Esquina: I concur

 photo d517528c-2707-431e-917c-7371bc6895ef_zpsa697d7ef.jpg

Esquina which means "the corner" in spanish sure has taken Singaporean foodies on a whirlwind journey with its raging publicity actions and the multiple accolades shrouding this hole-in-the-wall tapas joint. With the kitchen run by Jason Atherton, protege to Michelin starred chef Gordon Ramsey working together with acclaimed hotelier and restauranteur Loh Lik Peng (who directs New Majestic Hotel and Wanderlust); it's no wonder the place has managed to receive a massive overnight success.

Facts aside, Esquina does impress first-timers and regulars alike with it's funky,coveted and underground vibes. Steel bar stools fashioned from manhole covers and a gorgeous long open kitchen that surprisingly had the voice controls tightly modulated leave diners feeling exclusive, special for just being part of the dinner service. Littered with people from a particular walk of life, namely the high-fliers with their gorgeously tailored dresses and IWC Schaffhausen watches peeping out from the cuffs of their casual after-work wear; one can't help but feel a little intimidated. Still, the drifting smells arising from amidst the vigour in the kitchens worked wonders in heightening my anticipation for the works of art that lay ahead.

 photo 119dce58-30bf-411d-9746-97d0eef3335c_zpsefbc07bf.jpg

Ordered the Sangria ($13.50) as my first stop to the start of an indulgent meal. I was surprised by its innovative presentation. Wine with the berry foam siphoned on the top instead of the conventional cubes of fruits stirred in. A little too swanky for my liking in all honesty.

 photo 26fd8592-85ee-4a87-812a-8a9cca19c859_zpsb5bb0412.jpg

 photo b16c3a44-abeb-4dab-abcd-3b191510eb2b_zpsa5dd34b5.jpg

After perusing and scrutinising our panoply of choices off the menus, we decided on a few dishes that the both of us leaned towards. Squid, Gamabas and Chorizo Paella, Gremolata ($23), delicious in all its rights with the plump grains of rice laden full of savoury goodness from the stock it was cooked in, the pieces of seafood cooked to perfection; only spoiler had to be the proclamation from my dining companion that the paella from Bomba was much better (we'll leave that to another time).

 photo db6b8971-7935-4623-acd0-e420037dd802_zps69335278.jpg

Next up, the Roasted beef short rib, cauliflower and cumin cous cous, burnt cauliflower puree ($27) which apparently was a wrong order that got served up to our table. Note that service can be quite stodgy at Esquina, apart from the fantastic maitre'd that hosted us upon arrival; the rest of it can be a bit interspersed. Think repeated orders for a glass of chardonnay and 10 minute waits for menus... Returning back to the dish, this was technically a champion of a delivery. Fall off the bone short rib, the light dusting of dehydrated cauliflower and powdered cous cous providing a contrasting crunch to each tender bite. One of my favourites of the night. And despite the silent miscommunication of a blunder that occurred; we were not billed for the item nor approached by any of the staff regarding it. Not that I have any complaints about it...

 photo 08593182-7905-4d34-92c3-120fa80a17c3_zps28d4e0ac.jpg

Roast pork belly, bacon and onion dashi broth, coriander and prawn dumplings, seaweed salad ($26), a mediocre dish that combined the likes of one of favourite cuts of meat with the spring likeness of its broth. Love the smokiness of the bacon in the dashi broth, however I felt that the construction of the dish could have dealt better with a different choice of protein.

 photo 61884619-7e65-4467-b36b-4dff2d00a0e5_zpsb43a4ee3.jpg

Salt & Pepper Squid with Black Ink Aioli ($17), from first looks, a pretty impressive staple to have at the Esquina, they've got the frying techniques down, however, the black ink aioli tasted pretty much like any regular aioli except for the mysterious black that had muddled it's creamy core. Not a dish I would go for since I feel it's regularity is not worth the exquisite price tag. A dish I would recommend however is the elusive Spanish breakfast ($16), slow cooked egg, bravas sauce tossed with crisp potatoes and a shard of crispy iberico ham. the amalgam of flavors and textures with contrasting serving temperatures made for one orgasmic experience and I was left speechless and preciously concurred towards the success of the Esquina solely based on the performance of its food after this dish.

We left the establishment a $150.35 poorer after the meal. I suppose a poor pastry chef like me can't afford dining experiences like this very often but still, once in a while won't hurt.

Esquina Tapas Bar
16 Jiak Chuan Lane
(No Reservations)
Weekdays: 12pm - 3pm | 6pm - 11pm
Sat: 6pm - 11pm

1 comment:

SingaporeMemoryProject said...

Dear Lee Sihan,

On behalf of the National Library Board (NLB), we would like to invite you to pledge your blog to the Singapore Memory Project as part of efforts to collect memories that are already manifested in existing online channels.

The Singapore Memory Project (SMP) is a national initiative to collect, preserve and provide access to Singapore’s knowledge materials. Spearheaded by NLB, the SMP aims to build a national collection of content in diverse formats (including print, audio and video), to preserve them in digital form, and make them available for discovery and research.

By pledging your blog to SMP, you are affirming that every memory matters. Whether your posts are an account of your daily life, or an expression of your thoughts, the SMP hopes to find a home for your memories so that it can help build towards an understanding of Singapore. You will also receive a badge that you can display on your blog in recognition of your contributions.

Contributors to this blog pledging initiative will be listed on Singapore Memory portal’s blog pledging webpage. All blogs pledged to SMP will archived using NLB’s web harvesting software, in addition to images of each blog’s landing page.

If you are keen to pledge your blog to SMP, simply fill up our response form at this following URL:

You may find out more about this initiative at

We are looking forward to your contribution. Do also let your fellow bloggers know about this initiative. They can pledge via the URL above.

|Simulation Software & Technology (S2T) Pte Ltd 583 Orchard Road #14-02 Forum The Shopping Mall S(238884) w: