining, in with the small plates). Many restaurants have indeed gone down this path and I wonder, is the concept of small plates a phase in the development of Singapore’s culinary experience or one that is here to stay perpetually. 

Esquina Tapas Bar – Singapore’s Best Tapas Bar

IMG 4056 In this humble food blogger’s opinion, Esquina serves up Singapore’s best tapas. Yes, it isn’t exactly the cheapest; yes, it isn’t the set in the most idyllic setting (say, set against a backdrop of the blue ocean) but the high quality dishes that the ever-busy kitchen more than makes up for these negatives. This is probably my 4th time to Esquina and up till now, I’ve not once felt let down. There have been no instances where I thought dishes could have been better. What you get is a small restaurant, with about less than 20 seats at the bar counter facing the kitchen brigade full on, a few tables along the five-foot way. I’ve read that there is a second floor with a few more tables. But trust me, the best place to be at Esquina is to be seated on one of the bar stools facing the kitchen. Unfortunately, the bar seats were all occupied on this occasion.

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