William didn’t want to spend A$150 on a degustation meal at Esquire, which is awarded the equivalent of 3 Michelin stars in Australia. I didn’t mind, but I have commitment phobia: I want to test drive a car before buying it. So the next best thing was to visit the offshoot, Esq, in the same compound. Its concept is not unsimilar to tapas bar with an open kitchen, serving Australian cuisine. When I asked the lone Australian customer sitting next to me for food recommendations in Brisbane, she said, “You can’t get as Australian as Esq.”
Some dishes were grilled over locally produced charcoal, which you can buy for A$45. The grilled lamb rump (A$32) was forgettable, and the Australian bay lobster (A$20, above), that came in two morsels, was overly salted, ruining its delicate taste.
But the Asian-inspired dishes fared well. The poached pork gyoza (A$13, above) had a fantastic, bouncy bite, though the skin was slightly thick; and the pea sprouts (A$10, known as dou miao to us), which I buy at NTUC for S$1.50, was admirably stir-fried.
Up till now, Esq hadn’t given me a reason to visit Esquire. And then the desserts came. The popcorn parfait (A$13) was light, and piquant with tarragon–what an intelligent pairing. But perfection came in campari sherbet (A$12, above). This was not one of the best desserts I had in my life; it was the BEST. You know how the tongue is divided into different regions to taste different flavors. With this dessert, I can clearly label the regions. The dessert ran through the gamut of sweet, salty, sour, and finally a dry bitterness at the sides of the tongue. And best of all, there was a tingling, prickly sensation, like what eating fugu (puffer fish) would give you. This dessert had tastes, textures, and sensations. Holy cow!
If the desserts are an indication of what Esquire can offer, I am ready for that A$150 degustation. One last thing, I was very comfortable at Esq because the servers and chefs looked like supermodels. Being with goodlookers makes me feel glamorous. We spent A$102 for two.
145 Eagle St, Brisbane QLD 4000
T: +61 7 3220 2123
Esq and Esquire Menus
T-F: 12-2.30pm, 6pm-late
Written by A. Nathanael Ho.