The 19th Hole
Here’s a Spanish restaurant that serves an authentic paella and much more.
Spanish food cooked with heart and soul.
Of all the great global cuisines, Spanish dishes and restaurants are underrepresented in Malaysia but the new and expanded Marta’s in Mont’ Kiara has changed all of that.
“Mega” Marta’s has just replaced “Mini” Marta’s as the original restaurant has moved into much bigger premises in an out-of-the-way location at the ground level of The Signature in Mont’ Kiara.
Marta’s Kitchen is owned and operated by the Spanish expat and her Dutch husband and their love and commitment to the food, beverages and service is very obvious. It is worth noting that like many cuisines from around the globe, Spanish food is regional so that many dishes most of us associate with Spain are actually only traditionally available in one part of Spain (just as in Malaysia, while Sarawak laksa maybe available all over the country; the best comes from Sarawak). So a classic Spanish dish such as paella is best from Valencia.
FOOD, WINE AND BEER
In a Spanish restaurant, the bar is the soul of the outlet; a place to chat, to meet people and for people to come together. Beer and wine are
important components of a night out at Marta’s and sangria is a deliciously fruity beverage that makes an ideal accompaniment to Spanish food. Three variations on the theme are offered here – red, white and sparkling (with the additional of cava). The red was rich, fruity and easy to drink; maybe too easy (sangria is available by the glass or in generous jugs of 850 ml).
Various beers are also served on tap with the delicious French Kronenbourg Blanc being a favourite of 19th Hole. Draught Carlsberg and Somerset Cider are also poured and happy hours prices (three Carlsberg pints for RM55). Understandably, the wine list is basically Spanish but with so many excellent wines from Spain, no one will complain. Cold-pressed juices, iced teas, smoothies, sodas, cocktails and coffees are also served. There is a comprehensive and tempting list of artisanal gins too such as Siderit London Dry Gin. One of the visually exciting cocktails is made from vodka and triple sec and served in a glass that resembles a light globe on steroids.
While the drinking here is laidback and leisurely, the food as important; perhaps more important for most. Drinkers will enjoy the many small accompaniments and more substantive mains.It wouldn’t be Spanish without tapas or pintxos and Marta’s has a very tempting selection of bitesized treats.
It’s only natural to start with some sharing dishes such as tapas such as spicy potatoes, creamy aioli and tomato sauce, garlic tiger prawns in oil with chilli and garlic, potato tortilla and chorizo, Galician octopus with creamy mashed potato and, salads such as blue cheese and nuts.
One of several signature dishes is the legendary Iberico pork ribs served as a half or full platter. Delicately marinated and cooked to their caramalised perfection, these juicy pork ribs have to be the best in Kuala Lumpur. Diners need to plan ahead with this dish as they need five hours to prepare and cook so ring ahead.
Some other stand out dishes include the pasta with meat balls topped with flavoursome sauce and Manchego cheese and, the essential paella. Being the traditionalist that Marta is, it is surprising that she uses sushi rice to prepare the dish and not Spanish, but it
works. Her Valencia paella is brimming with fresh seafood such as mussels, calamari and prawns.
Don’t leave without sampling such delights like crema Catalona, an orangeflavoured flan and churros with hot Belgium dip.
The setting features a large contemporary-styled space with high ceilings and windows from the floor to ceiling. These open on one side onto some greenery and the highway through to the Taman Tun tunnel. There is a large glassed-in show kitchen so patrons can watch all the action in the ever-busy cooking area where Marta holds court.
Marta hails from Salamanca and is passionate about homestyled cooking. Welcoming visitors into the home is important in Spain and guests often measure hospitality by the food served. So too with the food served in Marta’s Kitchen as diners get a small measure of the personality of the chef with each dish. It is cooking prepared in the hearth and served from the heart.
This bar/restaurant appeals for many reasons. Firstly, the food is fabulously authentic and good with passion by Marta and her team. There is ample parking (a rarity in Sri Hartamas) and the outlet is very spacious with an airconditioned interior and outside seating under umbrellas.
Marta’s Kitchen is not easy to find but look for the landmark The Signature service-apartments that adjoins the Shell service station. The Signature is the tallest building on this side of Sri Hartamas and Marta’s Kitchen is located at the arrival concourse and there is lots of parking below and staff will organise to chop your parking ticket.
Prices include service charge and government tax.
December is a month of festivities and Marta’s Kitchen is celebrating with a special menu featuring imported oysters, mussels from the USA and roasted turkey stuffed with Iberico ham. Book early for Christmas and New Year festivities as Marta’s Kitchen is a very popular addition to the Sri Hartamas dining landscape.
Photographs by Patrick Chan
Marta’s Kitchen The Signature 3 Jalan Hartamas 22, Desa Sri Hartamas 50480 Kuala Lumpur T: +60 3 6411-0832 Marta’s Kitchen is open daily from 11.30 am to 11.30pm.