By Scott Ng
Photos By Aubrey Yong
It’s been years since I last made the trek up to Genting Highlands. Being something of a cold-blooded reptile, the frigid peaks have never been that comfortable a place for my sinuses, but when the email invite arrived in my inbox to try out two of the new restaurants currently plying their wares in the massive new complex known as Genting SkyAvenue, I knew I couldn’t turn it down.
The first restaurant, La Fiesta, is a Spanish restaurant bent on preserving the spirit and techniques that make Spanish cuisine such a noteworthy delight all over the world. Taking particular pride in their usage of Iberico ham flown in from Spain, La Fiesta offers an authentic menu featuring all the expected trappings of the culture, from savory paella to cold cuts of Iberico ham so good they need no accompaniment.
First up, we were served Mixed Iberico Cuts (RM88/96), featuring Jamon, Chorizo, Salchichon & Lomo cuts from the famed Iberico pig, complete with slices of bread on the side. The restaurant was especially excited to introduce the Jamon, which comes from the delicate, nutty, acorn-fed cured Iberico pork leg and is well known as the best part of the Iberico pig. It definitely lives up to it’s name – melting in your mouth and full of salty flavor. Fortunately, my table mates were dainty eaters, allowing me to go through the other cuts with impunity. A personal highlight was the Chorizo cut, which is perfectly complemented by spices and had me dispensing with the bread to eat the meat on its own.
Next up, we were served with the Pork & Chicken Paella (RM75/83). The rice used here is bomba rice, and is cooked till soft, but still solid as the rice breaks apart easily if allowed to cook all the way. Infused with Spanish paprika and slow cooked in chicken broth, the paella was honestly somewhat underwhelming compared to the feast of meat previously served us. However, it was savory and the firm rice was something different for the Malaysian palette which is used to soft rice, and definitely something for those looking to really fill up, as a portion of the serving (we were all sharing after all) made me feel a lot fuller than normal.
The good people at La Fiesta were kind enough to add an item to the menu for the day that wasn’t in the original plan – the Presca Iberica (RM38/42). A chunk of marinated pork shoulder cooked medium rare, the tender, pink insides were enough to send my photographer into a feeding frenzy when the dish arrived. Served on a bed of fried potato, the Presca Iberica was soft and full of flavor, and unsurprisingly, disappeared off the table in a matter of minutes.
Finally, to close off the feast, the beautiful Crema Catalana (RM16/18) made it’s way to the table. A creme brulee served Spanish style, the caramelized custard cream dessert featured the same oh-so-fun-to-break crush of the creme brulee while maintaining a somewhat softer taste overall. This is definitely worth a repeat visit, and the memory of it makes me hungry as it is.
Bellies full, our good chaperones from Genting ushered us towards the next restaurant, but’s that’s a story for another day..