The all new Esquina
Since the rise of the tapas culture in Singapore, many restaurants have popped up offering small plates for sharing. But through it all, Esquina remains to be among our top favourites for good reason, one of them being the wide array of delicious and authentic tapas creations.
With new chef Carlos Montobbio helming the kitchen, he excites our palates yet again by refreshing the menu to include new and signature specialties. Born and bred in Barcelona, his dishes are classic Spanish in terms of using the best and seasonal produce, but he puts his own modern twist to set them apart from other tapas joints. His experience working in Michelin-starred restaurants in his home country also came in handy, as he was able to deliver these offerings with much class, refinement and alluring flavours.
As the saying goes, to see is to believe, but in this case, it’s also worth trying; and when you do, start with the Spanish Nigiri under the snacks section. A play on the classic Japanese sushi, his version is created with salted cod, garlic oil and potato emulsion that is molded to resemble the rice. Taking the place of the fish is the sweet roasted bell peppers that round off the flavours really well.
Well, that’s not the only gem you can find here. A popular favourite is the Spanish Omelette, which is a reinvention of your everyday omelette sandwich but still offers that familiar and comforting taste. But Chef Carlos puts his touch to it to turn it into mini pancakes with little dots of olive oil caviar served atop crisp bread. It’s so easy to fill up on these, but make sure that you save room for the other dishes to come such as seafood and meat.
Growing up in Spain, one of Chef Carlos’ strongest suits is seafood, which is why they are so many tempting dishes on the sea section. A great introduction to his culinary wizardry is the Grilled Spanish Octopus, which consists of succulent and slightly charred chunks of tentacles accompanied by artichokes, burnt onions and oyster leaves. Follow it up with other dishes such as the Baked Salted Cod ‘Alkorta’ and Sardines with Samfaina to really get a taste of his seafood offerings.
Last but not least is the meat section, which offers more than just suckling pig. There are a myriad of offerings such as the Wagyu Beef Intercoastals, Pigeon with Forest Berries Escabeche and Burnt Rosemary Polenta and Crisp Shallots. These and the rest of the dishes come in small plates, which makes it easier to order more to share with your dining companions. After all, isn’t that the whole idea of tapas restaurants?