Showing posts with label tapas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label tapas. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 26, 2024

SPANISH TAPAS AT AC LOUNGE

Tapas, meaning snacks or appetisers in Spanish, has evolved into a culinary artform at bars and restaurants around the world. Derived from the Spanish verb tapar (to cover), tapas initially constituted a piece of bread or sliced meat set atop one’s drink to keep flies away. The tapas selection eventually expanded as bartenders proffer them to encourage patrons to drink more.
Today, one can enjoy a tempting array of tapas at the AC Lounge (AC stands for Antonio Catalan) starting from 2.30 pm daily. Thanks to the inimitable touch of culinary consultant Angie Hiew, AC Lounge’s tapas menu makes this cosy hotel lounge a compelling spot to indulge in hors d'oeuvres and drinks with a Spanish spin.
Simple yet flavourful Classic Tomato Bruschetta (RM15) heralded a vivacious start to our sess. We made quick work of the toasted baguette topped with juicy chitose tomatoes marinated in olive oil, garlic, and herbs.
Wading into the AC Grazing Platter (RM50), we had a field day nibbling on three types of cheese, smoked salmon, lamb prosciutto, dried fruits, grapes, strawberries, nuts and crackers. Perfect fuel to spur convivial conversation and the sharing of bon-mots among our dining party.
Not all meatballs are created equal and I daresay the Albondigas (RM45) were out of the park. Juicy with a noticeably meltingly-tender mouthfeel, the wagyu beef meatballs simmered in a chunky tomato sauce aptly captured the essence of Spanish cuisine.
Another winsome must-try dish is Braised Beef Cheek (RM45). Hiew's culinary métier shone through as every bite of the slow-cooked speciality rewarded us with richly tender, deeply flavourful meat. Hints of red wine melded with natural meaty jus were discernible the longer we chewed
The visually appealing Seafood Paella (RM50) also floated our boat. We enjoyed the fragrant saffron-infused rice; its delicate spice sweetness was amped up by assorted succulent seafood: clams, mussels, prawns and squid, in addition to some tender asparagus.

We had no complaints with the sumptuous Gambas Al Ajillo (RM30) either. The irresistibly springy garlic prawns in garlic-infused olive oil should make a dream pairing with a crisp, semi-dry white wine.

An instantly likeable Chicken with Aioli (RM25) comprising tender boneless chicken with delightfully crispy skin also met with all round approval. The delicious chicken paired well with the lush, creamy house-made aioli.
Our merry feast then wrapped up with Churros (RM20) served with Chocolate Sauce. The cinnamon sugar-dusted, deep-fried dough fritters were sublime when dipped into melted chocolate.
Available from 2.30 pm to 10 pm, the AC Lounge’s tapas menu is also served at other AC Hotels in Penang and Kuantan.
For more information and reservations, call AC Lounge, tel: 03-40428000. Address: AC Hotel by Marriott Kuala Lumpur, 8, Jalan Lumut, Off Jalan Ipoh, Kuala Lumpur.

 

Thursday, June 28, 2018

SOUL FOOD JAZZES UP SOULIQUID


Like a sunburst when viewed from overhead, Souliquid's curtain-raiser of Chilli Chilli Bang Bang (RM18) dazzles our palate with its vivacious taste. The triangles of deep-fried tortilla chips are handy vessels for piling on the zingy, well-spiced Bolognaise-style tomato and pork mince sauce. Baked under a layer of melty cheese, the tastebud-tickling serving leaves us wondering what other wondrous stuff lies in wait at Souliquid Restaurant & Bar.
Opened in August 2016, Souliquid's cool, laidback vibes are evoked through comfy violet-hued couches, plush armchairs and coffee tables interspersed with high bar stools and timber-cut tables. To capture the ‘every drink has its soul’ spirit of their outpost, the owners of Souliquid envisioned it as a serene mellow-lit haven to cherish and enjoy popular tipples: beer, wine, liquor and non-alcoholic beverages coupled with live performances of Canto and Mando-jazz, Bossa Nova and classic oldies in the evenings. 
 
Hot on the heels of the opening volley comes Gambas Al Pilpil (RM28), a tapas of prawns in minced garlic and Italian herbs with bruschetta slices. The coy nuances of garlic, extra virgin olive oil, dried herbs and chilli flakes allow the prawny sweetness to shine.
 
Brochette (RM38) is another winsome speciality. Served with robust tabasco-pineapple sauce, the crisp bacon-wrapped prawns go swimmingly with cold beer or chilled white wine.
 
Chef Matthew Wan then raises the bar on pizza – a main gastropub staple – by melding blue cheese, parmesan and mozzarella to pack his distinctive Shrimp Pizza (RM35) with heady umami savouriness.
 
Yet, the subsequent Nyonya Pasta (RM28) manages to hold its own against such a strong onslaught on the palate. Lushly coated in creamy, assertively spice paste specially ordered from Melaka, the fragrance of lemongrass and kaffir lime leaf is noticeable as we slurp up the noodles garnished with tender mussels.
 
Porcine fans will be in seventh heaven as Souliquid takes great pride in its pork-laden selection especially the Pork Lover Platter (RM148). Conceived for communal sharing, nobody will leave feeling hungry after wading through the crispy pork knuckle, meatloaf, 3 types of sausages: baconwurst, Nuremberger and Hungarian, spindly wedges, sauerkraut, corn on the cob and a side salad.
A saner go-to choice for small dining groups is the Garlic Herbed Roast Pork Knuckle (RM79). According to Chef Matthew, each pork knuckle (weighing about 1.7kg) is braised for 2 hours in stock before the hefty hunk is deep-fried to crisp up the skin and then baked to render the meat moist and juicy.
 
Those of you who prefer not to fiddle with bones will find Souiliquid Meat Balls (RM20) more appealing. Slightly bigger than golf balls, the rosemary and mixed herb minced pork balls are delicious; set in tangy, aromatic chunky tomato-based sauce.
 
Stellar lamb dishes to try here include Guinness Braised Lamb Shank (RM48) and Grilled Lamb Rack (RM58). We recommend the former for the toothsomely tender lamb meat suffused with thick, dark and flavourful malty gravy. The latter is excellent as well with three pieces of the medium-cooked, French-cut lamb nicely seasoned and touched with a sublime sauce of honey, fruit purée and mustard.
 
Lighter on the palate is Chicken Cordon Bleu (RM33), a surprisingly agreeable serving of chicken breast rolled with chicken ham and mozzarella enveloped in crisp battered crust. The accompanying garlic mushroom sauce proves worthwhile in lending moistness and notable flavour to the dish.
 
Special promotions are available periodically so be sure to ask the team for more info. During our visit, the Cheese Platter Set (RM199) came paired with a young, supple Marqués de Càrceres -- a smooth, velvety Rioja to complement slices of pork salami or Parma ham, red and white cheddar, camembert and blue cheese atop crackers.
Souliquid also has Set Lunches on weekdays from 12 noon to 3 pm, starting from RM13.90 upwards. Jazz performances from Sun-Thurs 9pm-11.30pm; Fri & Sat 9.30pm-12midnight.
For reservations, call Souliquid Restaurant & Bar, tel: 03 8066 8883. Souliquid Restaurant & Bar is located at Lot 1, Ground Floor, Tower 3@Puchong Financial Corporate Centre (PFCC), Jalan Puteri 1/2, Puchong Batu 12, Selangor. (Note: turn to your right after exiting the main entrance of Four Points Sheraton Puchong Hotel)

Saturday, November 25, 2017

BAIT REELS YOU IN AT THE INTERMARK







Sangria is always a good idea. Especially after battling rush hour traffic. Two carafes of the boozy drink boosted our spirits as we sat down to a much anticipated dinner at Bait. Sibling outlet to the one in Bangsar, this new outpost is already reeling diners in...the place was humming with a palpable sense of conviviality the weeknight of our visit.
 
Executive Chef Logan Terence Lopez promised us a feast and proceeded to exceed his side of the bargain. Living up to Bait’s core focus that is fresh seafood, Chef Logan opened his showcase with a sumptuous selection of imported Oysters from Ireland and France. 
 
Freshly shucked and served on half shells, the molluscs were meaty and slippery succulent, teasing our palate with delicate nuances of the sea. We savoured some au naturel and slurped others up with a dash of freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Hot on their heels came a succession of tapas-style Small Plates that would please Captain Jack Sparrow. Our dining party were hard pressed to choose our faves but we fell hook, line and sinker for the dark-as-night Cuttlefish (RM30 nett) braised in squid ink gravy with pan-fried polenta. The textural contrasts of this unique ensemble raised them a cut above the rest.
Stuffed with paella & cheese, the bright, robust flavours and myriad of textures of Baby Squid (RM28 nett) in paprika sauce conjured up cheery images of sunny Spain.
Eggplant Maghmour (RM16 nett) - Lebanese moussaka enlivened with smoked tomato ragout and mashed chickpea proffered complicit appeal with Garlic Melba Toast (RM10 nett). Smeared with garlic cream, grated nutmeg and chilli flakes, the crunchy slices hit the spot for us. 
Another feeding frenzy followed when servings of Soft Cheese Bruschetta (RM15 nett) with cherry tomato coulis, mozzarella & basil,  Patatas Brava (RM22 nett) with spicy tomato pesto and sautéed beef chorizo and  Prawn Mango Salad (RM26 nett) featuring watercress, grilled prawns, Indian mango & honey mustard dressing appeared at our table.
Miraculously, we managed to put away the delicious Stuffed Lamb (RM30 nett) in roasted sweet peppers, blue cheese sauce and balsamic glaze too. Who could withstand such irresistible accents of smoky sweetness, rich savouriness and muted tanginess in one go? 
 
For me, the prized catch at Bait has to be the Baked Sole (RM79 nett). The flatfish's natural sea-sweetness proved good quality ingredients rarely need superfluous "dressing" but anointed with  garlic, chilli & Spanish parsley, it was sublime. The supporting cast of cherrystone clams floated our boat further.
 
Despite my valiant attempt, I couldn't take to the sourish Wild Mushroom Soup (RM25). My palate just refused to accept the unwelcome presence of carrot, celery & tomato in the earthy broth topped with cheese espuma.
Gastronomic salvation appeared in the form of Fettucini Squid Ink (RM62 nett) with baby squid ragout, smoked pepper and bottarga. Never mind the ebony-black mess - the pasta tasted so lush and silky, we lapped everything up instantly.
After such highs, the Grilled Perch Souvlaki (RM48 nett) with roasted pepper, tomato gravy and coriander dip was underwhelming. It was artistically presented and deserved a chance to be sampled under normal circumstances.
For the office crowd, Bait dangles great value lunch deals to draw them through the door. Starting from RM29 nett, options include Perch Fillet Fish & Chips to the moreish Set Lunch of Jumbo Prawn Curry Laksa (RM49 nett) consisting of gluten-free rice noodles, spiced Nyonya curry and fresh vegetables or Wagyu Beef Steak (120g) Sandwich with melted raclette cheese, sautéed mushroom and dill pickles. The set lunch includes appetiser or soup of the day and coffee/tea/soft drink. 
For reservations, call BAIT INTERMARK, tel: 03-2181 1268. Address: Lot G-19, Ground Floor, The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, KL. Biz hours: Daily from 11am to 11pm

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