Sunday, July 01, 2012

Salt Tapas

C says:

The success of Esquina seems to have spawned a new food trend. Fine dining establishments are being eschewed, in favour of more casual joints serving tapas or small bites meant for sharing, yet still prepared with finesse and premium ingredients.

Good food in casual surroundings is what atetoomuch is all about, so we're certainly very happy with the choices that are increasingly available now. We're slowly eating our way through them, starting with Salt Tapas at Raffles City.

Salt Tapas is by Luke Mangan, of Salt Bar & Grill at ION. Prices and menu items are similar to Esquina (except that Salt has a distinctly Moroccan influence), so comparisons are inevitable.

Being big Esquina fans, we went with muted expectations so maybe that's why we were pleasantly surprised. We started with the arancini, which are fried risotto balls filled with mushroom, and served with a fresh parsley sauce.

The roasted pumpkin with rocket, walnuts and blue cheese was pretty good too, with all the flavours complementing each other well.

The crispy baby prawns with garlic aioli made my night. Best dish for me, hands down. The prawns were tiny, and fried so crisp that you just pop them in, heads, shells and all. Given my obsession with prawn heads/brains, this was a truly stellar dish.

Their version of baked bone marrow has a shitake mushroom duxelle. I still prefer Esquina's version with the escargots, though this was pretty good as well, just that the mushroom more or less masked the bone marrow.

The roasted Iberico pork with curried lentils and minted yogurt was tasty but the pork was a bit dry. The lentils were good though.

The lentils were surprisingly filling, so we only had room for one dessert - the chocolate tart with salt caramel ice cream. This was intensely chocolatey, tamed slightly by the crust and the ice cream.

So the million dollar question - is this better than Esquina? To me, no. I still prefer both the food and ambience at Esquina. Salt was better than expected though, and seats are definitely more readily available than at Esquina. Having said that, the almost cultish status ascribed to snagging a table at Esquina is also, to us, part of its appeal. 

A says:

Excellent. I’d still rather go to Esquina, but this is a worthy alternative.

Salt Tapas
252 North Bridge Road
#01-22A Raffles City Shopping Centre
Tel: 6837-0995
(Reservations accepted for lunch; for dinner, reservations only accepted for parties of 8 and above)
Mon to Thurs: 11.30 am to 10 pm
Fri and Sat: 11.30 am to 10.30 pm
Sun: 11.30 am to 9 pm

No comments: