[Singapore] Esquina

I’m a BIG LOVER of Spanish food, and when it comes to tapas, calamares and paella are my favorites! My love for calamares or squids is not limited to Spanish food, I’d also order salted fried squids when I’m having Chinese dim sums,  and have squids congee when I’m at Chinese restaurant. (For those of you who know me well, this is definitely nothing new :P)

Knowing that I love tapas so much,  my Singaporean friends brought me to this modern Tapas bar in China Town.

Esquina

Prices: S$80 – 100 / person

Address: 16 Jiak Chuan Road, Singapore 089267

Nearest MRT station (underground): China Town (purple/ blue line)

Tel: (65) 6222 1616

Email: info@esquina.com.sg

Opening Hours:

  • Tuesdays to Fridays: 12pm to 2.30pm, 6pm to 10.30pm
  • Saturdays: 6pm to 10.30pm
  • Closed on Sundays & Mondays

Website: http://esquina.com.sg


 Shophouses

Esquina exterior (Source: The Asia City Network)

Esquina exterior (Source: The Asia City Network)

Helmed by Michelin star chef Jason Atherton (who also launches  the Pollen Singapore at Gardens by the Bay – see our REVIEW here), Esquina is situated in a colonial era shophouse on Jiak Chuan Road where a lot of *shophouses lie.

*Singapore shophouses: Commonly seen in South East Asia, shophouses consist of shops on the ground floor and residential accomodation upstairs. Shophouses were built during the colonial era when many Chinese immigrants moved with their businesses into these buildings. You can find most of these in China Town in Singapore.

Reservations at Esquina

Esquina only allow reservations for dinner bookings from 6 to 6.30PM, and the restaurant can only accomodate 19 guests for seating. (In the past, they don’t accept reservations at all!) This aims to mimic the friendly, sociable atmosphere found in neighborhood tapas bars in Spain.

Tapas review

Food portions are small sized, the design is quite modern and definitely not traditional. For instance, they only have one type of paella ( Confit squid & chorizo paella, sauteed gambas andblack fennel, S$29). I was expecting the traditional paella to be served in a big pan, but it arrived in a small plate instead.

Confit squid & chorizo paella, sauteed gambas andblack fennel (SG$ 29)

Confit squid & chorizo paella, sauteed gambas andblack fennel (SG$ 29)

You can see the rest of the menu here. Some other dishes that we have ordered:

Crispy baby squid, black ink aioli (S$18)

Crispy baby squid, black ink aioli (S$18) *I LOVE CALAMARES!!!!

Beef tartare, sea urchin mayonnaise, egg yolk dressing, seaweed & frozen foie gras ( S$24 )

Beef tartare, sea urchin mayonnaise, egg yolk dressing, seaweed & frozen foie gras ( S$24 )

Pork crackling, salt cod, smoked herring roe (S$18)

Pork crackling, salt cod, smoked herring roe (S$18)

Roast pork belly, apricot cumin cous cous, piquillo pepper, crispy skin (S$34)

Roast pork belly, apricot cumin cous cous, piquillo pepper, crispy skin (S$34)

I’d say if you are hungry, the tapas they serve are definitely not filling, this place is more suitable for those who’d like to drop in for a quick bite and drink before moving on to elsewhere for the evening. The drinks that they serve are also limited, they don’t have cocktails like Mojito, so we order Gin & Tonic instead.

Service & Price

Service is quite slow, definitely not suitable for those who are impatient! When it comes to paying the bill, it took them more than 10 minutes to give us the bill and another 10 minutes before we finally get to sign the bill. However, I’d say the price is worth it as the tapas are quite creative.