So......we came back. For another shot at Esquina. For some reasons.
modern and classic sangria
This modern and classic take on sangria basically piles the foamed sangria on top of the drink. Gimmicky I suppose since texture didn't really do very much. Gimmicky like I said. And while I really prefer not to complain at this point, I've had better sangria.
warm thyme & onion bread, smoked bone marrow butter
The food started off pretty darned good. Like their light and flaky onion bread. My only gripe, I had absolutely no idea why it was bone marrow butter described on the menu. It tasted like regular butter, smoked nicely for sure, but bone marrow? Did I miss something or did they?
beetroot pickled, whipped burrata, truffle honey, walnut crumble, raspberries
This was good too. Served in small enough portions for birds, but good nonetheless. What didn't materialize is the truffle honey. I'm pretty sure it was truffle oil that was whipped into the burrata. No honey there.
Esqui-nada. But the play of textures and flavours were very nicely done.
roasted cauliflower, Serrano ham and cheese (Manchego)
Their roasted cauliflower appeared a lot less complicated than the beetroot, but this was seriously good stuff. A light crunch from the vegetable, smokiness from both the ham and the vegetable and saltiness from the Manchego cheese. We scraped the plate clean.
sea urchin and crab bisque, sea grapes and smoked herring roe
We were looking forward to this. But the dish was actually a little disappointing. The name on the menu should have been reduced to sea urchin and crab bisque. Why? The smoked herring roe came in such puny portions that it did nothing. And I certainly didn't see any umi budou in there.
Esqui-nada. This tiny uni shell was filled with chunks of sweet crab meat though. And apparently, the uni element was blended into the crab bisque so I could taste nothing of them.
barbequed mackerel, squid ink rice cracker, wasabi buttermilk, burnt cucumber & kale
Couldn't say I was very impressed with the barbequed mackerel. Couldn't tell which was the wasabi buttermilk neither since that green smudge tasted like a coriander and pureed avocado and the white smudge didn't taste like it has wasabi. This was a Japanese influenced grilled saba dish?
wagyu beef rump, fried oyster, oyster mayonnaise, dashi jelly
This was quite nice. What wasn't described was the heat from the crisp batter on the oyster which was rather good. The little onion layer in the middle contained a sauce. We tasted yuzu and maybe heavy cream. Very delicious sauce that could work well with almost anything. Oyster mayo was very nicely done too - if you like oysters. What didn't quite shine in terms of flavour was the dashi jelly. It just didn't quite scream dashi.
basil sorbet, strawberries, sweet tomato, yuzu yogurt, black pepper meringue
Not the slightest hint of black pepper in the meringue. Which is the painted on layer in the bowl/plate in case you are wondering. One has to scrape them off with the spoon. The single element that rocked on its own was the sweetish basil sorbet. The flavours of the basil were.....invigoratingly fresh.
Manchego cheese custard, black olive, brioche crumbs, apricot jam
This was a take on crackers, cheese and fruit jam. The brioche crumbs lent texture to the custard which was nice. Liked the custard. It was more savoury than sweet as a dessert, but it worked.
Clearly, it was mixed feelings and stronger ones than from the previous visit. If anyone were to ask me if Esquina was any good, I wouldn't be able to come up with a straightforward answer.