Sunday, September 20, 2015

Marta's Kitchen @ The Signature, Desa Sri Hartamas

Honest Spanish cooking by a former schoolteacher from Salamanca & her Dutch husband who've made KL their home: Marta's Kitchen is a marvellous new stop for Malaysians seeking authentic servings of tapas, paella & very possibly the city's most satisfying churros. This street-level outlet with a leafy view is the latest addition to The Signature in Sri Hartamas, a serviced-suites building that's becoming a hub for eateries worth checking out (Proof Cafe & Sky Lounge opened here in May, while Forum, a modern Australian-inspired restaurant, is set to launch a few steps from Marta's Kitchen before November).

 Marta remains true to Spanish culinary traditions while relying mainly on local produce to whip up irresistibly delicious treats - the humble potato forms the foundation for beautiful comfort food, including the classic 'tortilla de patatas' (RM22; a thick omelette served fresh, warm & wonderfully fluffy, laced with truffle oil for extra aroma) & 'patatas bravas' (RM14; crispy-creamy fried potatoes with flavoursome aioli & spicy tomato sauce). Order these two items for a terrific start to your meal here.

Marta's repertoire is peppered with plenty of pork - smooth, savoury Jamon Iberico ham (RM37; with bread & tomatoes), skewered pork pinchos (RM15; succulent, spice-marinated kebabs), ham croquettes (RM18; piping-hot fritters of pleasure, oozing inside with bechamel sauce) & breaded slices of tender pork sirloin lined with Iberico ham & melted cheese (RM25).

 Seafood is represented by shrimp pan-fried with chillies, garlic & extra virgin olive oil (RM23) & crunchy battered squid with house-made aioli (RM19). Vegetarians will be taken care of - there are roasted peppers & eggplant marinated in balsamic vinegar & evoo, with a hint of garlic & parsley (RM17) & sliced tomatoes with fresh basil (RM17). And of course, every self-respecting Spanish restaurant promises cheese - the native Manchego here, paired with a sweet, rich wine reduction (RM23).

Marta Alonso, her husband Finn & their team take pride in their paella, cooked in a family-style pan that showcases Valencian heritage. The restaurant does justice to this dish, hitting all the right notes for taste & texture - the sort of paella that left us wanting more. A plate with seafood in every scoop costs RM35. Ask Marta's staff to serve your paella as soon as the kitchen finishes preparing each large batch (which currently happens once or twice a night), so that it's at the peak of its freshness.

Save space for dessert: Marta's churros are magnificent, deceptive in their apparent simplicity, with a convincing crispness that's the result of meticulous fine-tuning (Marta tweaked the recipe over 50 times before she was fully confident with it). If you must have churros in KL, make it at Marta's, with sugar & cinnamon (RM9), vanilla ice cream & caramelised apples (RM14) or a Valrhona choc & caramel dip (RM15). The crema catalana (RM12) & Santiago almond cake (RM14) also hit the sweet spot, coupled with a hot cup of cortado (RM8). Spanish wines are available by glass or bottle. Many thanks to Marta's for hosting us.

Marta's Kitchen
The Signature, Jalan Sri Hartamas 22, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. 
Currently open for dinner: Sun, Tues-Thurs 530pm-11pm, Fri-Sat: 530pm-1am. Closed Mondays. 
Will open for lunch eventually. Tel: 03-6411-0832

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20 comments:

  1. Wow, lovely views and nice and bright ambiance, Sean! You have a meat on the right hand side of one of your photos that looks like a cold cut. If it is what I think it is, we call this "Prosciutto' here in Montreal. (pronounced PRO-SKEW-TOE. It is Italian, very expensive and quite tasty. :)

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    1. Linda: you're right - prosciutto would be the Italian version of this Spanish ham :)

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  2. Oh yum! I can't wait to return to KL to visit!

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    1. The yum list: definitely worth investigating! ;)

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  3. Everything looks great! But my main concern is the parking? Do they have parking in The Signature? Valet will be preferred :)

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    1. Leo: can park inside the Signature, but it's said to be rather pricey :)

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  4. Minus the H, so nothing to do with Martha Stewart. LOL!!! Paella! I think I am going to go for that for my dinner tonight.

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    1. Suituapui: Hope you had a satisfying paella! :D and yup, Marta and Martha do share some similarities - a passion for cooking ;)

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  5. I've a new found love for Spanish food. Hmm, possibly the most satisfying churros you say...I'm in! By the way, Sean, what's the difference (in taste and texture) between crema catalana and crème brulee? I've had the former and I didn't like it at all. It had this gummy and soft texture, not silky smooth like crème brulee...is that due to the cornflour? Is it supposed to taste like this or I had a badly made one?

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    1. Contact.ewew: would love to see some more Spanish restaurants open in kl, especially ones that serve great churros ;) from what I understand, there are a couple of differences in how crema Catalana is made vs creme Brulee, as well as their ingredients and proportion of ingredients, but in the end, creme Brulee tends to taste a bit "richer" ... Having said that, the Spanish version shouldn't be gummy though - it should still be reasonably smooth but perhaps a bit softer than Brulee, depending on how it's made ;)

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  6. Marta's paella is top notch - tried it several times at parties she has catered and always been consistent in flavour. The churros look absolutely divine !

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    1. Bbw fan: glad to hear that about the consistency of the paella - it's very reassuring! ;) and yep, I wasn't sure we'd love the churros, but we did! :D

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  7. Paella and Churros for me please!

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  8. Oh i hope they open for lunch soooooon!!

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    1. Rebecca: October, they say! :D

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  9. Ok, I want the paella as my main and churros for the dessert! Hehehe.

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    1. CK: heheh, good choice ... and there'll be space for a few tapas before the paella :D

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  10. is the food hala in this restaurant

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    1. Narimane: the restaurant currently serves pork and wine

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