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Tag / tapas

A couple weeks ago I was invited to the Patrón XO Café and and Patrón Silver launch at Ritz Carlton Penthouse. Now I’ve been to Ritz Carlton quite a few times, but the penthouse on the 27th floor is quite something else. The suite has three bedrooms, a magnificent hall, and even an open air swimming pool on the 3rd level, quite a charming place for sure.

Patrón XO Café and Silver at Ritz Carlton
Patrón XO Café and Silver at Ritz Carlton

My very first time tasting Patrón tequila was actually at Frontera, where the owner Larry swore that this was one of the best tequilas you can get. Made with 100% agave plant, this is the real thing, it is smooth, clear, and if you drink it neat, not watering it down with mixers. Adding salt or lemon with the shot would be seen as an insult to the liquor too.

If you think tequilas are nasty (which many do due to the usually poor quality of tequila we get here), give Patrón a try and I’m sure you might start to think otherwise.

tapas prepared by Chef Carmela de Ponte
tapas prepared by Chef Carmela de Ponte

The drinks were served with some fantastic finger foods prepared by Chef Carmela de Ponte, who is of course, from Mexico.

we were obviously having a good time
we were obviously having a good time – Ciki, BangsarBabe, Haze

While Patrón Silver was smooth as it gets, I actually prefer Patrón XO Cafe, simply the best coffee liquor I’ve tasted. It too was smooth, and has a distinct coffee taste that isn’t overpowered by its sweetness. The XO Cafe has 70 proof, a higher content than most coffee liqueur.

Patrón XO Café and and Patrón Silver
Patrón XO Café and and Patrón Silver

It was a great night throughout, good company, great drinks, but that is to be expected from a brand has its products sold in hand-blown, individually numbered bottles

One of the other places we dined at during the trip to Seremban was this very nice looking restaurant called La Esquina, or “the corner” in Spanish. Naturally, it specialized in Spanish cuisine. The interior of this place is modern yet very cozy, it spots a full bar and has seating areas both in and outdoor. The first Spanish cuisine in Seremban is also probably the nicest decorated restaurant at Era Square.

La Esquina Spanish Restaurant
grilled asparagus wrapped in bacon

La Esquina doesn’t have a huge menu when it comes to food selection, they do, however, serve all sorts of drinks and a variety of tapas. As we were still half full from our very satisfying meal at Kensington, we only had some light dishes at this place.

La Esquina Spanish Restaurant
a full bar and a nicely decorated interior

The grilled asparagus wrapped in bacon slice was a pretty delicious dish. I mean, you can’t really go wrong with grilled asparagus and bacon. The bacon, however, is of the beef variety rather than the non-halal version from pork. Though I think the later might have jazzed up the taste just a tad more, the beef bacon wasn’t a bad substitute.

La Esquina Spanish Restaurant
tapas

We also had fresh button mushroom, mussel in white wine sauce, Spanish warm potato salad, and spicy chicken sausage. The tapas were served with slices of bread to go with the sauce that comes with it. I mentioned that the spicy chicken sausage isn’t exactly spicy for our taste, the owner Mr. Satwant explained that the level of spiciness in Spanish cuisine is a lot less than what we are accustomed to.

La Esquina Spanish Restaurant
basque crab casserole

The last dish served was not tapas, but the pretty unique basque crab casserole. Generous portion of crab meat and some other ingredients I can’t name were baked in flowery crab shells. This dish carries a slightly salty taste that I imagine would taste pretty well with some red wine.

map to era walk, seremban
La Esquina is located at Era Square

Tapas at La Esquina ranges from RM8 to RM15, the crab casserole goes for RM18 per pair.

Address:
No. 49, Jalan Era Walk 3,
Era Square
70200 Seremban, Negeri Sembilan

GPS: 2.725641,101.930938
Tel:
06-768 7405

Before stepping into La Cocina, I had never tasted genuine Spanish food other than a few tapas (that weren’t very good) during a wine session somewhere in Bangsar, hence I was delighted when the owner, Mr. Jeganathan invited me for dinner at his restaurant in USJ. After all, I am always a keen experimenter in food and never shun away from tasting new cuisine.

La Cocina, authentic spanish food at Subang Jaya USJ
paella negres – seafood in Spanish rice cooked with squid ink

After giving us a brief tour of the 2-storey restaurant (wine club and cellar upstairs, dining on ground level), we were served a host of tapas as appetizers and a glass of sangria that was very fresh and undiluted. The main dish was the very interesting paella negres (seafood with Spanish rice in squid ink), and we rounded off the night with a couple desserts.

Throughout the night, Mr Jega played a very warm and inviting host, never lack in enthusiasm explaining each dishes as they are served as well as telling us his passion for Spanish food.

La Cocina, authentic spanish food at Subang Jaya USJ
wonderful host, manager, and owner – Mr. Jeganathan

Appetizers:

  • calamares a la romana – squid with home made garlic mayonnaise. I just can’t get enough of the myannaise mayonnaise, and the squid fried perfectly too.
  • gambas al pil pil – garlic shrimps, pan fried with fresh garlic, olive oil & dried chili.
  • champignones al ajillo – button mushroom, fresh button mushroom with garlic, onion, herbs & olive oil. This goes really well with the bread.
  • tigres- mussel and shrimp croquette, breaded and deep fried, with garlic mayonnaise. The mussel and shrimp is mashed up and served on the shell, perfect for those who does not like the texture of shell fish.
  • we also had meat balls and some very nice bread to go with all these.

La Cocina, authentic spanish food at Subang Jaya USJ
five different tapas – squid, mussel, mushroom, meatball, shrimp

The main dish, paella negres, is a mixture of large prawns, shrimps, razor clams, fish fillet, squid, clams, and vegetables with Spanish rice in squid ink. I would have been hesitant looking at the completely black rice, but after tasting some of the best appetizers I have no doubt that the main dish wouldn’t disappoint. Furthermore, the TV show Iron Chef has had squid ink dishes as well. The ink actually provides a very subtle seafood taste, and with all the fresh seafood ingredients, it proved to be a delight to any seafood lover. You just had to try this at least once.

La Cocina, authentic spanish food at Subang Jaya USJ
sangria and desserts

By dessert time, I was already pretty full. The crema catalana, spanish custard with caramelized sugar on top was very refreshing, while the tarta de santiago, almond tart with vanilla custard can be a little rich especially with a full stomach. It was a very good meal overall, and there is no doubt I will be there again.

Map to La Cocina in USJ Taipan

Price wise, La Cocina is very reasonable, the tapas averages about RM7-10, the Spanish rice dish is RM58, but you can feed 2-3 person. Dessert is another RM 7 or so. The restaurant also offers set meals for 2 that are priced below RM 100. There are also more familiar dishes available, such as steak, lamb shank, pastas, and even fish and chips.

Address:
38 USJ9/5P,
Subang Jaya, Selangor

GPS: 3.046711, 101.587143
Tel: 03-8023 2395

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