Saturday, 20 December 2014

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails

Ohla, Spanish Tapas

Words by Kirsten Durward
Photos by The Yum List aka Monica Tindall

Tapas bars are certainly making an assault on our city this year, popping up all over the place. One of the most signature expressions of this current craze can be found in Ohla at the Intermark. Here you will find the traditional approach to tapas, sitting at the bar where food is prepared. However don’t expect humble bar snacking, as the standard of cookery here is much more gastronomic in nature. Those interested in culinary capers will enjoy observing the variety and precision of the preparation on view.  The chefs work with delicacy and care, everything is freshly prepared right in front of your eyes. Entertainment indeed. 

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
Long Bar - Perfect for observing the meticulous preparation of every dish
We’ve come to eat, but find ourselves plied with so many delectable drinking options that I have to create a separate post for them with some fishy nibbles alongside. Check out some scrummy cocktails, fish bites, andsee why we think Ohla makes a great bar for an after work drink via this link.

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
Josper Grill
A delectable plate of cold cuts is always a great way to start an evening, and Jamón Ibérico de Bellota (RM45++) does not disappoint. Even just viewing the dark red of this meat is mouthwatering, you just know you are going to get a dense deliciousness from these thinly sliced glistening strands.  Rub the tomato and garlic into the toasted bread, drizzle some olive oil on top with the ham for a dry yet wet flavour-busting mouthful.

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
 Bellota Iberico Ham and “pa amb tomàquet”
Vino Blanco

I’m being offered a glass of Spanish White, Jean Leon 3055, 2013 (RM26++ glass, RM127++ bottle). This 100% chardonnay from Catalunia is an organic wine, young, fresh, fruity and floral. It is nicely aerated and well chilled, light for a chardonnay just ever so slightly acidic bubbling over your tongue.  It’s good drinking for seafood, which is perfect because that’s what we’re eating next.

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
Jean Leon 3055 
Pulpo a la Parrilla (RM34.50++) is described as the most classic tapa on the menu. The octopus is brought in fresh from Spain and we believe this is the only restaurant in KL to do so. The freshly cut tentacle is dipped first in hot salty water then laid on ice to prevent its skin from breaking. First sous vide, then grilled, this fat chunk of tentacle is the softest octopus my teeth have delved into. It has a clean texture and a lot of taste, only enhancement being a little touch of pimento. Worth a try if you’re a fresh seafood lover. As Caning says, “Impressionante!”

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
Spanish Grilled Octopus with Potato and Pimentón de la Vera
Vieira con Panceta Iberica (RM39.50++) is a perfectly prepared and romantically presented dish. The thin strand of Iberico pork belly wrapped around this sensationally sweet fat scallop adds flavour, succulence and crunch. The lemon tinge to the mash is a clever complement. Yum scrum.

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
Grilled Scallop with Iberico Pork Belly and Lemon Mashed Potato
Lomo de Bacalao Confitado (RM38++) is typical montaña y mar style, featuring Spanish cod loin, organic chickpeas pan fried with morcilla and topped with dry honey. The dish is served steaming in a miniature casserole. We delve into the soupy broth with its depths of crumbled black pudding, delighting in the slightly sticky hearty fish and the contrasting texture of chickpeas.

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
Confit Spanish Cod Fish Loin, Organic Chick Peas Pan Fried with “Morcilla” and topped with Dry Honey
While we eat, we enjoy the unfolding kitchen entertainment. Chefs are gently turning tournedos in the grill or slicing cold cuts tenderly; everything is done with precision and care. The movements are slow, careful and classic, preparing artworks fresh to order. Chef Toni Valero looks over every dish with the expression of a proud yet slightly anxious dad, not ever happy until it has been explained, tasted and approved of. 

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
Chef Toni at Work
As we’re moving onto meatier dishes our red wine is poured. Sipping on El Picaro 2012 (Bottle RM 143 ++), I’m told the meaning of the name is ‘naughty boy’ and the character of the wine would seem to merit it. It’s a young wine made in an ecological and holistic manner, the vines being cut and the grapes being harvested according to the cycle of the moon. Its cheeky and slightly rugged Mediterranean notes are a great complement to the soft texture of our lamb tasting plate.

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
El Picaro 2012
Cordero Lechal is a delightfully soft strip of Spanish suckling lamb reduced with rocket and cardamom. The accompanying milk reduction is fascinating, the thick creaminess delightfully infused with rosemary.  A delightful delicacy and something different for Kuala Lumpur dining.

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
Spanish Suckling Lamb with Milk Infused with Rosemary, Reduced with Rocket and Cardamom Sauce
Entrecote Añejo de Ternera Vasca (RM88 ++) is cooked beautifully pink, just the way I like it. Mustard and herb butter glistens and tastes exquisitely saucy with the juicy meat. Dry aged for flavour, this Basque beef booms in the mouth. And don’t miss the demi-glace on the plate which packs its own perfect punch.

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
Dry Aged Beef, Mustard and Herb Butter with Roasted Baby Potatoes and Meat Sauce
We’re tempted by ‘just one’ dessert.  Platano Caramelizado (RM20.50++) is a suave yet playful plateful. Banana is caramelized with brandy, then served with banana ice-cream and white chocolate candies. Us grown up kids adore the popping candy that zings on our tongues.

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
Caramelised Banana with Brandy, Banana Ice-cream and White Chocolate Candies
Not many places offer a dessert wine by the glass but I’m happy to report that Ohla treats you to three choices. We enjoy the rich tones of Moscatel Alvear (RM16++) This is a late harvest wine which rolls fat off the tongue. I taste notes of liquorice, confit orange peel, toasted sugar, figs, caramel…  all round deliciousness. It’s perfect for Christmas, certainly, but I would take a glass pretty much any time of the year.

Dinner at Ohla, Tapas and Cocktails, The Intermark, Kuala Lumpur
Moscatel Dessert Wine
Ohla has impressed us with a unique blend of tapas with gastronomy and highly technical cooking. Every chef is paying attention all of the time: the kitchen works like a well-oiled machine and the preparation becomes part of the story as they move in rhythm, understanding and togetherness.  Also one thing I wouldn’t usually remark on, but if you are not sure what to drink with your food, then ask Gustavo for a recommendation. He knows his art, speaks passionately about wine and other drinks too, and I’m sure will enhance your experience.

Reasons to visit: authenticity, meticulous presentation, every dish an artwork, sincerity in wine and food.

OHLA Tapas and Cocktails
G-18 Ground Floor
The Intermark
348 Jalan Tun Razak
50400 Kuala Lumpur
Malaysia
016 229 0231
OHLA Tapas and Cocktails Facebook
Non-halal
Currently open in the evenings from 6pm

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