Esquina Degustation Did Not Happen/Other Restaurant Promotions

6 of us had planned to go to esquina to try out the dinner tasting menu. the menu items (including beef tartar, beetroot salad, kingfish sashimi, scallop ceviche etc) & gallery photos from esquina website had looked awfully exciting & most alluring. 🙂

esquina is a tapas bar, sister of Pollen at Marina Bay by Jason Atherton who had worked with Gordon Ramsay in his restaurants including Maze in London for 10 years & received 1 michelin star within 6months of starting out Pollen Street Social at Mayfair London.

i called & emailed esquina to make a reservation for 6pax on a friday. there was no reply to the email (does not look like i will get a reply). when i called to reserve a table for 6pax, the person who answered said they do not take reservations as theirs is a walk-in tapas bar with counter seats.  i told him it was kind of difficult for me to arrange for 6pax to come and try out a S$95 tasting menu if we could not get a confirmed reservation & we have to eat at the counter trying to have conversation among the 6 of us. i asked for the manager and he replied that he was the manager, and the name was Ashburn when i asked for his name. he said perhaps we could be seated outside, so i asked if i could make a reservation for the outside table if there was one. he replied that he would check with the chef & revert to me. he never did – perhaps he was too busy or had misplaced my handphone number haha. 🙂

i decided to google hungrygowhere & tripadvisor (i had earlier saw 1 or 2 good reviews of esquina by bloggers before deciding to try out esquina with my friends). i must say that the majority of the reviews & comments were actually favourable. there was one that stood out rather ominously for us=Waited 1.5 hours for a table and food. Walked out. Scary! 

  • The biggest inconsistency I’ve found with Esquina is the service. I’ve visited 3 times and on the first occasion the service was horrendous. Rude and unaccommodating…. I guess it was stress from the busy Friday night

a second review helped me drop the idea altogether.  A great buzz and original tapas was actually an overall favourable review & i guess quite balanced as it included the not so good parts as well. the only reason i extracted the above was not to highlight the bad part but just that it was immediately relevant to our specific needs as we were going on a friday evening. 🙂

many things are a matter of matching expectations. the restaurant is probably right. if they are positioned as a walk-in tapas bar, and if that is well received by patrons, then they probably got it right. having introduced a 9-course tasting menu (& from the gallery photos a rather exciting array of dishes) perhaps to please its regular supporters & to introduce new patrons to its tapas dishes, whether they should extend the service to include a proper table degustation with full service experience is of course something for the restaurant to decide. 🙂

so it would be that the venue & setting are just NOT matching the needs for our dinner get-together – in the end, food is not everything & we cannot trust every food photo…if service & ambience are not right then the experience is not quite there..(will have to try esquina another time)..

i found though a few other restaurant promotions so giving an update here-

  1. sichuandouhua at Parkroyal has a second anniversary celebration Suckling Pig Feast set at S$288 for 6pax (& S$48.80pax) until 31.7.2013, with added 20% discount for UOB cards.
  2. Oso has a amex 5-course set dinner at S$78 (usual S$98) until 31.12.2013.
  3. Xin Cusine has continued the very good set i reviewed here=S$118 1 for 1 Lobster & Abalaone Set until 18.8.2013.
  4. Azmaya is still offering its 50% discount for wagyu/pork shabu shabu & now sukiyaki (S$45pax & S$50 respectively after discount) all-you-can-eat shabu shabu for the month of sep2013 (updated on 14.9.2013)

well, for this friday, we will be going to sichuandouhua. 🙂

c.h.e.f andy