It's the tapas bar KL has been waiting for: Ohla is one of 2013's most exciting new eateries.
The sister restaurant of The Intermark's heavily hyped nightclub Providence, Ohla throbs with the talents of not one but two head chefs: Toni Ruiz & Mario Valiente, both of whom plied their trade in Barcelona before taking a stab at Southeast Asia.
It's a narrow space; seating's limited to one long bar & a communal table. The bar boasts the best seats in this industrial-chic house, facing the open kitchen where every move & misstep of the food preparation is nakedly exposed to searing scrutiny.
Chefs Ruiz & Valiente (the latter of whom oozes a Gosling-esque masculinity) are far from the chattiest of chefs, but that's OK; they let their cooking speak volumes.
Ohla's one-page, soft-launch menu features nothing but tapas; everything's worth trying, particularly the pan-fried foie gras with sous-vide egg, mashed potatoes & shaved truffles (RM40, nett it seems, based on our receipt).
Crazy-chunky liver, super-runny egg, milky-creamy potatoes, stunningly generous servings of truffles: immediately after finishing this, we seriously contemplated ordering it again right there.
Mediterranean black rice (RM46), firm to the bite, cooked with squid ink & olive oil, mixed with pleasurably chewy bits of squid & crowned with little prawns. The flavors of the soil & the sea blend together beautifully. Love it, want to worship it.
Ohla serves pork; the chefs can't imagine cooking without it. Can't blame them, since these scallops grilled in a Josper oven & laid on a bed of citric mash (RM46) might be less ravishing without being blanketed in pork belly. Tastiest scallops we've had this year.
Octopus with potato foam, potato water & crispy Pimenton de la vera (RM35). What thrilled us about each recipe here was its revelation of intricate nuances; it's food that's meant to be chewed slowly, first savored wordlessly but then discussed enthusiastically.
Who knew a sad-looking soup could prove a stunner? Almond-&-garlic broth with dill & olive oil (RM32), layered & complex, featuring the freshest flavors of terra firma.
Wrap up with a Spanish cheese platter (RM35), made intriguingly innovative with pairings like quince paste & almond meringue for specific cheeses.
Wines are offered mostly by the glass, with cava starting at RM20. On a recent weeknight, we were the only customers at Ohla from start to finish, but expect this place to explode eventually.
Final note: We're ready to start talking about the next phase in this blog's evolution. On Oct. 1, we hope to launch an initiative (call it Eat Drink KL: 100F for now), a project born of passion. It'll require the moral support of readers to succeed, so many thanks in advance & in anticipation.
Ohla Tapas & Cocktails,
G-18, Ground Floor, The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur.
Currently open daily for dinner starting 6pm. Will open for breakfast & lunch eventually.