Singapore | Esquina, by Jason Atherton
Esquina, leaded by the Michelin star Chef Jason Atherton, the protégé of celebrity chef Gordon Ramsay, serves modern Spanish tapas in culturally-rich Chinatown . Inspired by the colourful tapas bars found in Spain, Esquina provides visitors to the with an added choice of European cuisine to the ethnic enclave.
Came for: Sea urchin & crab bisque, Mini Spanish Breakfast, Esquina Tiramisu
Chef Jason Atherton is the man behind restaurants such as London’s Pollen Street Social (winner of Best New Fine Dining restaurant in TimeOut London’s 2011 Eating Awards) and Shanghai’s Table No.1 (awarded five stars by TimeOut Shanghai).
The setting of Esquina reminds me of another Jason's restaurant in Shanghai - the Commune Social, which is also a modern tapas bar with a semi-open kitchen and bar sitting. The menu looks similar as well - indeed the home feeling.
Esquina offers weekday business lunches as affordable prices: 2-course at $35++ or 3-course at $45++. The a la carte menu is also available during lunch time. Dinner is served from Monday through Saturday, diners can choose either the a la carte menu or go with the 9-courses tasting menu ($130++). For late-nighters, a 3-course Supperculb Menu comes with signauture Canapés is well-priced at $95++.
We two decided to go with 3-course lunch sets($45++) and some a la carte items.
Start with some Warm thyme & onion bread, smoked bone marrow butter - the browned-toasted bread was nicely spread with housemade thyme & onion dressing, warm and crispy. The smoked bone marrow butter on the side was very special and tastes really good.
Modern & Classic Sangria ($14) is the signature award-wining drink at Esquina, which is made of mixed fruits into the red wine. Topped with a sangria foam - showcasing an element of modern culinary technique.
Oyster Vietnamese ($8/each) was very fresh, the Vietnamese-inspired dressing has a lovely sweet and spicy twist, which is very refreshing.
Esquina’s signature Mini Spanish Breakfast ($10/each) is definitely a must-try. Inside the topless eggshells nesting hay is a warm mushroom purée topped with potato espuma, a stew of slow cooked egg, Iberico ham and potato with Bravas saucedish.
It is given a playful twist but incredibly good! The combination of mushroom and egg is so good and flavorful, rich and creamy.
The first starter Beetroot pickled, whipped burrata, truffle honey, walnut crumble, raspberries ($17) was beautifully presentated.The beetroot was well-marinated and naturally sweet, paired well with the melt-in-your-mouth burrata puréed. The overall textures was soft and smooth, has a deep flavorful yet very refreshing.
Raw scallops, sesame, lemon, radish & dill ($22) was another plate of edible art. The scallops itself was incredibly tender and juicy, even don't need to chew. The dressing with a lemon zest was very refreshing.
I have been to several restaurants by Jason Atherton, includes Pollen at Gardens by the Bay, Table.No1, the Commune Social in Shanghai, and include today's Esquina, i found the food presentation at his restaurants is always pieces of arts. And the flavor is consistently light and refreshing :)
Sea urchin & crab bisque, sea grapes & smoked herring roe ($18) is no doubt another highlight. This dish is a foamy creation which contains the best of the ocean's umami flavors. The rich and creamy bisque was made of pureed sea urchin and a reduction of crab and lobster, served in a sea urchin shell on a bed of sea salt, alongside a spoon of the gifts from the sea.
See the generous portion of crab and lobster! OMG this dish was seriously die-for, one of the best sea urchin dish ever.
No more words is needed when this beautiful plate of Grilled duck breast, heirloom carrots, yuzu carrot purée & hazelnut came to the table. The duck breast was wonderfully grilled, with a lovely burnt surface and succulent center. Duck meat itself was very flavorful, the vegetables on the side nicely enhanced a balance.
Baked sea bass, heirloom tomatoes, sweet garlic, black olive & charred squid ($32) has a very crispy surface, the taste was not that high as the duck breast but was umami by itself. While the texture was a bit tough for our's liking, not melt-in-mouth tenderness as we expected. But overly a nice dish.
Basil sorbet, strawberries, sweet tomato, yuzu yogurt, black pepper meringue ($16) was a very refreshing yet 'sweet' ending. It was our first time having basil sorbet and it was unexpectedly good, it has a very clean taste, and paired weel with the berries and smooth yuzu yogurt.
Next came the signature Esquina tiramisu, mascarpone mousse, chocolate soil, coffee jelly ($16), which is a deconstructed version of traditional tiramisu.It looks very sweet and heavy but trust me - it is not. The dark chocolate mousse was rich and high in flavor, the 'chocolate soil' which is the chocolate cake, was very fluffy, paired well with the smooth mascarpone cheese. The bitter-some coffee jelly well-balanced the entire dish. I enjoyed this dessert a lot, but i found the flavor is more on the chocolate side but not coffee.
It was a really impressive meal at Esquina. All the food was freshly made in front of us, with perfect presentation and tastes really good. We loved the cozy setting which made us relax and enjoyed the chef's work. The staffs were very friendly and serves efficiently. Plus the food is reasonably priced (espeically lunch), certainly i will return.
Esquina Tapas Bar 16 Jiak Chuan Rd, Singapore 089267 6222 1616 Website