Olé! For fans of Spanish fare in KL, it's time to check out or return to Nexo, which is blazing in a bold new direction this year, with a kitchen led by terrific young chef Isaac Goh, whose talent, skill & eagerness to hone his craft make him a man to watch.
Recent changes in the setting have made Nexo more comfortable, both inside - where a matador & charging bull loom large over sofas - & at the breezy alfresco area outside. Nexo still serves numerous tapas, mostly costing between RM15 & RM25, but its true highlights now are its Iberico pork dishes, made from the meat of Spanish acorn-eating Iberian black pigs. For this Chinese New Year season, you can even order a one-of-a-kind Iberico pork yee sang (RM48++ for regular, RM88++ for large).
Nexo's Iberico selection is impressive - everything from Iberico cold cuts to tapas of Iberico jowl & Iberico sliders to paella with Iberico loin & pesto pasta with pan-seared Iberico, mostly ranging in cost from RM30 to RM80. Isaac wisely recommends the Iberico belly, very meaty, offering a blissfully tender chew & beautifully pure flavour, served with pickled onions; it's a testament to Nexo's respect for its produce & understanding of how to satisfy the palate by nailing a recipe's taste & textures.
With meat this marvellous, the trick might be pursuing the perfect way to prepare it to let its flavours shine. Nexo does that, with its elegantly sparing use of marination & seasoning, steering clear of heavy-handed sauces. Grab an Iberico spare rib with your fingers & sink your teeth into it, biting through the savoury caramelised exterior & relishing the juiciness of its flesh.
Local pork proves it's no slouch though; we love Nexo's whole suckling pig - with its gloriously crisp skin & luscious flesh, coupled with a flavour that's simultaneously rich & clean, this is as fantastic as it gets. It's a splurge at RM300++ & must be ordered two days in advance, but if you love suckling pig, it's a should-try; sufficient for four patrons to share for a main course.
Slow-roasted suckling lamb leg, also a victory, with a delicate, distinctive sweetness, more nuanced than intense, lovely in its smooth, white leanness, kept simple with a mint yoghurt dip. Requires a one-day advance order; a RM210 portion feeds two.
And whether you want wine or whisky to complement your food, you'll find it (Spanish reds & whites start at RM22 per glass; single-malts at RM24). Many thanks to Serena, Reuben & the rest of Nexo's team for hosting an exceptionally enjoyable meal.
Nexo Restaurant & Bar
G-13, Ground Floor, Nexus, Bangsar South, Jalan Kerinchi, Kuala Lumpur. Beside Souled Out. Open daily. Tel: 03-2242-2226
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