Eating Out

Published: Saturday August 2, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Saturday August 2, 2014 MYT 10:30:15 AM

Loco for Latino

La Boca's famous nachos, easy on the cheese, but it's got heaps of everything else. - Photos CHAN TAK KONG/The Star

La Boca's famous nachos, easy on the cheese, but it's got heaps of everything else. - Photos CHAN TAK KONG/The Star

Thanks to La Boca, one doesn’t have to endure a 30-hour flight just to get a taste of Latin America.

FROM the moment you enter its wonderfully quirky dining area, La Boca Latino Bar enchants. The genial atmosphere, the snappy dance music, the mouthwatering scents of food wafting in from the open kitchen and the artwork on the walls all transport you to a place packed with happiness and fun.

La Boca is, after all, a real barrio or neighbourhood in Buenos Aires and a tourist magnet in its own right. And like most Latin American destinations, food is a real highlight.

The jalapenos rellenos, or fried chilli poppers stuffed with cheese, make the perfect starter.

La Boca the establishment is no different. The instant guests plop into their seats, waiters cruise over, bearing colourful menus that list everything from Mexican tortillas to Argentinean-style slow-roasted meats to Brazilian bobó to Cuban coffees and cigars. The sheer variation of its content is enough to send any foodie into a frenzy because it’s difficult not to want it all.

But here’s a tip: nobody dines at La Boca without first ordering the nachos. The restaurant’s signature dish comes generously doused in jalapeno, melted cheese, beans, salsa and guacamole made from one whole avocado. Also highly intoxicating are the jalapenos rellenos, or golden fried chilli poppers stuffed with cheddar and cream cheese, so spicy that it will make your ears smoke and your eyes water.

And these are just the starters.

It looks like nasi lemak, but it isn't nasi lemak. These tamales - or house made corn cakes stuffed with chicken - are worth a shot for those who are willing to experiment.
It looks like nasi lemak, but it isn't nasi lemak. These tamales – or house made corn cakes stuffed with chicken – are worth a shot for those who are willing to experiment.

A majestic rotisserie oven dominates the kitchen, and is used intermittently each time someone orders a Black Angus Beef Churrasco, a Lamb Shortloin, “Granjero” Chicken or the succulent Mixed Grill combining all three. The meat is slow roasted instead of seared to retain its moisture and then served with two sides and an interesting array of sauces, including the delightfully green Chimichurri, a Latin concoction made from finely-chopped parsley, minced garlic, olive oil, oregano, and white or red wine vinegar; or La Boca’s version of the traditional spicy Chilean Pebre, this time with sweet corn and sundried tomatoes.

Newbies of Latin American cuisine should try the tamales, as recommended by La Boca’s head chef Teo Jia Jin. These homemade corn cakes – which are cooked in plantain leaves, stuffed with chicken and served with saffron rice and mixed bean salad – looks comically similar to our nasi lemak, but tastes very different because of the smokiness of the chipotle. Of course, it’s wise to stick to good ol’ fajitas if you’re not that adventurous.

Not adventurous? You  certainly can't go wrong with fajitas, a Mexican favourite.
Not adventurous? You certainly can't go wrong with fajitas, a Mexican favourite.

A young chef of Chinese descent, Teo is proud of the food he creates. He’s also especially proud that many are made from scratch, using ingredients that are real and fresh.

Meanwhile, we’re back on familiar ground with desserts. The crunchy hand-pulled churros are dusted with cinnamon sugar and served with two dips, Brazilian brigadeiro and Argentinian dulce de leche. The first – a condensed milk and chocolate mixture that’s been sitting over a slow fire for eight hours – is a crowd favourite because of its perfect balance of creaminess and sweetness. If you’re hankering for something with fewer calories, the coffee cocktails are worth a shot (or two). The carajillo or espresso whipped with dark rum, kahlua and topped with whipped cream, acts as a nice little closure.

Watsons VIP Card members enjoy 10% off the total bill on a la carte items with a minimum spend of RM100.

La Boca – Latino Bar
Lot C3.10.03, Level 3
Connection
Pavilion Kuala Lumpur
168 Jalan Bukit Bintang
Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: 03-2148 9977

Tags / Keywords: La Boca, Latin American food, La Boca Latino Bar

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