Experience Winter at Esora With Its Latest Menu – Here’s Our Review

Entering the one Michelin-starred Esora feels like stepping into a dreamscape of the Japanese winter. Its newly launched Winter menu, crafted by Chef Takeshi Araki, goes beyond mere dining; it’s an immersive journey transporting you to snow-covered landscapes and cosy hearths.

chef takeshi araki
Chef Takeshi Araki

Each dish presented is a meticulously composed haiku, capturing a fleeting moment of seasonal beauty captured on a plate.

esora venue
Esora (Photo by Esora)

Esora embraces the philosophy of kisetsukan, shaping every aspect from the menu to the presentation and even the decor. Emphasising “shun” – the deep understanding of when ingredients are at their peak freshness – the restaurant ensures a harmonious culinary experience.

A symphony of tastes and textures

Every season at Esora commences with a bonito dashi highlighted by a seasonal ingredient of Chef Araki’s choice. For winter, the dashi is prepared with light and smoky bonito, infused with seasonal hamaguri clam.

The comforting soup, invigorated with yellow yuzu zest, feels like a gentle awakening to the palate.

foie gras monaka
Foie Gras Monaka (Photo by AVENUE ONE)

The signature Foie Gras Monaka delights with the Maison Mitteault foie gras torchon base filling, with kumquat as the key seasonal ingredient. The two ingredients offer a playful textural interplay of smooth richness and sweet-tart tang.

esora review snowcrab
Snowcrab (Photo by AVENUE ONE)

Next, the Snowcrab, a delectable cold dish that celebrates winter’s bounty, showcases the pristine sweetness of the prized Matsuba snow crab at the peak of season. This is accentuated by the earthy notes of black vinegar jelly and the pristine sweetness of snow spinach (chijimi horenso).

esora review fugu
Fugu, with a jar of kanzuri in the background (Photo by AVENUE ONE)

The deep-fried Fugu (puffer fish) highlights two “shun” ingredients: the fugu and kanzuri.

The prime time for fugu, for those who are not familiar, is from December to February. During this period, fugu accumulates fat to endure the chilly weather.

The fish undergoes marination with kanzuri, a fermented chili paste condiment from Niigata, and is subsequently coated with flour before being deep-fried.

This delightful dish offers marvellous texture and I love how the fish boasts crispness that gives way to melt-in-your-mouth flakiness. The kanzuri adds a welcome burst of brightness.

esora winter hassun
Esora Winter Hassun (Photo by AVENUE ONE)

The Esora Winter Hassun presents a visually stunning spread, and is a feast for the eyes and the palate.

From the deep-fried blue eggplant glazed with lobster butter and uni to the creamy indulgence of ankimo with winter vegetables, each bite is a celebration of seasonal ingredients.

esora review kasujiru
Kasujiru (Photo by AVENUE ONE)

Following which, the Kasujiru, a comforting bowl of sake lees soup is served. This is a traditional winter dish from Japan, especially in the Kansai region, to keep the body warm.

The dish comes with a slice of dashi-braised awabi, dashi-marinated daikon, carrots, and kuro shichimi. Then, a deep flavoured, collagenic broth made with sea bream stock, shiro miso (white miso), grated ginger, garlic, and sake lees is poured tableside for the guests, enveloping the ingredients in a soothing embrace.

The fish dish of the season features the Akamutsu. The black throat sea perch may be tasty at any season, the “shun” for this fish is no doubt from winter to spring, when it’s at its fattest.

Cooked to perfection, the fish is coated with a delicate layer of Japanese puff rice for a light but crisp texture and lightly seasoned before being chargrilled over the binchotan, which gives this dish a subtle smokiness.

esora review omi wagyu
Omi Wagyu (Photo by AVENUE ONE)

No Esora experience is complete without the Omi Wagyu. A mainstay at the restaurant, the prized Sandai beef is recognised as one of the three masterpieces of Japanese Wagyu and in this rendition, is served with a seasonal winter garnish.

This dish is inspired by the joy of eating a sukiyaki in winter, as the A5 beef is beautifully complemented by the sukiyaki sauce, served with a side of egg yolk sauce, shungiku (chrysanthemum green) sauce, chargrilled maitake mushroom, and charred pecoros onion, evoking the joy of a shared meal around a warm hearth.

esora review donabe
Donabe (Photo by AVENUE ONE)

This season’s Donabe at Esora features the anago eel (saltwater eel), a famous fish from Tokyo Bay during the Edo era.

Cooked with eel stock that’s made with grilled fish head and bones, the donabe is topped with chopped herbs of oba, mitsuba, negi, chives, myoga, and shoga. Chargrilled anago is placed on top before serving and upon portioning, the chef adds wasabi and seaweed into each bowl, with dashi sauce cooked with anago bones and shoyu.

esora review setoka
Setoka (Photo by AVENUE ONE)

As we approach the end of the fabulous meal, a refreshing pre-dessert – the Setoka – was served. A refreshing sorbet palate cleanser, the sweet and tangy setoka segments dancing on the tongue with the gentle coolness of the yuzu snow ice cream.

esora review sweet potato
Sweet Potato (Photo by AVENUE ONE)

The Sweet Potato serves as the perfect sweet ending to this winter-inspired meal. A nostalgic nod to winter nights spent gathered around the fireplace, the caramelised sweet potato and red bean paste offer comforting warmth, while the smoky infusion of bancha tea lets me “smell” the fireplace while enjoying the dish – a delightful engagement of more senses during the meal.

Tea-pairing at Esora

esora tea programme
Tea programme (Photo by Esora)

Esora offers a unique tea-pairing experience, allowing patrons to explore teas from around the world, enhancing the flavours of each dish.

The meticulously curated experience for this meal allowed me to try teas from all over the world: from the light and delicate Jin Xuan from Taiwan, the tannic and musky Darjeeling from India, and the subtly leafy and sweet Genmaicha from Japan. The tea pairing was memorable and I’d recommend for you to try it too when you visit.

Esora is located at 15 Mohamed Sultan Road, Singapore 238964. The ten-course dinner menu is priced at S$368++ and the nine-course lunch menu is priced at S$328++. Beverage pairing starts from S$88++ for tea pairing.