When Toni Valero Ruiz launched the kitchen of Ohla in August 2013, he instantly established himself as a talent to watch. Nearly two years later, his determination to remain in KL & bring the best of Spain to this city marks Toni as a chef to cherish.
'Honest' is the word that both Toni & Ohla's sommelier extraordinaire Gustavo Arriaga rely on most often when describing the ethos that fuels their fare, which includes creamed cauliflower soup with crumbs of Bellota Iberico ham & pan-fried onions (crafted with a resonant purity of ingredients, teased out with subtlety & restraint) & piquillo peppers stuffed with salted cod fish brandade, served with a sprout salad & parsley oil (combined with a clear recognition of how to make flavours & textures sing).
These recipes form the current afternoon selection that Ohla started offering this year - it's the ideal business lunch menu, showcasing flair & finesse in a setting that straddles the line between formal & relaxed. Executives seeking wholesome creations will be thrilled with platters of charcoal-grilled vegetables with Romesco sauce & artichoke-crowned rice in a creamy stock. The provenance of the produce is key - irrepressibly fragrant Spanish red peppers & tomatoes for the Romesco sauce & irresistibly juicy Spanish artichokes for the Bomba rice, which bears the certified firmness of Valencia's Albufera variety.
Our favourites are the meat specialities - can't go wrong with the comfort-food stew of Iberico pork belly & suckling pig cooked with chickpeas & pork jus, made even more indulgent with sous-vide egg, or the most satisfying duck leg confit we've savoured in years, fleshy & flavoursome, with potatoes prepared in duck fat & Mediterranean herbs. Toni's mantra is that everything at Ohla must be exactly what he'd be proud to serve back home in Spain; we're convinced that he succeeds in that responsibility.
Wrap up your lunch with Ohla's custard flan perfumed with Spanish mandarin zest & juice; a two-course meal clocks in at RM52++, but it's well worth making it three courses for RM59++. This menu is available Mondays through Fridays, 11:30am-2:30pm (Ohla's evening repertoire is even more extensive). But even if you're not eating, stop by for caffeine - Ohla's coffee is more than a match for The Intermark's various cafes in terms of cost & fulfilment. Thanks to Ohla's team for their hospitality.
Wine makes every lunch better - Gustavo will help you discover a compellingly selected Spanish range, such as crisp DO Jumilla beauties from the south-eastern Murcia region. Don't skip the Spanish-inflected cocktails either - there's everything from a Rebujito made with sherry to a Kir Royale with Cava to surprising off-menu concoctions that'll linger long in the memory.
Ohla Tapas & Cocktails
Ground Floor, The Intermark, Jalan Tun Razak, Kuala Lumpur. Entrance at The Intermark's front exterior.
Mon-Fri, lunch & dinner; Saturday, dinner. Tel: 012- 663-2651
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