Jason Atherton of London's 1-Michelin-star Pollen Street Social makes his first foray into Singapore with this interesting tapas bar, Esquina - appropriately located in a corner shophouse - on Jiak Chuan Street, just off the dining enclave of Keong Saik Road and Bukit Pasoh Road.
We had some very interesting tapas creations yesterday evening:
- Barbecued mackerel served atop an intensely-flavored roast almond romesco - nice textures from the nuts;
- Ham croquettas - tasty, but the potatoes were a bit too mushy;
- Gambas in a spicy-sweet tomato dressing (the prawns could have been fresher);
- Confit of rabbit & seafood paella - lovely balance of flavors & textures. My personal fave dish for the evening;
- Iberico pork & foie gras sliders. These are great, but pretty expensive at S$25++ (US$20++) for a pair of smallish sliders;
- Slow-cooked egg with bravas sauce & potato foam. A touch of molecular cooking here, but the dish did not exactly wow me.
- Black olive sorbet with strawberry gazpacho. Something seemed lost in translation here - I thought it was a neither-here-nor-there kind of dessert - lacked the refreshing, light taste of a sorbet, and the olives did not exactly provide a sweet ending one would expect from a dessert;
- Santiago tart with vanilla ice-cream studded with chopped apricots & raisins - the tart was nutty (loved the texture) but strangely has this strong scent of truffle oil. Not to my taste.
Still, a delightful spot for tapas, and certainly better than most other tapas bars in Singapore's rather weak Spanish food scene.
I can't wait for Jason Atherton's Singapore outpost of Pollen Street Social - called simply "Pollen" here, to be opened in June 2012 at Singapore space-age-looking Gardens at the Bay's Flower Dome, the futuristic giant conservatory.
16 Jiak Chuan Street
Tel: +65 6222 1616