spanish kitchen

9:53 AM sians 0 Comments

la cocina translates to kitchen from spanish.

la cocina was the spanish restaurant i went to on saturday with my family. my second sister who has been here twice recommended this place and since my parents have never had spanish food before so they were happy to give it a go. i was eager to compare it to the ones i had from tapas barcelona in evanston.

from the outside, the restaurant promised a cozy interior which wasn't too far off from my first impression. it had the features of what spanish restaurants usually have - bright walls, spanish related vintage posters and latin music playing in the background. it was lively and petite.

out of the three available combos they had, we opted for the family combo (RM 158) that includes six tapas (as pre fixed by the restaurant) and a serving of paella that is supposed to feed four persons. the other two combos were the tapas combo that serves five different tapas (RM52) and the other one is a combo for two (RM88) that includes three tapas and a smaller serving of paella.  the prices differs by RM10 to 20 depending on the type of paella chosen.

tapas| the tapas were served with baskets of sliced french bagatte for dipping.

01| chicken croquette. i've never really had these before. oops. i looked up what croquette was and realized i've had this before that my friend made but it was a lot different. it is actually a fried food roll that contains possibly mashed potatoes with meat or other ingredients. i only had a small bite of this since my nieces enjoyed it quite a bit. the sauce that came with was interesting and it tasted like it had a hint of garlic - kinda like a garlicky mayo.

02| tigress(damn typos)..tigres: shrimps and mussels croquettes. similar to the one above, only served on half shell of a mussel.

03| eggplant in olive oil. MY FAV! my second sister concurs enthusiastically. it is really gratinated eggplant with garlic, tomatoes, herbs and cheese. i would say i barely notice the cheese but the combination of the tomatoes, herbs and eggplant was awesome with the french bread. the cheese may have already been blended into the flavors that i might not have noticed it. i beg to differ when my eldest sister joked that it was putting pasta sauce on eggplant....(like no way dude!)

04| garlic shrimp was pretty good. had good flavors and the shrimp were fresh and cooked well.

05| tortilla. now this is confusing. when i read tortilla on the menu, i thought of this

but really what came out what this:

so naturally i had to turn to my semi-new best friend called wikipedia and ask what tortilla is. this is it:

In English and in Central America, "tortilla" refers to a flatbread made from corn or wheat originally made by Mesoamerican peoples. In Spain, South America, Cuba, and Puerto Rico, "tortilla" refers to an omelette, whith variations that can include vegetables such as onions and potatoes.
so that was exactly what it is: an omelette with potatoes, onions, olive oil and fresh eggs. it was alright. it wasn't anything memorable.

06| marsala chicken. so the long story short, i have history of having issues when it comes to lamb meat so we asked if we could replace the lamb meatballs dish into something else. we then had a choice of either fried calamari or marsala chicken so we chose the latter since we have enough seafood for this meal.

the main dish that we planned our trip for: paella! we ordered paella de mariscos because well one, lamb in paella de cordero is a no no due to above mentioned reasons and two, paella negres has the odd squid ink in the rice turning rice into dark colored rice.

paella de mariscos is spanish saffron rice with large prawns, shrimps, clams, squid, mussels, fish fillet & vegetables. the serving size was decent and the taste is actually pretty authentic. mussels and prawns were fresh and cooked really well. also, the overall dish was flavorful.

we were concerned we weren't going to have enough food so we ordered a dish a la carte. chicken brochette was the dish of our choice since it looked (from picture in menu) and sounded pretty yummy. it is basically chicken chop pieces in a skewer with peppers, fresh mushroom & onion, served with mixed vegetables, grilled tomato, jacket potato with garlic butter & your choice of sauce. it was warm and sizzling when it came to our table which added to its appeal. we opted for the mushroom sauce and that was a great accompaniment. however, it was too peppery for my liking.

although we were all pretty stuffed, my sister and i insisted on trying out at least one dessert and it didn't took us long to decide.  my second sister's favorite is the crema catalana, a rich spanish custard with caramelized sugar. pretty much like creme brulee with a slight variation. i thought it was just okay. i am not sure if it was suppose to resemble a creme brulee but there wasn't a sugar crust on the top when having caramelized sugar.

since one wasn't enough to serve the seven of us, a second postres was ordered: empanadas de manzana, sliced apples with hazelnut & raisins wrapped in filo pastry with belgian chocolate, served warm with vanilla sauce.  the parcel was baked until golden brown and i took a bite of the parcel dipped in the vanilla sauce. i could barely taste any belgian chocolate but i could definitely taste the sliced apples. hazelnut flavor was almost none existent but it could be from the the corner piece i got. my first sis loved this much better to the creme catalana.

the server at our table was patient as we discussed what we were going to order and also somewhat accomodating. definitely kid-friendly place as they provided with a box of color pencils and some pictures for two of my nieces to occupy themselves with. and it also helped that we called in advance to reserve a table at one corner of the restaurant. my parents thought overall the price was somewhat steep. our check came up to about RM250 for six adults and two kids. in general, i thought it was a pretty good dining experience. :)

disclaimer this is written based on my personal experience and opinion. experiences and taste buds may vary for others.