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Happy Birthday Jakooleenu!

posted Jul 1, 2012, 12:45 AM by jj pionke
That's a sort of transliteration from Japanese of Jacquelyn.  Jac is the friend I visited in KL a week or so ago.  Anyway, it's her 30th birthday and her and Bruno came down to Singapore to celebrate.  They were off doing things all day while I was packing, cleaning, doing laundry, and listening to the rain.  Jac told me to meet her at Esquina.  You can check out the website for complete details, but let's say that this place is not inexpensive by any stretch of any imagination.  I was roughly on time but the place was packed the waiting time for a table was an hour.  We left a cell phone number with the hostess, who was really quite nice, and walked across the street to what turned out to be a karaoke box.  The walls were covered in plastic grass.  It was interesting to say the least.  Bruno checked on the hostess at Esquina after 30 minutes and there was a table ready so we went over and landed up changing tables 3 times, but 3rd time is a charm.  The head chef is an Irishman and spent some time in NYC.

I would say that the menu was exotic.  Jac and Bruno ordered some seafood dishes as well as veal shortbreads, ox cheek and tongue, and these fantastic little ham and cheese croquettes that were to die for.  I had sourdough bread with aioli for starters and then had ribeye with garlic and roasted rosemary leaves (and other things, the menu on the website doesn't appear to be quite up to date).  It was fantastic.  The meat just melted in my mouth like candy.  I was a bit concerned that the garlic was going to do a number on my stomach but it was like all the bite was gone from it and left in it's place was a gentle mellow taste.  I mostly stuck with water all night as I did need to take my malaria medication and it was only the second night on it.  A nurse friend told me to take it only on a full stomach and she was most definitely right.  My gut has hurt both times after taking it but it was very easily manageable.  I can't imagine what it would be like on an empty stomach.  Anyway, I was trying to be a bit gentle with my stomach.  We were good sports about the waiting and a few other things.  At the end of dinner, we did a champaign toast and this was followed by this sangria ice cream that was a refreshing delight as well as a very sweet sherry (I think that is what it was).  We met the chef who, when asked about a good place for a cocktail, had good things to say about 28 Hong Kong St.  He texted the guy in charge, Mike, that we were coming.  We took a cab over.

28 Hong Kong St is this very understated and very chic cocktail lounge.  It's a place where people like me don't go.  It's young, hip, and everyone is dressed to impress.  I was dressed for comfort - shorts, gym shoes, my Michigan t-shirt (the only all cotton tshirt I have with me).  Still, the service was impeccable and the cocktails were brilliant.  I had a what amounts to a fancy gin and tonic (keeping with the antimalarial theme).  It was a fantastic drink.  It had gin, lemon citrus of some kind, and honey syrup.  Jac was on an Old Fashioned kick, which Bruno made fun of and he tried two different cocktails while I was there, one of which came with Baby's Breath in it.  These weren't large cocktails but after drinking most of mine, I was feeling pretty buzzed so I took my leave.  It took forever to find a cab home but eventually I got there.

I had a lovely time with my friends filled with good food, good booze, laughter, stories.  A good night overall.  Happy Birthday Jac!  Here's to the next 30!