Working at the CBD area and finding an affordable food place in a comfortable ambience can be tough if you’re at Tanjong Pagar. A regular hangout spot, we visited The Essen @ Pinnacle (Pinnacle at Duxton), an upscale “hawker center” which is fully air-conditioned, provides free seating and is a great place to be to chill with friends or to go for a meal.
The Essen provides indoor and outdoor seating, and is has a variety of cuisines including Vietnamese, Thai, French and Western. It also serves alcohol; beer from the tap or bottled, wine and ciders, on top of your regular canned drink options. There’s something for everyone here!
Salted Egg Wings, $12.90 for 12
We started with appetizers from Two Wings, and opted for the Salted Egg option. Usually having the original, the Salted Egg option was truly addictive – it was the first dish we finished – the fried chicken was tossed in sauce (not drizzled on), and retains its crispiness while maintaining a juicy interior. Great on its own, you can choose to add a spicy twist with their home-made chilli sauce, which was delicious, spicy, and slightly reminded me of Ban Mian chilli. At S$12.90, it was decently priced. However, my pet peeve is that the 12 pieces comes in halves – so you’re only getting 6 full wings, which makes this pretty expensive.
Parma Ham, Cheese Pizza from La Stalla, $34 for 2
The next round of appetisers comes from La Stalla. We ordered a Parma Ham and Cheese Pizza, enough to feed 6 of us for round 2 of appetisers. We collected it after a short wait, but was not blown away. Personally, I found the crust to be too dry at the edges, and the pizza too thin. On the Cheese Pizza, it feels like I’m eating cheap melted cheese. The Parma Ham pizza was significantly better, but nothing to scream about. Overall, average pizzas good enough to pass, but not something that I’ll come back for.
Nachos Con Carne, Level 2 (Hot) Spiciness, Burger Buddies, $10.9
Burger Buddies is my favourite restaurant in The Essen, but their Nachos are pretty subpar. The Nachos has a stale texture with no crunch, and it quickly became an abandoned dish as everyone was turned off after one taste. The chilli on top is pretty alright, but overall I would not order this again, especially at this price point. However, they serve AMAZING burgers, which is my main course (later in this post).
Tuna Salad, Garçons $12.50
Next on the list, Tuna Salad from Garçons, a French store that serves premium quality food at a low price. In my excitement, I took a blur photo. The tuna was EXCELLENT and was one of the best I’ve had. They also served eggs on the side in a Japanese Soft Boiled style, which went well with the entire dish. Everyone agreed that this was one of the better dishes of the night and at $12.50, offered excellent value.
Foie Gras, Garçons, $16.90
Again from Garçons, the foie gras/salad combination was an excellent dish. The foie gras was perfectly grilled on the outside with a creamy interior, and provided a perfect combination with toasted bread. This was enough to whet my appetite, and is a dish that will keep me coming back for more.
Cheeseburger (add egg), Burger Buddies, $13.9 + $1
The Cheeseburger from Burger Buddies is easily the tastiest, most value for money and one of the best burgers in Singapore. Using premium beef and a choice of doneness for your burger (I went with medium rare), the burger, in my opinion, is a better burger choice than any other burger place in Singapore, easily crushing Fat Boys and has better value than Omakase Burger. With an egg added, the ooze from the yolk provided a good blend with its toasted bun and quality ingredients. With a choice of fries or salad on the side and its price point, it is no wonder that this is one of the more popular stores in The Essen.
Pad Thai | Viethai, 8.90
The Pad Thai at Viethai was relatively average, but its strongest point is that it is probably the cheapest meal here. I would select other options unless I have a strong craving for Pad Thai.
Our entire meal was paired with 2 bottles of wine and ciders available at The Essen’s bar/drink store, making The Essen a whole package worth coming for.
With its variety, affordable food and comfortable indoor (air-conditioned) or outdoor seats to choose from, the Essen is family, friends and work-friendly place to hang out at. With options for everyone, it’s easy to come to a place that is accessible, affordable and chill. With a projector showing the latest soccer game, alcohol and many options, The Essen is my favourite affordable place in Tanjong Pagar.
The Essen @ Pinnacle
1 Cantonment Rd #01-01, 080001 (5 minute walk from Tanjong Pagar MRT)
10:30 am ~ 11:00 pm
Tanjong Pagar MRT Station (EW15) take Exit A and walk towards The Pinnacle @ Duxton. Opposite Maritime House Bus stop number: 0551975, 167, 196 walk towards Block 1D.