Tuesday, October 9, 2012

La Mexicana @ Hock Choon Terrace

Buen provecho! Mexican cuisine has experienced an unprecedented year of popularity in KL; first, Loco opened in March in Changkat Bukit Bintang, followed by Fresca at The Gardens nearly two months later and La Boca last month at Pavilion.


Based on that impressive list, there's clearly no lack of choices now for Malaysian customers who crave everything from enchiladas to tamales, but there's still space for La Mexicana, which opened this week at Ampang's Terrace at Hock Choon.


La Mexicana was meant to launch in June, but its owners' insistence on perfection for the purchased-in-Mexico frills, renovation and staff training resulted in repeated postponements. Thankfully, wonderful things are often worth the wait.


The kitchen here is run by Mexican-Italian chef Carmela, whose passion and prowess for the cooking she was raised on radiates through colorful recipes like the classic ceviche (RM32), filled with chunky marinated fish, fresh and firm.


Pork is what sets La Mexicana apart from KL's other Mexican eateries. For meaty munching, there's corn tortilla tacos stuffed with Yucatan-style slow-roasted pork (RM32), rubbed with spices and served with red onions and habanero chili sauce.


A salad of imported cactus leaves with guajillo chili (RM45) might sound more intriguing than it tastes (think French beans, sort of). But this probably encapsulates the philosophy behind the food here, focusing on time-honored authenticity, not flashy flavors.


Like beetroot? You'll likely love La Mexican's creamy, chilled beetroot soup with crispy fried tortilla chips (RM24). A testament to chef Carmela's experience and extra pinches of creativity following nearly 25 years in the restaurant business.


Service here is as pleasant as can be. This plate of prawns flambeed with Patron tequila (RM55) looked a little plain, so we requested some beans to partner with it. Soon enough, a bowl of hot black bean puree was whipped up specially to make this tastier.


Not an extensive sugar selection for now, but a sweet tooth should be satisfied by crepes with Cajeta burnt milk cream sauce and walnuts (RM36).


Nutty-fruity chocolate cake with a hint of dried chili passilla (RM36), evocative of black forest.


 La Mexicana Margarita (tequila, triple sec, cactus flower, lime juice).


 Klamato (tequila, tomato juice, lime juice, tabasco, salt, pepper).


Shangrita (tequila, orange juice, red wine, lime juice, sugar).


La Mexicana's kitchen crew, hard at work in their poolside space.


Terrace at Hock Choon might not bring in big crowds nowadays, but here's hoping La Mexicana will help to revitalize this site somehow. A restaurant that's worth a shot, worth supporting for its people who strive hard to serve something a little different.


La Mexicana,
Terrace at Hock Choon, Off Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
Open for lunch and dinner, closed Mondays.

This restaurant is available for bookings under TABLEAPP, which enables customers to make instant reservations at Malaysia's top restaurants, while saving time and money in the process. Reserve your table at this restaurant by clicking here.
Check out EAT DRINK, a new F&B website jointly run by The Expat Group (TEG) & Eat Drink KL. This website features all of our up-to-date reviews, plus exclusive weekly articles & a searchable database on restaurants in KL & Selangor: EatDrink.my

34 comments:

  1. I hope the same for them too! Terrace at Hock Choon does have some good eateries but the location isn't that great (think Jln Ampang jam) but the availability of parking & the variety of restaurants here warrants a visit! :)

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    1. TNG: ya, i can understand why many potential customers might dread coming here on weekdays (though weekends would be smooth sailing, and all the restaurants are open on saturday and sunday). i think la mexicana deserves to draw a decent crowd. and fortunately for me, it's less than a 30-minute drive from my office even during evening rush hour traffic =)

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  2. Ayoooo just got over my Mexican cravings and you're making me crave them again! :P I ate too much nachos until my jaws hurt! O.O But they're soooo good with guac!
    Never tried cactus before! Would definitely love to!!! :D

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    1. Vien: mexican cravings can strike when least expected! :D heh, i'm actually not a major fan of nachos. i think enchiladas are more up my alley :D and yeah, cactus leaves/flowers are pretty unusual around these parts. i can't say i love 'em all that much though. tastes like regular veggies, heh =)

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  3. Love this place AND I don't have to worry about traffic to get here. Could become a once a week kind of place. So good!

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    1. The Yum List: i'm crossing my fingers that they'll be slowly but surely expanding their menu. it's a pretty compact list for now, especially the three-item dessert selection :D

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  4. I've nv tried cactus leaves before...sounds like a healthy optionf ro me.

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    1. Smitten By Food: there's also cactus leaves drenched with cheese here, which could be a sinfully tasty option, heh! :D

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  5. I think Mr LFB and I need to learn how to appreciate Mexican food, we seldom think of that.

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    1. CK: ya, can try! i like mexican food, cos it combines carbohydrates and proteins very deliciously. starch and meat/seafood with thick, creamy gravies! :D

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  6. wow mexican food is the in thing right now? Glad that now we have more choices of mexican in town. Looking forward to give Fresca and this place a try soon.

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    1. Eiling: yeah, mexican cuisine is definitely making waves in kl this year. it's good we now have three really good mexican restaurants in the city center (hock choon terrace, changkat bkt bintang and pavilion) :D

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  7. Replies
    1. Melissa: pricey, though i had to keep in mind that chef carmela imports many of her ingredients from mexico :D

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  8. Loving the vibrant colours of Mexican food. And undoubtedly the flavours as well. Lucky chefs get to work with a pretty scene:D

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    1. Missyblurkit: oh yeah, very vivid colors and tongue-tingling tastes to match :D heh, it was definitely interesting to see the kitchen set apart from the dining area that way =)

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  9. Looks like a place to check out

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    1. Cquek: recommended if you want an honest-to-goodness mexican meal in KL :D

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  10. You said the magic word: PORK! :D

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    1. Bangsar-Babe: this could be KL's first high-profile mexican restaurant that serves pork! :D

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    2. This could be KL's first proper MEXICAN restaurant.

      Keeping my fingers crossed.

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    3. Hugo: hope it gets the thumbs up from you! :D

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  11. Replies
    1. Iamthewitch: pork tacos are a nice change from chicken ones! :D

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  12. Replies
    1. Wong: a delicious drink! :D

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  13. The food looks great, I would love to go and try the ceviche and tortilla with PORK!

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    1. Baby Sumo: the food here is quite fun to share with family and/or friends! :D

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  14. Aha...porky Mexican fare - that should perk a lot of interest, I'm sure! :-)

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    1. Pureglutton: yeah, i was pleasantly surprised when i opened the menu! :D

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  15. it is been quite sometime that I have not drink Magarita ....

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    1. Simple Person: it's a nice refreshing cocktail to have after a long day at work :D

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  16. Just been there yesterday after hearing some friends of mine saying this tastes as authentic Mexican food, something I never experienced in KL (the other venues mentioned didn't really taste Mexican to me) and a Mexican friend herself saying the food here IS Mexican food. I love it, I loved their ceviche and nachos. The dessert choice is really small but the crepes were appalling. The service was impeccable, something that doesn't often happen in KL. The only note, the margarita was one of the lightest I ever tasted, no alcohol at all, I had a couple (thanks to the happy hour buy 1 free 1) but it was like drinking lime juice. I will come back for sure, and I liked the Terrace Hock Choon long time, the location is beautiful and quiet, I hope they manage to attire more customers to revitalize it!!

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    1. PS - The fact that is non-halal puts it on top of my preferences, I forgot to add that details.The Tacos Campechanos were filled with crunchy yummy pork <3 <3

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