Esquina Tapas Bar

Esquina 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.
IMG 4046 White asparagus, citrus butter sauce, samphire (S$21++) Utter the words, ‘White asparagus’ and the thoughts of having a poached egg served on top of them comes to mind. That would have been a safe choice, but Esquina does away with tradition. Instead, the white asparagus is served with samphire ( see Wikipedia ) with a drizzle citrus butter sauce. The white asparagus were cooked perfectly and every element of the dish gels together in unison. Special mention goes to the simple sauce which worked well to accentuate the natural sweetness of the asparagus. IMG 4066 If you asked me which dish stole the night, that dish had to be the Georges Bank Seared Scallops served with Duck Green Curry, Coconut Rice and Peanut crumbs (S$35++). The seared scallops were textbook perfect. Slightly translucent in the middle, yet not overcooked on the exterior. The green curry surprisingly accompanied the scallops really well. Think traditional Thai Green Curry packed with less heat but with more concentrated flavors and you should be able to get a mental picture of what the dish entails. The fluffy coconut rice was a befitting carbohydrate choice too. IMG 4111 The Confit Squid & Chorizo Paella with sautéed Gambas Prawns and Black Fennel (S$31++) was our last savory dish. Unfortunately, it was less inventive and innovative as the previous two choices, both in terms of cooking techniques and flavor combinations. That said and done, it was executed to-the-letter and the there was nothing to fault it over. IMG 4129 Dessert was great! The photograph certainly does not do justice to the Chocolate Mousse, Chocolate Soil, Blackberry Gel and Vanilla Churros. Readers of my blog would know that I am not a fan of desserts in general, but Esquina has won me over with this dish. First up, contrary to its appearance, it wasn’t one bit sweet. Instead, bitter chocolate was used in the mousse and chocolate soil, which paired well with the tart blackberry gel. But if you’re an ardent supporter of having sugar in your desserts, the vanilla churros adds that element to the dish. But that said, unlike other cafes, the churros did not come across as being exceedingly sweet. Food – 9 / 10 stars Drinks – *Unrated* / 10 stars (We had iced water) Ambience – 7.5 / 10 stars Esquina Tapas Bar 6 Jiak Chuan Road Singapore 089267 Tel: +65 6222 1616 Operating Hours: Tuesdays to Fridays: 12pm to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm Saturdays: 6pm to 10.30pm Closed on Sundays & Mondays Executive Chef: Andrew Walsh Culinary Director: Jason Atherton (formerly of Maze, Pollen and London-based Pollen Street Social) Owner: Loh Lik Peng, Singapore hotelier and restaurateur (including, but not limited to, Hotel 1929, New Majestic Hotel and Wanderlust)


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