After a really awesome meal of the “Best Chicken Wings in Singapore” from Two Wings, the husband and I came back to Essen again the following weekend for lunch. This time, we checked out 4 of the 5 remaining food stalls and indulged in a sumptuous feast at a fraction of what we would normally pay at a restaurant 😉
If you haven’t visited an atas (high class/posh) coffeeshop like Salut @ 119 Bukit Merah or food court like Essen, you’re really missing out. It seems like a growing trend for young hawkerpreneurs these days to bring (fine dining) restaurant-quality food to heartlands at affordable prices with no taxes and service charges. And yes, without the dress code too and we can come anytime we want without having to make a reservation. How convenient.
If you’ve visited Immanuel French Kitchen at Salut Coffeeshop that serves up a mean duck leg confit, well, Garçons is Chef Immanuel’s latest joint-venture with his long-time friend, Chef Enoch. It serves up French cuisine at wallet-friendly prices 🙂
Check out the menu:
We ordered the 12-hour belly of pork ($16.90) that was served with creamy mashed potatoes, mesclun salad and a honey-balsamic reduction. This was like one of the best roasted pork we ever had. The crackling was consistently crispy and crunchy and the meat was fork tender with most of the fats rendered off during cooking so I didn’t get that sickly, guilty feeling when digging into this. Superbly executed. The honey-balsamic reduction gave a much needed tang and really lifted the flavour of the pork belly. The mash was well seasoned, creamy and literally melted in the mouth. Heavenly!
Garçons Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/garcons.sg
La Stalla specialises in Italian fare like pizzas and pastas, all made only upon order.
We had the Margherita Pizza (S$12) which had fresh tomatoes, mozzarella cheese and basil as toppings.
If Spizza is my number 1 pizza place to go, La Stalla is probably a close second. I loved that rustic feel of the handmade pizza that was baked to order and came out fresh and hot. I actually thought the dough/crust tasted better than Spizza’s because it was light, crispy and a little salty. I don’t normally touch my pizza crust edges but I easily finished whole slices of this. My only gripe was the rather bland tomato paste used. If that was made better, this pizza would have been perfect.
La Stalla Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/lastalla.sg
Wild Wild Catch serves up fusion seafood cuisine with some familiar flavours of chilli crab and salted egg.
We ordered the classic Fish & Chips (S$12) made of battered dory fillets with seasoned fries, garden salad and a tartar sauce dip. While the dory fish was fresh, flaky and moist with no fishy smell, I thought the batter was plain, under-seasoned and just not crispy enough. I noticed some ground paprika sprinkled on the fries but they were also under-seasoned. Just a tad more salt on everything would probably boost the flavour of this dish better.
Wild Wild Catch Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/wildwildcatch
El Jefe Corner is another Western food stall that serves up mainly meats for its mains.
This was the Roasted Crispy Pork Belly with Wild Mushroom Risotto and Chicken Jus (S$15.90). The crackling was crispy but the meat was quite dry and chewy and not as tender as I expected it to be. The Wild Mushroom Risotto was nicely cooked but the flavour of mushrooms wasn’t sufficient to give it a more robust flavour. Overall, it tasted like a homemade dish rather than a restaurant-quality one.
El Jefe Corner Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/eljefecorner
There was also a Thai food stall, Kin Khao, by the peeps of Thai To Go. Didn’t get to try it this time but it serves up a good variety of popular Thai dishes like tom yum seafood soup, green curry chicken, pad thai, prawn & fish cakes and more.
Overall, we enjoyed our meal. There might be some misses but were just minor details to put up with. Don’t forget to also try the very refreshing homemade ice lemon tea from the drinks stall that’s only $1.50 per glass. Good food at reasonable prices. Great atmosphere to dine in. Cheap drinks and beers. And most importantly, variety is the key. Get more bang for your buck here! 😉
1 Cantonment Road
#01-01, The Pinnacle @ Duxton
Essen Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/EssenThePinnacle
Opening hours: 10.30am to 11.00pm daily