Esquina

This place has been getting some good reviews and even raves, so expectations were quite high. Personally, I was expecting a proper tapas bar. Anyways, the place was quite full even though and luckily I was there before 6.30pm and still managed to get a seat indoors at the counter. However, half hour later, even the outdoor seats were packed. Pricing wise it is definitely on the upmarket side, and essentially this is a rather upmarket place. There's a lot of effort on food presentation for the mains. However has a place that market itself as a tapas bar, there was surprisingly very little selection of tapas and drinks. Although the main courses were served in tapas-size they are not tapas-priced. Consequently, there is a disconnect between quality and value of the food. At least the alcohol was reasonably priced (in Singapore). The toasted sourdough with aioli is only worth it if the bread was baked onsite; the ham croquetas was quite good with a good balance between the savory ham and potato mash, and personally was the best of the tapas; the iberico bellota was underwhelming although it was the most expensive tapas; the crispy baby squids was similarly not outstanding and honestly felt like something I could get from a good tze char place. The main I had was the special of the day (on the blackboard): ox tongue and cheeks with blue cheese gnocchi, tarragon and hazelnut pesto. Definitely was not worth the price. The ox cheeks was soft and tender, however taste-wise it had a chinese braised/stewed taste; the tongue lacked that texture that differentiate tongue-meat from meat-meat (cheeks, steaks, etc). Surprisingly, there was a palate cleanser/pre-dessert of a refreshing ?raspberry/black berry ice-cream (further evidence that this is an upmarket place). For desserts it was the charred pineapple with basil ice-cream, lime salad and coconut jelly. The basil ice-cream was refreshing and the pineapple piece was sweet and well-charred and priced appropriately for the effort. The good thing about Esquina is that there is no service charge, however, at the end of the day, even if assuming the price had the 10% service charge factored in, it is still quite expensive. But if you come in with the expectations of eating at an upmarket establishment, then my complain would be that the quality of the food still does not really justify the price.

Verdict: A place where I would go for pre-dinner drinks and light tapas, before having a proper dinner somewhere else.













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