Esquina: Tap that tapas

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This Spanish gem tucked away by a corner in Singapore’s quaint Chinatown area had me wistfully sighing Ti Amoooo at first bite. Under the guidance of Michelin star chef Jason Atherton (protégé of Hell’s Kitchen godfather Gordon Ramsay), Esquina has managed to beautifully blend delicious morsels of legit tapas (LOVE that the portions aren’t minuscule) with a super fun and gregarious atmosphere. What’s also cool is that everyone’s seated by the counter facing the open kitchen with an awesome view of the deliciousness sizzling and cooking by the stoves!

We ordered a bunch of tapas, and pretty much everything we had was scrumptious and authentic yay!

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Crispy baby squid in black ink aioli

Tapas balls

Ham croquetas

These piping hot little ham balls split open to reveal a gooey, delicious mixture of ham, cream and cheese. One croquette per person was just the right amount, as it felt like biting into a ball of carbonara which explodes into an artery-clogging but totes delicious buttery bath…

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Grilled romaine, truffle honey, manchego, black olives

So we got this as a feeble attempt to be healthy at a tapas bar, and OH BOY IT WAS ONE OF THE BEST ROMAINES I’VE EVER HAD! Each Romain was lovingly grilled to crisp-edgy perfection, and the flecks of savoury manchego and chopped olive bits were the perfect foil to the Romain’s sweetness. So, so good that it just kept ending up on my plate, even though I had enough Romain during lunch to make me run away from veggies for the rest of the day.

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Grilled pork secreto with miso glazed apple puree, hazelnut, apple salad, crispy skin

THIS. OMG this grilled pork is probably THE best grilled pork I’ve had ever. Pork is one tough MOFO to cook, and the guys at Esquina cracked it (literally). The pork was grilled to juicy perfection, with a crisp outer layer which sealed in all the delicious juices from the cooking. The crispy skin and chopped walnuts added a nice crunchy twist to each bit of porky perfection mmmmmm….

We also had another porky dish – Spiced pig cheek, roast belly, sweet & sour onion, chorizo crumbs (pictured at top of the blog) which was ok, but definitely couldn’t fill the ginormous delicious shoes left by its grilled pork predecessor.

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Blueberry ice-cream – on the house if you get dessert… and so we did :)

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Charred pineapple & lime salad, basil sorbet, coconut lime jelly – nice palate cleanser after the awesome tapas fest!

Prices are a little steep at this joint (starters, meat, dessert and drinks can come up to ~SGD 80 per person), but for the quality and authenticity it’s worth coming back to for sure :) It’s a pain that they don’t take reservations (as place is pretty small), so swing by before 7pm to grab a seat and have some deliciously legit Spanish tapas in Singapore!

Here’s a short clip of the place, it was crazyyy packed on a week night!

–Sulsuls

Wherefore art thou? Map here (~11 min walk from Tanjung Pagar MRT station)

Esquina Tapas Bar
16 Jiak Chuan Rd,
Singapore 089267