The fer­vour of a Cat­alo­nian chef, tan­ta­lis­ing cock­tails, and de­lec­ta­ble bites make for a finely cu­rated mix. Head chef Toni Valero Ruiz gives BAZAAR a taste of Spain at KL’s hottest new Mediter­ranean restau­rant, Ohla Tapas & Cock­tails. By Sharmita Summu

Harper’s Bazaar (Malaysia) - - The Fashionable Life Bazaar -

THE HER­ITAGE I am in­flu­enced by Cat­alo­nian cui­sine and that from the South of Spain, be­cause my par­ents are from there.

Most of my child­hood sum­mers were spent in the south­ern re­gion and that is where my love for Iberico

orig­i­nated from. Mix that with my ex­pe­ri­ences mas­tered in Donos­tia, the mecca for tapas, Ohla is a won­der­ful mix of dif­fer­ent parts of Spain.

SPAN­ISH CUI­SINE It is dif­fi­cult to truly de­fine what is Span­ish food. But if we are talk­ing about tapas, it’s all about shar­ing

food. It is the norm for us to go to bars, and share mo­ments with friends and fam­ily over food and wine.

PER­FECT TIP­PLE The Gin & Tonic at Ohla! It is made with Siderit, a gin from the north of Spain. The Re­bu­jito cock­tail is also a favourite. It is a sexy mix of sherry, ver­mouth, Sprite, cala­mansi, and mint.

FU­SION SUR­PRISE Spa­niards love their pork. This Chi­nese New Year, we cre­ated a spe­cial treat. I made Iberico suck­ling pig dim sum with skin made from fat in­stead of wa­ter.

OHLA’S TAPAS Our menu is an eclec­tic mix of tra­di­tional flavours with a mod­ern twist. In Spain we’d call it a gas­tro­bar!

MICHE­LIN EX­PE­RI­ENCE Work­ing at El Celler de Can Roca (three Miche­lin stars) and Mu­garitz (two Miche­lin stars) were high­lights of my

Chef Toni Valero Ruiz, head chef of Ohla Tapas & Cock­tails

Chef Ruiz at work, cre­at­ing his tapas

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