Palillos is one of 2015's most unexpected new eateries - a Japanese-inspired joint that specialises in skewers, spearheaded by a Spanish chef who founded Changkat Bukit Bintang's popular Pinchos tapas restaurant six years ago & professes to be a fan of Subang's Sumi-Ka yakitori bar. Expect a harmonious marriage of Japanese gastronomy with some Spanish sensibilities.
Right off the bat (or the binchotan white charcoal grill, in this case), there are many unique ingredients here that seize the attention - take a seat at the counter & start with the flavour-packed pork, from Iberico belly (RM7), Iberico ribs with pimenton smoked paprika (RM8) & Iberico collar with truffle oil (RM9) to chistorra chorizo (RM6; savoury cured sausages) & regular pork belly prepared with shiso leaves (RM6) or with a pungently sweet-salty, creamy combo of dates & blue cheese (RM9).
The extensive selection is confidently cooked, retaining all the essential succulence & resulting in an enjoyable smokiness, from meaty sticks of Spanish quail (RM9), rosemary-rubbed Spanish suckling lamb chops (RM15) & ox tongue (RM12) to the ocean's fresh bounty of Spanish octopus with pimenton paprika & olive oil (RM8), Spanish Carabinero large red prawns (RM19), Japanese oysters wrapped in pork belly (RM10), shrimp in serrano ham (RM7) & squid with shiso leaves (RM7).
The main chicken-based section hits the right notes too, featuring thigh meat (RM4), tail (RM4), gizzard (RM4), crispy-juicy wings (RM10), melt-in-the-mouth liver with tare sauce (RM4), breast with wasabi aioli (RM6) & tsukune meatballs made with a mix of chicken & pork (RM5), pretty much as satisfying as what you'd find at the Klang Valley's Japanese-run yakitori venues.
Palillos harks back to the heydays of Changkat, when engaging eateries were the norm, not the exception, on this street. Save space for both the starch & the fibre - we like the baby potatoes in bravas sauce & the grilled rice with butter (RM5 each, one reflecting a Spanish classic & the other intrinsically Japanese), eggplant with thyme (RM4), lady's fingers (RM4) & eryngii & shiitake mushrooms (RM4 & RM6). Order a few bowls of salads that nicely complement the skewers: Japanese cucumber with ponzu dressing (RM7), tomatoes with ginger (RM8), romaine lettuce with quail eggs (RM11), olives prepared with anchovies, yuzu, sake (RM9) & springy kimchi with olive oil & pine nuts (RM8). Outlet founder Roberto took more than a year from thought to conception for Palillos, & his effort establishes an impressive impact with interesting touches in nearly each recipe.
Even the desserts are distinctively delicious: Spanish melon with sake (RM9), yuzu ice cream (RM7), grilled pineapple with vanilla ice cream (RM12) & our favourite, a skewer of grilled marshmallow with strawberries (RM5), made with quality ingredients handled with expertise. There's also no lack of liquor - wine to sake. Many thanks to Palillos for having us here.
18A, First Floor, Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. Open Mon-Sat, 630pm-11pm. Tel: 03-21105051
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