My Little Spanish Place, 54 Boat Quay
Me and my mate Edward Esmero, outside his latest venture. Another My Little Spanish Place, this time located at 54 Boat Quay. Right on the river with inside for 30 or so, immediately outside for 10 and then across the path on the river’s edge for 20++.
So we had the major good fortune to be invited by Edward to come to the soft-launch with other partners, suppliers and friends at My Little Spanish Place. How lucky we are. Edward Esmero my friend thank you – looks like it will be another knock-out like your other two My Little Spanish Place restaurants – did you notice how many PAX were walking by and stopping to look in? Loads. And I am certain they were not after your balloons, but intrigued to see so many happy smiley people tucking in to amazing food and enjoying the evening.
Imagine the invite. “Come along from 3-5pm for the opening.” Say Edward. We show up a little early, about 1400 but that’s fine as we camp ourselves out at the bar next door and watch the birth of a new restaurant – My Little Spanish Place Boat Quay. I mean literally. When we arrived it looked like this. Fans being fitted, lights going up, tables being sorted – it’s going to be tight… Lots of hustle and bustle. Actually feeling quite guilty sat here watching from so close, supping a beer. Sorry Edward.
And then look what happened. About 1515 it’s like the place has been open forever. My two were so eager to get in to have some of Edward’s food. I’m like just wait a minute and let the place open please. Eventually even I was getting those pangs of need so off we went to explore the new place – My Little Spanish Place, Boat Quay.
The great man, Mr Edward Esmero with my two. Now this for me is the absolute of the interior design of the new place – check out that open plan kitchen. Yep we grabbed a table right opposite and soaked in all the aromas as the food was being prepped and served, watched the skilled craftsmen of Edward and his staff carry out their work – all about 3 feet away. Loved this design. Genius! (Now the funny thing regards to this picture is that the time Ollie saw Edward, Edward was the taller of the two. Now look. Amy will be taller than him soon ha ha).
And here is a keeper for you Edward. Can so very tell you are so proud, and happy of the new place. Great snap this one. One for the album! But also seriously check that food about to be served – looks amazing doesn’t it. And it was, believe me – more on that in a minute.
Before I get to the food though here is Edward again with his partner – thanks all those that had come, for the support of his supplier and investors and luckily for us his friends. Note the little bad boy on the table in front of him. In traditional Spanish style (and Filipino) he cut the suckling pig up first with a plate and then threw that on the floor to smash it. Time for some Daddy-pedia – In Segovia, known for the famous Roman aqueduct, is where this ritual is reported as having started. ‘Cochinillos’, is the name of that little suckling we are all about to devour, a little pig, that is circa 3 weeks old and has literally only been fed on Mum’s milk. Now apparently this method of serving cochinillo happened completely by chance.
Apparently the famous restaurateur Cándido López introduced the style in the 1930s. One day he had forgotten his knife, so to show his customers how soft and delicate the flesh was he did indeed grab up a plate and chopped away. Of course it is indeed quite spectacle so always applause accompanies (as indeed it did for Edward), so it became common place for the chef to bring out the pig on a platter and chop with the plate and gain the following customer appreciation. Now on one day it is reported that, he was chopping as usual. some grease got on his hands from the crackling and plate slipped from his grasp, breaking on the floor. A major eruption took place from the crowd, thinking that this was all part of the show – and guess what it stuck, and now chefs all over the world copy that, and copy it to the sound of rapturous applause.
Nice one My Little Spanish Place – by the way when you visit Edward, you have to order the cochinillo – it really is rather good!!! Ha Ha…
See what I mean about classy. Truly love this open quality to the restaurant, there is no hiding anything in here from bar to kitchen it is all on display which makes the place even more inviting. You don’t come here just to dine, you are part of the end to end experience, that I love.
And we’re off to the food now. Lots of little tapas samplers that keep coming and coming.And we’re off to the food now. Lots of little tapas samplers that keep coming and coming – Edward apologies if I have missed any or got any wrong.
Bottom of the photo note the trademark of My Little Spanish Place, yes the there aged Iberica leg hams. But before we do we had; Tuna Tartare (stellar dish, even for this non lover of fish. Fragrant and fresh and served in the little cones you can see), Garlic Breads with Aioli (I think I had about 20 of these, you seriously just could not stop eating them, of course washed down with a refreshing beverage), Garlic Breads with Iberica Ham (thinly thinly sliced by hand, aged ham from the World famous black-footed pigs of Iberico – it truly does not get any better), Mushroom in Pastry Cases (these were incredible, like little pastry brick moulds that had then this creamy mushroom concoction spooned in so very carefully – dear me so very good), Spanish Tortilla (not like Mexican tortilla, this is actually Spanish omelette, that came with a little spoon of that garlic aioli gain – like no other omelette you’ll try again), of course our little friend Conchinillo came out later too, see later.
And here he is – turn away veggies. This little piggy has sacrificed himself to enable Edward and team to create some of the best I have eaten – laid atop two baking tins in a larger baking tin to allow the the fat to drip. In a medium over for 2.5 hours and then perhaps whack it up for last 10-15 minutes to crackling the skin – not to dissimilar to the pork belly I did – but maybe lose the intense heat piece at the end as tha would make the skin bubble up.
This little piggy has beautiful, unblemished skin. Little sample of this alone, some on garlic bread crackers, Amy even getting a leg (thanks Edward). The sacrifice he made was not given in vain, everybody loved this dish, as in everybody. Word of warning though – I think if you want to order this for dinner at Edward’s, I’d suggest you call ahead as sometimes they’ll need notice to bring the product in.
Seriously moist, seriously flavoursome and then crunch goes the crackling skin – OMG, as usual I can hear Frank Sinatra singing that song; “Heaven, I’m in heaven, and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak, and I seem to find the happiness I seek, when I visit Edward’s and eat suckling piglet cheek.”
Edward if this is not the best endorsement of your food quality I don’t know what is. Here is No1 daughter Amy Kennett, chowing down on that most delicious suckling piglet leg. She literally devoured it, she loved it so. I think you get that from the face remarks. Now even more impressive is this. Another sign of the true quality of the cooking is also the softness and moistness of this meat. You really hardly need to chew as it melts in your mouth. Again to the picture of Amy, true testimony to that is that she has no front teeth at the moment, but look at how she is chomping in to that leg – ha ha!
And of course I cannot finish an article about My Little Spanish Place without these. The 3 legs. The Spanish black-footed pigs from Iberia, Spain. Daddy-Pedia time again. Theses pigs live in Western and Southwestern Spain, in and around the provinces of Salamanca, Ciudad Real, Cáceres, Badajoz, Seville, Córdoba and Huelva.
They do also live in Portugal in the centre, but hey let’s just focus on Spain for this – after all it is called My Little Spanish Place. Immediately after the pigs are weaned and off the teat, they are fattened on barley and maize for several weeks. The lucky things are then allowed to roam in oak groves and fields to feed naturally on grass, herbs, acorns, and roots. When it’s slaughtering time the diet may be strictly limited to olives or acorns for the best quality jamón ibérico, or may be a mix of acorns and commercial feed for lesser qualities.
The legs from the slaughtered pigs are salted and then the drying process starts, which lasts for two weeks. After this they are rinsed and hung to dry for another four to six weeks. The curing process usually takes a minimum of twelve months. Some of the higher quality hams will cure for 48 months. And that is indeed what you get with Edward, a platter of three different aged hams. Believe you you really taste the difference. The oldest is deeper in colour, softer in texture, more intense with the salty porky flavour. Damn these are good.
Another beer please Edward, ha ha…
So readers – you know me. I usually only rave about what is good and in some cases exceptional. Mr Esmero is on the exceptional end of the scale. I highly recommend a trip to see him. If Bukit Timah and Club Street were a little too far, no excuse now with Boat Quay. All my fellow Siglapers/East Coasters – Number 12 bus, get off before the bridge of Boat Quay, over the bridge, down the stairs, 500 yards and you are there.
Quite possibly one of the best rides your likely to take on this island!!!