December 30, 2016
Calling all Tapas lovers! If you’re looking for a modern Spanish restaurant that specialises in contemporary cuisine, Esquina is your best bet. If you’ve been here before, you would probably agree with me when I say that the mixture of Spanish and Catalan flavours brought out by their tapas are the very definition of love at first bite.
In conjunction with their 5th anniversary, the culinary team at Esquina has put together a special 5-course tasting menu, showcasing hit creations by Chef Carlos Montobbio from the restaurant’s a la carte menu. With a scrumptious selection of tapas, guests can indulge in the full experience of Esquina’s culinary best.
Hidden along Jiak Chuan street, this charming two-storey restaurant features an open kitchen and 16-seater bar counter on the ground floor.
Guests who choose to sit by the bar are in for a real treat as they get to watch the chefs as they prepare and garnish the dishes before serving them.
For those who prefer not to sit near the fumes of the open kitchen, head up to the second floor which offers a more tranquil setting. With an equally quaint style, this would be the perfect space for larger gatherings and family meals.
As a snack to start, we had the Spanish Nigiri which has a rich Mediterranean flavour and a Japanese flair in the presentation. Resembling sushi, a strip of roasted bell pepper is draped over an emulsion of salted cod and velvety potatoes that are infused with olive oil. The creamy and soft texture of the nigiri immediately won me over.
Another alternative for a snack is the fresh Tsarskaya Oyster with salmon roe. Unlike the conventional oyster, it has a Japanese inspired flavour that comes from the jalapeno ponzu and pickled ginger flower. Compared to the Irish oyster, it is notably creamier and not as sweet on the palate.
Following that, we had the Chorizo Croqueta topped with a sweet piquillo pepper that is roasted and blended with mayonnaise. Have it while it’s still piping hot and the combination of the crunchy exterior coupled with the chorizo filling that oozes in your mouth will simply blow your mind.
Even if you’re not fond of greens, you might actually change your mind when you sample the Grilled Sucrine Lettuce. Charred to perfection, the sweet tasting lettuce produces a smoky hit that is perfect when dipped in the herb yoghurt and cider vinegar glaze. To add an extra crunch, macadamia nuts are served to accompany the dish.
One of my personal favourites would have to be the Grilled Spanish Octopus. The thick octopus tentacle was grilled such that it retained a chewy texture and a delicious charred flavour. Accompanied by Jerusalem artichoke puree, burnt onions and bacon oil, you can really taste the distinct flavours of each ingredient.
Served on a heated plate, the Braised Beef & Pork Cannelloni was a great dish to end the savoury segment of the tasting menu. Comprising foie gras, cepes bechamel and black truffle, the strong flavours really do spread throughout your mouth as you savour the dish.
The “BBC” is honestly one of the best desserts we’ve had the pleasure of tasting. The combination of beer ice cream served on a bed of banana textures and drizzled in a warm caramel sauce is truly amazing.
Everything went so well together- from the sweet caramel sauce to the mushy banana bits and the slight bitterness of the stout that lingers in your mouth from the beer ice cream.
Last but not least, we had what they simply call Bread, which is essentially chocolate served on a thin slice of crisp bread that has been doused in olive oil and sea salt. The unusual sweet and salty combination made for a simple yet satisfying end to the meal.
Known for strong flavours and sophisticated food platings, Esquina is certainly a tapas bar that is guaranteed to leave you feeling content. Not only is the tapas unique to the restaurant but the dishes are also filled with gastronomic creativity that extends beyond traditional Spanish cuisine.
Do bear in mind that this tasting menu is only available until the 31st of January 2017 (Mondays to Thursdays). So clear your calendars and pop by the restaurant to treat yourself to this sensational culinary experience.
After that, the seasonal menu might be subject to change depending on the market availability of the fresh produce that they use.
Expected damage: $55++ per pax