|Chef Jorge Carlos Gonzalez|
Flavours of Mexico
The Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur
Words by Kirsten Durward
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)
I just love how in KL there is a constant whirl of food and cultural events. The Ritz Carlton group has been particularly active in this and I’ve enjoyed Peruvian gastronomy and Middle Eastern delights amongst others thanks to the initiative of their F&B and Marketing teams. This time the focus is on one of my favourite countries and food cultures – Mexico! Como Agua Para Chocolate remains one of my favourite books. If you love reading and you love food, if you haven’t read this wonderful book, you really should. To be honest, as I travel around the world, I find Mexican food has been so badly adulterated and watered down by the plethora of poor quality chilli and nachos that abound in many places. Yum Listers are always seeking a more authentic cuisine experience, and thanks to the sponsorship of the Embassy of Mexico, Chef Jorge Carlos Gonzalez, renowned for is use of ancient Mexican ingredients, returns his second visit to Cesar’s restaurant at the Ritz Carlton. We are drooling at the very thought of this avant garde Mexican chef whirling his knives here in KL
As with all Ritz Carlton events, the experience goes above and beyond the food. We are greeted with a colourful spectacular to the eyes and ears, very typical of a true Mexican experience. Loud and colourful, two words you will use a lot if you ever make it to Mexico! The tables are groaning with eye tempting delights, too many to list here, so I will just pick out a few personal favourites I do love the buzz of a live action service station so I head for the ‘trompo’ where chicken is being carved by a smiling chef before being wrapped in a warm taco. Traditionally in Mexico, Tacos Al-Pastor, meaning ‘in the style of the shepherd, is marinated pork, but here, to cater for guests following halal diet, it is succulent chicken coming off the rotisserie.
Chef Jorge has put together some unique and interesting aperitive tasters. We are particularly enamoured of the baby squid ‘Sotong’ with a light green chili pesto, but also enjoy the coffee rimmed tuna slices. Yes unusual but it works! Caning is eager for us to try a dish that he labels ‘sensational.’ And like nothing I have tasted before, a subtle combination of meat, beans and herbs stuffed in a silky shell of aubergine. A beautiful spice hit of deep chili resounds through the mixture. It was a great choice and we all love it.
Archeologists posit that people were eating a Ceviche like dish more than 2000 years ago in the southern Mediterranean. Which must make it one of the oldest recipes around. This fish marinated in lime juice and spiced with aji has become a perennial favourite in the coastal regions of Latin America, and now, around the world. Tonight one of the fresh appetisers is an unusual green ceviche. I love the strong chile flavours and fresh liminess. The extra spice is tamed down with some of the creamy guacamole that is served next to it. Ahh. Bliss
Huachinango a la Veracruzana (Veracruz-Style Red Snapper) is a classic dish from southern coastal region of Eastern Mexico. Considered by some to be the signature dish of the state of Veracruz, it is a synthesis of native flavours such as chile, line, nutmeg, and more recent Spanish influences in the olives and capers. Traditionally whole red snapper is used but here, for the sake of ease of service, chunky fish pieces have been marinated in lime juice, salt, pepper, nutmeg and garlic before being smothered in chopped onions, garlic, tomato, jalapenos, olives, capers and herbs. Baked in the oven until tender, the Old World/New World balance in this dish resonates, and each mouthful of firm moist fish is steeped in history and flavour. It’s timeless , and a must eat at this buffet.
Surely one of the most recognized spirits in the world Tequila remains a perennial favourite for people who like a good party night out on the town. I barely know a girl who doesn’t smile at the thought of a Margarita, never mind a taste. And Tequila is here a-plenty, courtesy of the Consejo Regulador del Tequila. Mindful that it is only Wednesday, we are reticent with our drinking having just one refreshing Margarita to accompany our meal.
There are plenty of tasty dishes on offer, and no shortage of dessert tempters too. We are so full that we can only manage a little churros which is served with an eggnog sauce. It has been a lively and entertaining event and we leave the fun rather reluctantly, waddling out with full bellies and happy smiles.This is an evening that groups of friends and families alike would thoroughly enjoy.
|Churros with Eggnog|
Flavours of Mexico runs from September 16 to September 20 and is an amazing deal at RM138 nett per adult and RM69 nett per child inclusive of a Margarita for the adults in your party. In addition to this tasty experience at the Ritz Carlton, special lunch and dinner menus can be found at La Mexicana in Ampang Hillir and Bangsar, and at Fresca in The Gardens Mall. Fresca at Avenue K will be offering a Taco platter promotion. Viva Mexico!
Reasons to visit: authentic Mexican food and fun at an extremely reasonable prices. Deliciosa!
The Ritz-Carlton, Kuala Lumpur
165 Jalan Imbi
55100, Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2142 8000