Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Spanish Guest Chef Jose Alonso at The Library, The Ritz-Carlton KL

If like me you have been to Spain and have experienced authentic Spanish food first hand, then consider yourself lucky. If you haven't, here's your chance to do so - head over to The Ritz-Carlton KL this week to experience Spanish Guest Chef Jose Alonso's cooking at The Library. It is definitely a gastronomic experience not to be missed!

Chef Jose Alonso who helms the Binomio Spanish Restaurante in Singapore will be in KL from 25 to 29 October 2016, and will be showcasing some of his signature dishes namely Arroz Negro, Croquetas de Pollo y Huevo and Tallarines de sepia con Sofrito.

Chef Jose Alonso honed his culinary skills working with many celebrity chefs, including Michelin award-winning Sergi Arola, Francis Paniego and Spain's most celebrated Chef, Santi Santamaria. Chef Jose believes in serving cuisine that remains true to its Spanish roots and is prepared using only fresh ingredients of the highest quality. His food philosophy is to have respect for the produce and to be honest with the guests. No food should leave the kitchen that they themselves would not eat.

The menu comprises of an array of Spanish snacks, tapas, and paella, that will leave you nodding your head in appreciation and licking your lips - we were definitely impressed. The dishes may look unassuming, but trust me when I say that they're packed full of flavour and every mouthful was a pleasure.

We started off with two snacks - Sandwich de Queso Fresco (Fresh Cheese Terrine Bikini) and Berenjenas Con Meil De Cana (Fried Eggplant, Honey). The cheese, made from cow's milk, was mixed with olive oil, truffle, and chive, sandwiched between crisp bread - a pleasurable small bite. The fried eggplant looks deceivingly simple, but it had a wonderfully crisp texture and was non-oily. The secret, according to Chef Jose is to soak the eggplant in milk before deep frying.

Next came the tapas, starting with the Croquetas de Pollo Y Huevo (chicken and boiled egg croquettes). Served piping hot, the croquettes were crispy on the outside and creamy on the inside.

One of my favorite dishes was the Tallarines de Sepia Con Sofrito (Grilled Cuttlefish, Sofrito, Veal Vinaigrette) which resembled pasta strands. Chef Alonso tells us that the cuttlefish is rolled and then thinly sliced, and then grilled for about 10-15 seconds to retain its excellent texture. We loved the accompanying sofrito, made from caramelised onion and tomatoes, as it had a lovely smokiness to it. 

The Pulpo a la Gallega was another fantastic tapas dish, featuring grilled Atlantic octopus with Escalivada and smoked paprika.

The highlight of the meal for me was the Arroz Negro, squid ink paella with seafood. Perfectly executed, the paella was on point - unpretentious, yet amazingly tasty. The rice was tender and flavorful, complemented by the generous amount of seafood. I want to eat this again!

For mains, we were served the Jarrete de Cordero, lamb shank which has been braised for 10-11 hours, served with a potato puree and piquillo peppers. 

We ended our meal with a crispy, sinful dessert - traditional churros with dark chocolate sauce. Thank you to The Ritz-Carlton KL for having us, and for one of the best meals we've had in 2016!

The Spanish Guest Chef Dinner at The Library will be available from October 25 to 29, 2016 from 7pm to 11pm and is priced at RM150 nett per person (without wine) or RM250 nett per person (with Spanish wine). For more information or reservations, please call +60 3 2142 8000 or email dining@ritzcarlton.com.my.

Price: 4-course dinner for RM150 nett per person (without wine) or RM250 nett per person (with Spanish wine).

Location: The Library, Level 1, The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, 168 Jalan Imbi, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Tel: 03-2142 8000

GPS Coordinates: 3.146901, 101.715438

Website: http://www.ritzcarlton.com/en/hotels/malaysia/kuala-lumpur

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