Level 1, Prince Hotel and Residence,
Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur.
Tel: 03-2170 8888 ext 8119.
Business hours: 6am-midnight, daily.
Barcelona-based chef in town to highlight various cuisines of his home country.
IF the queues at the action stations were anything to go by, they served as an indication of hungry diners curious to try, then go back for more, of Chef Jordi Gimeno’s delicious Spanish cooking.
The lines were visible at stations offering food Spain is well-known for — paella, Prawns with Garlic (Gambas Al Ajillo) and tapas of the cold and hot variety.
Barcelona-based Gimeno will be in town to cook up a storm for The Many Flavours of Spain — a Spanish food festival held at Eccucino, Prince Hotel and Residence Kuala Lumpur.
He has more than 20 years of hands-on Spanish culinary experience in many restaurants and has organised Spanish food festivals and cooking workshops in Asia, Europe and the Middle East.
The Catalan chef, who favours seafood as his choice of protein, said he made an effort to ensure different cuisines from the different regions in Spain were represented at the festival.
“For instance, Andalucia uses a lot of olive oil in its cuisine and is most known for its gazpacho (a kind of cold soup), while Catalonia’s cuisine features a combination of ingredients from the sea and mountain.
“I try to offer a balance of traditional dishes such as Beef Strips with Anchovies Cream and Garlic-Vegetable Omelette, and modern ones including Seabass filled with Mushrooms and Beef Ham with Grain Mustard Sauce.
“There is also a need for the food to appeal to both native Spaniards and diners unfamiliar with Spanish cuisine,” said Gimeno.
Depending on the menu of the day, the tapas section offers Calamari with Dark Ink, Blue Cheese Croquettes, Spinach and Pear Fritters with Almond, Spicy Potatoes with Aioli, Spanish Kebabs of Chicken, Prawn, Beef and Fried Manchego Cheese (Pintxos), Trio of Spanish Omelette with Catalan Bread, Tuna in Escabeche Salad, and Banderillas.
The action corner features Black Rice, Sea and Mountain Paella (top pic) and Prawns with Garlic cooked a la minute.
“The paella is made from fish stock and special sauce using cuttlefish. Paella is best cooked using Bomba rice, though other types of short-grain rice can also be used.
“In places where large ovens are available, the paella is cooked over a pan, then baked in the oven to ensure the rice is evenly cooked,” said Gimeno, who usually travels with his own set of paella pans.
The main course section offers dishes such as Black Fideua (a paella-type dish, where thin noodles are used instead of rice), Zarzuela of Fish and Seafood with Picada, Roast Shoulder of Lamb Manchego Style, Meatballs with Cuttlefish, Roasted Potatoes with Anchovies and Spanish Paprika, and Romascade of Grouper and Chicken in Catalan Sauce.
There are also soups such as Watermelon Gazpacho with Prawns and Garlic Oil and Soup of Escudella Catalana, appetisers such as Salmon Gravlax and Pepper Mackerel and Marinated Clams and Mussels with Sherry Vinaigrette as well as desserts such as Churros with Chocolate, Crema Catalana with Carguniyolis, Menjar Blanc with Apples in Olive Oil, Spanish Pudding with Strawberry and Black Pepper, Fried Milk and Catalan Panellets.
Gimeno said it was initially difficult to work without cured ham (jamon), sausage (chorizo), other pork cuts and alcohol that are commonly used in Spanish cuisine, but he has learnt to adapt after numerous food festivals in Muslim-predominant countries.
The 44-year-old is a person of many talents, having studied philology and worked as a lecturer of the Catalan language, culture and gastronomy.
He has also won a Sci-Fi Literary Award in Spain for his book The Smile of an Echoin 2012.
The affable chef, who enjoys travelling and writing novels, believes that cooking, like life, has to be understood as an open voyage to the world of experiences and flavours.
The Many Flavours of Spain is available until this Sunday, served from 6.30pm to 10.30pm.
The buffet dinner is priced at RM98++ per person; children under 12 years old get complimentary dining with every paying adult.
Sangria and a range of Spanish wines are also available during the promotion.
This is the writer’s personal observation and is not an endorsement by StarMetro.