Eat Drink KL: Feliz brings chef Franco Aldana's flavours of Peru to Malaysia on Avenue K's rooftop

Friday, June 14, 2024

Feliz brings chef Franco Aldana's flavours of Peru to Malaysia on Avenue K's rooftop



Nearly 20,000 kilometres from his birth city of Lima, Feliz's executive chef Franco Aldana fires up the flamboyant flavours of his homeland in Kuala Lumpur, helming Malaysia's most vibrant Peruvian restaurant.

Step into Feliz in Avenue K to experience the sights, scents and sensations of South America, embodied in everything from Peruvian tapestry that lines the wall to the sounds of Chilean and Colombian singers on the speakers.

Encounter the essentials of Peru's generations-old gastronomy: From ceviche to tiradito, anticuchos to lomo saltado, tacu tacu to mazamorra, plus cocktails like Pisco sours with a contemporary twist,  a meal here is an epic exploration of a country that spans the Andes ranges to the Amazon rainforest, with a heritage that reaches back to the Inca civilisation.

Chef Franco is a fantastic envoy for a cuisine seldom seen in KL. 

Spearheading one of the newest establishments of Malaysia's Cinnamon Group, the 32-year-old is the only chef in a family of lawyers and engineers, but he has been professionally cooking for more than a decade, in a career that has stretched from Maido, ranked one of the world's 50 best restaurants, to five-star hotel kitchens in Dubai.

Feliz is a fitting showcase for Franco's talents. On the fourth-floor rooftop of Avenue K, the setting sparkles with a sumptuous interior, plus an alfresco patio with an awe-inspiring perspective of the cosmopolitan skyline, including a prime view of the Petronas Twin Towers.

Culturally colourful with a crimson cast, Feliz is a visual feast, conveying exquisitely elaborate craftsmanship in every corner, a sanctuary of sophistication in KL's city centre.


We love Feliz's outdoor tables too, akin to dining in a comfortable garden, in the shimmering shadow of Malaysia's most renowned skyscrapers.








As dusk descends, Feliz becomes even more dazzling, exuding an enchantingly suave vibe - a place to impress, complete with an intimate private room for memorable celebrations.

Feliz's menu is remarkable in range, meriting multiple visits to fully relish.

Over 3,000 kilometres of Peru's coast faces the Pacific Ocean, so marinated raw fish is a cherished tradition - Feliz's Ceviche Limeno (RM38) brings together barramundi with the kitchen's own-made leche de tigre citrus marinade, complemented with white corn, sweet potatoes and canchita, Peru's equivalent of popcorn.

Many of Feliz's offerings were born of chef Franco's memories and his sense of missing familiar Peruvian flavours, so he has sourced canchita straight from his homeland, bringing in these roasted corn kernels to add addictive crunch to the succulent ceviche.

Also try the tempting Tiradito De Aguachile (RM45) - smooth, slick slices of white fish, its pristine purity enhanced by aguachile sauce, gorgeously green with natural nuances of heat and fruitiness, subtly spicy with chillies, exuberantly zesty with lime.

Plantains are a pleasure, as a starter, snack or side - Tacachos Chalacos (RM42) represents the tropical staple produce of Latin America, a mash that's transformed here from a rustic recipe into a modern marvel, resembling croquettes stuffed with seafood for full-bodied texture, amped up with aioli-like acevichado hot sauce for a peppery piquancy.

For main courses, Lomo Saltado & Huancaina (RM158) is a globalised take on Peru's popular stir-fried steak slices, synergising Latin and Asian flavours, tracing its roots to the 19th century when Asian immigrants arrived in Peru to work on railroads and in mines.

Feliz's thick-cut bites of tenderloin prove totally lip-smacking, tossed with tomatoes and onions for soulful heartiness, partnered with fettuccine in creamy, comforting huancaina sauce that speaks of cheese and capsicum.

Tacu Tacu A Lo Macho (RM78) sums up some of the foundations of Peruvian fare - rice, beans and seafood, together on a platter of pleasure, a piping-hot indulgence of steamed rice with a medley of mixed beans, swimming with the sea's bounty of prawns, octopus and clams, in a rich, robustly briny sauce that's lip-smacking to the last spoonful.

For carnivorous cravings, Peru's lamb stew is the classic of choice.

Seco De Cordero (RM88) promises fleshy chunks of lamb shoulder, juicily irresistible in coriander sauce with a savoury herbaceous uplift, served with steamed rice and criolla, Peru's perky salsa. A must-try meat-and-rice combination that's uniquely Peruvian.

Corn is a cornerstone of Peruvian cultivation; naturally, it's everywhere at Feliz, from starters to sweets and even sips of cocktails.

Mazamorra (RM29) is corn at its creamiest, a delectable dessert of fresh purple corn custard, dusted with cinnamon, drizzled with desiccated pineapple and fresh berries, for a treat that's wholesomely whipped up with the land's bountiful harvest.

Tres Leches (RM45) tackles the sponge cake that's beloved throughout South America. Feliz's interpretation infuses 21st-century elegance into this ensemble of milk-soaked cake with forest fruits and Chantilly cream, for a wonder of world-class flair and finesse.

Of course, Peru's national cocktail, the Pisco Sour, is on Feliz's menu - in its century-old form and with one-of-a-kind surprises.

Feliz elevates the Pisco Sour (RM45) with Pisco infusion methods that beautifully meld botanicals, fruits and spices, unlocking a spectrum of inherent flavours that sing with a spirited sprightliness, revitalising in the tangy tartness of fresh lime juice. It's like discovering the Pisco Sour all over again for the first time.

Beyond the original, Feliz offers Pisco Sours in other fun flavour profiles, such as lime with vanilla, mango with chilli, and even Asian inflections of pandan with coconut or jasmine tea with pineapple.

For KL's cocktail aficionados, note that Feliz boasts a brilliant bar, well worth visiting for playful potions like the Llama Glama (RM45), fragrantly bittersweet and florally earthy with dark rum, mezcal, passionfruit and hibiscus tea syrup, alluringly adorned with edible artwork of Peru's oldest domesticated animal, the llama that roams the mountainsides.

Corn makes a captivating comeback in the Huaricanga (RM45), named for the most ancient city in the Americas, a milky, sweet-sour mix of Demonio de Los Andes Pisco with corn in two incarnations, pureed in the beverage and as a topping of spiced corn ribs.

This cocktail thoughtfully incorporates Peru's prized ingredients, laced with the Nikkei influence of Peru's large ethnic Japanese community: The Papa Púrpura (RM45) is captivating with shiso-infused Pisco, mingling with notes of purple sweet potato and shiso bitters, finished with sweet potato skin for a sensuously stylish concoction.


Machu Picchu (RM45) is not to be missed - a nod to the iconic Inca citadel landmark, this marries South America and Southeast Asia in mouthwatering fashion: Thai tea-infused gin with chocolate-washed vermouth, rounded out with house-made yuzu jelly that spectacularly resembles a citrus fruit slice.


L4-05, Level 4, Avenue K, Jalan Ampang, 50350 Kuala Lumpur.
Daily, 12pm-11pm. Tel: 011-1771-7742