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Esquina Tapas Bar and Commitment

February 10, 2012 Leave a comment Go to comments

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Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
Chair, Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar Josper Grill, Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar

Esquina Tapas Bar (facebook)(16 Jiak Chuan Road, off Keong Siak, Tanjong Pagar), aka Jason Atherton x Loh Lik Peng’s Spanish-inspired corner-unit restaurant, is tiny, and so accepts no reservations. (Also, it is a tapas bar and you can’t chope seats at tapas bars.) No fixed service charge but you might just want to tip everyone at the end of the night.

Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar

The bar sits 13 at the counter facing the open kitchen, with several more small tables outside. A jolly friendly place suggestive of the presence of good food and easy laughs.

Andy Walsh, Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar

Unlike some bile-inducing open kitchens, the opportunity to observe how Andy Walsh (lately of Jason Atherton’s 1 Michelin Star Pollen Street Social) runs a tight ship, being (literally) hands-on and tasting each dish before it goes out, gave us such confidence in the quality of the food that we ordered more than we would have if we hadn’t been privy to such professional prep.

Produce of the Day blackboard menu, Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar Blackboard menu Produce of the Day. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar

A blackboard sets out the produce of the day:

Salt and pepper baby squid, black ink aioli. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar

salt and pepper baby squid, black ink aioli – well-fried without oily residue, not too salty, with the squid ink providing additional umami;

Gambas prawns being cooked, Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar Gambas prawns, Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar

Madagascar gambas prawns with chilli and garlic (you can get smaller local gambas too) – the prawns were very fresh and plump;

Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar Baked bone marrow, snails, garlic, shallot parsley, Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar

baked bone marrow, snails, garlic, shallot, parsley.

January 2012 Menu, Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar February 2012 Menu, Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar

The small main menu has, so far, retained many staples:

para picar
Iberico beliota. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar Iberico beliota. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
Iberico bellota jamon;

Barbeque roasted corn. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
barbecue roasted corn;

sides
Preparing heritage tomato and sherry dressing. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar Preparing heritage tomato and sherry dressing. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
Heritage tomato and sherry dressing. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
heritage tomato and sherry dressing;

seafood
Tuna tartare, avocado and sesame.
tuna tartare, avocado and sesame;

Scallop ceviche and radish salsa. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
scallop ceviche and radish salsa – the raw scallop was marinated in yuzu lime and topped with finely chopped cilantro, sweet raw onion, slivers of radish, and micro-greens;

BBQ Sea Bass, roasted almond, romesco, aioli. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar BBQ mackerel, roasted almond romesco, aioli. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
BBQ fish (sea bass in January 2012, mackerel in February 2012), roasted almond, romesco, aioli ;

meat
Beef cheek oloroso, mash, caper, bacon, bone marrow crumbs. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
beef cheek oloroso, mash, caper, bacon, bone marrow crumbs (“beef” became “ox” in February 2012);

Aged rib-eye and chimichurri dressing. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
aged rib-eye and chimichurri dressing;

Iberico pork foie gras burger, smoked pulled shoulder, pickled cucumber. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
Iberico pork foie gras burger, smoked pulled shoulder, pickled cucumber;

palate-cleanser
Andy Walsh preparing the palate cleanser. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar Palate cleanser. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
Sangria ice-cream palate cleanser. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
sorbet (salted caramel (?) in January 2012, sangria in February 2012);

Santiago tart, vanilla ice-cream, apricot raisins. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
Santiago tart, vanilla ice-cream, apricot raisins;

Sangria poached fruit, salted almond crumble, PX custard. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar Sangria poached fruits, salted almond crumble, PX custard. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
PX custard. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
sangria poached fruits, salted almond crumble, PX custard – the fruits were heated in a cast-iron pan till they bubbled, then topped with crumble and placed under the grill. The pedro ximenez custard was not cloying, generously spotted with tell-tale flecks of real vanilla bean;

Sherry menu, Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar A glass of amontillado. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
Lustau Los Arcos dry Amontillado sherry;

Sweet wine menu, Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan Road, Keong Saik, Tanjong Pagar
sweet wine. I had the Coteaux de Layon 2010 from Chateau de la Roulerie so as to understand Jancis Robinson’s description of the wine (cf Sauternes).

Like the variety afforded by shared tapas plates. But still, even though the food was delicious, we found ourselves saying while staring sadly at the remnants on some plates,”My mouth is bored.” Our elders might put it down to the ADHD-ness of the iPod generation. We…or i at least…play no favourites – no favourite colour or food or drink or movie or book; my desert island pick would be the entire internet – after all, what else can satisfy but an un-ending buffet of information, ideas, photos, designs. (Before the advent of the internet, my desert island pick was all the libraries (book and music libraries) of the world.)
Andy's knife. Esquina Tapas Bar, Jiak Chuan, Keong Saik, Tanjong PagarIt seems to me that well-meaning Christians overrate commitment. There are only a few people/things that i think one should rightly be faithful to: God, and as a consequence of being faithful to him – obeying his word to love the church and, if married, to be faithful to one’s spouse.

One is faithful to God because, well, he’s God and what viable alternative is there? We are already inextricably linked to him because he created us and as Creator, has the right to judge us one day, on a day he decides.

One is faithful to one’s spouse, not because marriage for life is some boring old arbitrary rule concocted by the ancients to maintain law and order in society, but because God created the world and within that world made it such that sex between one man and one woman should only take place within the institution of marriage, which is why “a man leaves his father and mother and is united to his wife, and they become one flesh” (Genesis 2:24). Jesus reiterated this, saying that “at the beginning of creation God ‘made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be united to his wife, and the two will become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore what God has joined together, let no one separate.” (Mark 10:6-9). Paul went on to explain that the creation of marriage actually demonstrates the intimate relationship between Christ and the church – what a mystery (Ephesians 5:32). So on all counts, faithfulness to one’s spouse is of massive importance.

But otherwise, lack of faithfulness to, say, a brand of root beer is not ungodly. It would be foolish to fall into the pop psychology trap of reading too much into preferences and other such things.

Road

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