Most of you are surely thinking, ‘what is so Malaysian about Tapas Club?’ We understand where you are coming from. The name itself clearly shows that it is indeed a Spanish restaurant. Don’t judge too quickly because you never know what treasures you may find there.
When given the opportunity to dine there, we spotted not just one but 4 specialty dishes, prepared with much love and care by Tapas Club’s Head Chef Gabriel Bonnin, that very much reminded us of Malaysia.
1. Garlic Prawns
Despite its obvious Spanish influence, we cannot help but imagine eating this delectable tapas dish with some hot rice and fresh petai on the side (if you dare!). The prawns are coated generously with a sauce made with rich prawn broth that is both sweet and sour with a subtle hint of spiciness that just completes the whole experience.
2. Chicken and Seafood Paella
Now, the next dish in our very short list is the classic traditional dish that has become the point of pride for any Spaniard, the paella. Paella is believed to be created by the Moorish conquerors in Valencia who felt no food should be wasted. So, what did they do? They put some leftover sofrito over some rice, some meat and vegetables and cooked it til the bottom is slightly burnt. They don’t scrape it away because this burnt part or the ‘la soccarat’, as the Spaniards say, is the best part about this dish.
After looking, tasting and even poking the paella pan brought to us, we noticed the similarities in both texture and taste with a lesser known Malaysian Indian dish called the satti sorru. Satti sorru basically means ‘claypot rice’ and is prepared by cooking leftovers in an iron wok on high heat till a layer of slightly burnt crust is formed. The Indians don’t refer to it as la soccarat but it sure tastes the same!
3. Garlic Chicken
Garlic just gives life to food. The marination of garlic-ginger or ‘gigi’ paste, as we like to call it, has softened and added so much flavour to the chunks of chicken meat. With the addition of cut dried chillies, this dish has gone from ordinary to extraordinary.
What makes us like this dish even more is the fact that it tastes exactly like a homemade hainanese-style chicken that you must have eaten countless times while growing up. It gives a sense of nostalgia that not many restaurants are able to recreate.
4. Squid Ink Paella
The fourth and final dish listed is the squid ink paella. Nothing about it, be it in flavours or look reminds us of any Malaysian dish but the freshness of the clams and squids used, cooked til soft and tender, took us to a place that most people may not think of while enjoying this dish.
The beautiful arrangement of all the elements brought us back to memories of family vacations on Pantai Pasir Hitam or the Black Sand Beach in Langkawi Island. Definitely worth a try just for the sake of these sweet childhood memories. Surely, you haven’t thought of it too, right?
Spanish Yet Malaysian
Hopefully this short listicle is able to whet your appetites and invoke curiosity to pay a visit to Tapas Club Pavilion KL soon and have your own gastronomic experience that is definitely different and intriguing.
Tapas Club has taught us that no matter where you come from, the differences you have but with food, there are harmony and unity true great authentic flavours and complex textures.
Oh, yes! Another thing we should mention about Tapas Club is their drinks especially their sangria, made with their wonderful bartender-ess, Krishna, will make your time in Tapas Club a merry one indeed.