Restau­rant Re­views

Expatriate Lifestyle - - Contents -

Span­ish cui­sine is one of the most pop­u­lar in the world and it would be a grave mis­take to think that the only dishes the coun­try is known for are tor­tilla and paella. That’s not to say that these aren’t the most de­li­cious ex­am­ples of how sim­ple in­gre­di­ents like eggs, pota­toes and rice can be utilised to great culi­nary ef­fect...if done cor­rectly!

Marta’s Kitchen has re­cently moved to spank­ing new premises just across where the orig­i­nal restau­rant was, which is a tes­ta­ment to the phe­nom­e­nal suc­cess it’s en­joy­ing. As with ev­ery suc­cess­ful eatery, there’s al­ways a strug­gle to keep din­ers happy and re­turn­ing, and to en­sure that qual­ity, price and taste is al­ways on point. I can con­fi­dently say that I have never had a bad meal here; and if the Span­ish eat here and sing its praises too, then who are we to dis­agree?

Pro­pri­etor/chef Marta takes real pride in her food and uses qual­ity in­gre­di­ents and pro­duce. Tapas and paella are what din­ers come for and the se­lec­tion of small eats of­fers ev­ery­thing from the eas­ily recog­nis­able, like tor­tilla and the clas­sic Span­ish omelette, to the more elab­o­rate com­bi­na­tions like pork loin with Manchego cheese and Iberico ham.

The restau­rant it­self is a bright, happy space and is of­ten packed, par­tic­u­larly dur­ing week­end nights. Hav­ing gone re­cently with peo­ple who hadn’t had the plea­sure, we went to town with the menu and the stand­out dish that night was the pulpo a la Gal­lega. This is the sig­na­ture dish of the re­gion of Gali­cia in the north­west of Spain and is ba­si­cally boiled oc­to­pus on a bed of mashed potato sprin­kled with sea salt, olive oil and pi­mento (Span­ish pa­prika). Even if you think you don’t like oc­to­pus be­cause it’s chewy, Marta’s ver­sion is ten­der and very fresh.

Cro­que­tas are an­other great Span­ish culi­nary in­sti­tu­tion. Sim­ply put, these are deep-fried balls of lus­cious béchamel (thicker than what is usu­ally used for sauces) and you can have them here with ei­ther mush­room and chicken or ham. Chances are you may need more than one serv­ing!

Pimien­tos de Padron are pep­pers (usu­ally not too spicy) from Gali­cia, sim­ply pan-fried till they blis­ter be­fore be­ing served with sea salt and olive oil. This is a dish not of­ten found in Span­ish restau­rants abroad so be sure to or­der a plate at Marta’s and look out for the rene­gade spicy one!

Veer­ing away from the tapas, din­ers come here for one of the most fa­mous Span­ish dishes – paella. Named af­ter the flat pan it’s cooked in, this na­tive of Va­len­cia (the rice-grow­ing area of Spain), is a heady com­bi­na­tion of rice, chicken, seafood and veg­eta­bles flavoured with saf­fron. There are two types on of­fer here – the clas­sic Va­len­ciana and the squid ink ver­sion.

You’ve done the tapas and paella so on to dessert! The chur­ros here are un­doubt­edly the most pop­u­lar end to the meal. They’re light, per­fectly fried and best eaten pip­ing hot. I pre­fer them with sugar and cin­na­mon but it’s said that with melted Val­rhona choco­late, they’re pretty damn good too! CARAMELLA SCARPA The Sig­na­ture, Jalan Sri Har­ta­mas 22, Desa Sri Har­ta­mas Tel: 03-6411 0832 www.face­­task­itchenin­kl­paellabar

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