Esquina seems to be our new go-to place on a Saturday when we have no other plans and can afford to eat really early. At 5.50 pm we got the last indoor seats and couldn’t even sit at the counter this time; we were at a little bar table in the corner.
Finally, we managed to try the tuna tartare, and it didn’t disappoint. It came with an avocado puree, and was seasoned slightly Asian style with a hint of sesame oil. It was refreshing and flavours were very balanced.
The sea bass with black olive puree and a salt cod soup was very good. Unfortunately the soup came served on the side, and the waiter didn’t pour it in for us. We didn’t know if we were meant to pour it or eat it separately, so we opted for the latter. Halfway through the dish, our regular waiter saw us and told us we were meant to pour the soup in. Both elements were good on their own, but really complemented each other when eaten together.
There was an off menu special of baked scallop with chorizo and pork belly, topped with a piece of fried pork skin dusted with paprika. The scallop and chorizo combi was very good, as was the pork skin. The braised pork belly was a little too sweet for my liking.
We tried the saffron paella too, with red peppers, prawns, fish and baby squid. I’m a rice whore so I really liked this. The stock used to cook the rice was the very essence of seafood.
We were pleasantly surprised with mini cones of sangria ice cream before dessert was served. They even gave us an extra one in between our desserts because they had one to spare.
We had room for dessert this time, so I ordered the pistachio cake recommended by our waiter, and A had the chocolate mousse. The mousse was quite dense and rich, but at least the chocolate crumbs added a textural crunch. The pistachio cake was amazing. It looked ordinary but it was warm, moist and fluffy. It was served with vanilla ice cream and a sangria jam, though it really didn’t need any accompaniments.
I think we’ve finally gone though all the dishes that we’ve wanted to try, although given how frequently chef changes the menu, and the variety of the specials, I won’t be surprised if we make our way here again sooner than we expect.
Except for the other poser patrons, I love this place.
16 Jiak Chuan Street
Mon to Fri: 12 noon to 3 pm; 6 pm to 11 pm
Sat: 6 pm to 11 pm