It was a Mediterranean-style Mother’s Day celebration with Mom. The venue of choice was Marinero, a newly opened restaurant specialising in Mediterranean fare at LaLaport Bukit Bintang City Centre (BBCC).
The food got Mom’s stamp of approval – a good sign as she can be rather picky when it comes to non-Chinese fare. She loves the spacious dining area which is dominated by a circular bar.
Eye-catching wall murals depicting scenes of Mediterranean life are Insta-worthy. One corner is dedicated to a modern wine cellar with its cachet of fine wines.
To whet our appetite, we sampled crisp, battered Calamari Fritters (RM30). Served with lemon mayonnaise, the tender squid rings went down a treat. Even better was the heap of zucchini strips - that airy light batter would make any tempura master proud.
Mom gamely tried the Trio Dips Platter with Pita Bread (RM49) and gave it the thumbs up. Her favourite was melitzanosalata (Greek eggplant dip) but found both the hummus (chickpea purée), and tzatziki (shredded cucumber with yoghurt) agreeable when spread onto the soft triangles of lightly toasted pita bread.
Moroccan Lamb Kofta (RM35) made from ground lamb mixed with spices then grilled on skewers – proved to be another winsome appetiser. The house peri peri sauce bestowed a touch of fiery heat when we dabbed the kofta with it.
The only minor hiccup was the underwhelming Watermelon Salad (RM28): the crumbly bits of feta barely left an impression whilst the chunks of watermelon, too big and the sumac vinaigrette and balsamic reduction, too little. We shared the feedback with the Marinero team who promised to improve on this.
For mains, we highly recommend Moroccan Lamb Shank (RM95) with Apricot Cous Cous (the other option is Biryani Rice). The fall-off-the-bone tender lamb shank was scrumptious; its rich meaty flavours nicely soaked up by the fine cous cous studded with dried apricots. Smooth, thick Greek yoghurt sprinkled with pomegranate seeds enhanced the dish further.
Infused with saffron, the Seafood Paella (RM99) came laden with mussels, squid, fish and tiger prawns in addition to red capsicum and peas. What we missed from this deliciously comforting speciality is socarrat, that layer of slightly scorched, crusty rice at the bottom of the pan.
Our meal wrapped up on a high note thanks to the excellent Chocolate Fondant (RM28). Served with a scoop of chocolate gelato, chocolate crumbs and some fresh berries, we were stoked when molten chocolate actually flowed out once we cut into the cake. Few places do this dessert well so kudos to the resto team for pulling this off.
A round of buttery phyllo pastry, chopped pistachios and juicy berries crowned with luscious Vanilla Gelato (RM25) proved a tad indulgent but this sublime treat is shareable when you embark on a Mediterranean culinary “cruise” at Marinero.
For reservations at Marinero Mediterranean Dining & Bar, call 012 673 0046 or visit: https://marinerokl.my/
Address: Gourmet Street of BBCC, Lot G-49,50,77, Ground Floor, Mitsui Shopping Park LaLaport, Jalan Hang Tuah, Kuala Lumpur. Business hours: 1130 am to 11pm; weekends until 12midnight