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Restaurant review: Esmirada at Chijmes in Singapore

Esmirada at Chijmes
30 Victoria Street #01-17 Chijmes
(Now at #01-00, Orchard Hotel Shopping Arcade, 442 Orchard Road)
+65 6336 3684

As we slurp our caiparinhas ($12) and look out over the cobbled square at the spire of the Chijmes chapel against the evening sky, I’m not sure why Roy and I haven’t been back to Esmirada since our first visit nine years ago.

Restaurant manager Olynn says she has worked there since it opened in 2000 – she even claims to remember serving us. It’s wise to heed the advice of anyone that clever, so we decide to go with her food recommendations.

A highlight is a generous panful of garlic and chilli shrimps ($17), fresh, firm and a must to share – especially if you’re going to be breathing on each other. Ditto for the garlic bread, a beautiful baguette served baking-hot and buttery. Mini-skewers of chicken and beef ($15) go down well, too, but our mini-paella ($15) is a bit dry – the main course size would probably retain its moistness better.

We share one of the great big mixed skewers ($41): lamb cutlet, scallop, beef steak and the granddaddy of all prawns, interspersed with chunks of pepper and perfectly grilled over the charcoal fire that glows in the restaurant’s open kitchen. To accompany it, a generous Greek salad.

The chef’s dessert speciality is a chocolaty confection called a melting moment ($15). Even better was the tiramisu ($18) made and served in a mug – nicer and fresher, somehow, than getting a little portion of a big dessert.

I hope it doesn’t take another nine years to get me back there.