Eat Drink KL: El Kano Dine & Bar, Wisma New Asia

Wednesday, January 4, 2023

El Kano Dine & Bar, Wisma New Asia

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El Kano is el primo: Serving European specialities with a Spanish spotlight, this is a vibrant upscale venue for dining and drinking, strategically located in KL's city centre. Its distinctive projection-screen decor immerses patrons in different dimensions, from outer space to the deep blue sea.

Intricately crafted by a Malaysian creative director with three decades of professional experience, El Kano is inspired by sci-fi settings, blending elements of Star Wars with futuristic themes. It's a one-of-a-kind destination that's determined to dazzle the senses.

If you're seeking colourful, contemporary takes on Spanish paella, Italian pasta and even French escargot, all at reasonable prices, El Kano is a restaurant to bookmark.

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As you enter El Kano, you'll spot panels on the wall, projected with ever-moving, ever-changing images - the scenery is constantly engaging here, with more than 200 projections that showcase the wonders of the universe, from interstellar travel to underwater treasures.

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Private rooms promise a hyper-cool ambiance, complete with karaoke facilities and sensational sound systems. Outside, Station El Kano is an alfresco lounge area inspired by movie-set space stations. It's a stunning avant-garde venue in Raja Chulan's decades-old Wisma New Asia, formerly known as Wisma MPL.

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We visited El Kano before business hours to explore the entire restaurant before the evening crowd came in. Later, the place was lively with white-collar workers, unwinding after a long day at the office.

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Malaysian executive chef Helvin Han helms El Kano's kitchen skilfully, harnessing years of experience in top hotels and other respected kitchens. He tackles European classics served in modern styles, putting a striking spin on familiar favourites.

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Start with El Kano's Garlic Cream Escargots (RM48), luscious snails with a twist in their preparation, cooked with white wine, stuffed back into their shells with garlic cream, for a powerfully aromatic punch of flavour in each bite, balanced with fresh micro-greens.

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Poached Oysters (RM22 each; minimum order of three pieces) are delectably decadent, blanketed in a warm blend of bechamel-based mornay sauce, Pernod noir and Parmesan cheese, for savoury richness that complements the oyster's natural brininess.

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Pan-Seared Smoked Duck Breast (RM36) comes charmingly served, with each succulent slice dressed with quinoa for a sprinkle of crisp and pomegranate salsa for a gently fruity tang.

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Crustacean comfort can be found on large and small plates at El Kano.

For hearty appetites, indulge in the Sautéed Spaghetti with Garlic, a swirl of firm pasta lined with crispy chilli prawns and onions, served with plump, juicy lobster meat; for snacking, share the Sautéed King Prawns, cushioned with truffle mashed potatoes, roasted garlic, sun-dried tomatoes, sweet peas and lemon beurre blanc.

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Paella pleasure: El Kano's Paella Arroz Negro (RM138) is cooked to order, taking at least 20 minutes, but it's well worth the short wait - a hot pan brimming with fragrant squid ink rice, studded with Hokkaido scallops, green mussels, tiger prawns, garlic aioli and lemon wedges.

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For a meaty marvel, sink your teeth into the Grilled 3 Ribs Rack of Lamb (RM178), irresistibly carnivorous, with a tender texture and deliciously smoky depth of flavour.

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Save space for at least one dessert: The Classic Spanish Combination of Chocolate and Salt (RM48) brings us a contrast of hot and cold, channelled in a moist sea salt flourless chocolate sponge cake crowned with dense, delightful coffee gelato. 

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Beverages span the full spectrum of crowd-pleasers, from popular mocktails like the Shirley Temple and Mango Mule to iced honey lemon tea and Irish coffee for a hit of caffeine.

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There's no lack of liquor options, from classic cocktails to sterling wines, ensuring an enjoyable evening at El Kano.

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El Kano Dine & Bar has already become a popular spot for glamorous events - it's worth staging your next special occasion here!

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El Kano Dine & Bar
G49-49A, Ground Floor, Wisma New Asia, Jalan Raja Chulan, Bukit Ceylon, Kuala Lumpur.
Open daily, 12pm-11pm. 
Tel: 013-330-9583