A nose-to-tail adventure

The Grilled Pork Shoulder Steak has been a staple dish of the El Cerdo menu since it started its business 10 years ago.

FOR El Cerdo, pork is the lifeblood of its business.

El Cerdo, which translates to “the pig”, takes pride in its inventive cooking method that abides by its “nose to tail eating” philosophy that leaves no stone unturned in explorative preparation of pork.

El Cerdo restaurant manager Terence Thiang explained, “At El Cerdo, we serve every part of the pig.

“We intend to offer something different and unique to our customers,” he said, adding that the restaurant specialised in the European-style of cooking and most of the dishes were inspired by Spanish origins.

I started my meal with a serving of Jamon Iberico De Bellota El Pata Negra, the recommended appetiser.

Truth to be told, I found the salty taste of the Spanish ham to be rather overwhelming but this was redeemed by the honey-sweet rock melon balls.

The clever combination of two different tastes in the dish enticed my taste buds to desire more of this harmonious equilibrium of sweet-and-salty cold starter.

El Cerdo offers something for everyone with its wide selections of dishes.
El Cerdo offers something for everyone with its wide selections of dishes.

Moving on, my colleague and I were introduced to the house special – Green Salsa Baby Back Ribs, which was generously topped with capers.

As a nod to the use of herbs in European cooking, this back ribs dish is the prime exemplar that celebrates the aromatic flavour of herbs.

Next, we got to taste the delectable Cochinillo Al Estilo Segoviano, roasted suckling pig prized as the signature dish that keeps customers coming back and a dish which origins is said to date back a century.

“Cochinillo Al Estilo Segoviano was created by a couple after the husband returned home from war to settle down in Segovia, Spain, with his wife,” said Thiang.

“They started to roast suckling pigs during their free time and the smell was so good that they reportedly received a lot of enquiries which led them to open a restaurant,” he said.

The dish is accompanied by a plate-cutting ceremony with the dual purpose of illustrating its Spanish tradition and chef’s mastery of roasting.

To complete the ceremony, the plates used in serving the meat are later smashed for good luck in accordance to Spanish tradition.

Some things do taste as good as it looks and such is the case with the roasted suckling pig. The succulent meat was tender and served with roasted potatoes.

The restaurant also served Iberico Rib Paella, a rice dish set alight with dark Cuban rum, which offered a generous taste of rum-infused rice with Spanish sausages.

My personal favourite, however, was the Pork Shoulder Steak in which the meat was marinated in a concoction of herbs to produce a juicy texture.

Mashed potatoes was an excellent companion side dish to complement the tenderness of the steak.

The meal was completed with Werner’s Special and Andreas Special as the selected desserts of the day.

My colleague and I found Werner’s Special to be more appealing because of its strong mix of berry variants that did not taste overly sweet compared to Andreas Special.

To quench our thirst, we were served several different sangrias but the white wine-and-pear sangria stood out most due to the addition of lemons for a citrus touch.

This gastronomic affair was a refreshing change to my unadventurous semi-vegetarian diet.

Prices for El Cerdo main dishes range from RM60++ to 100++.

EL CERDO. 43 & 45 Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur. (Tel: 03-2145 0511) Business hours: Noon to 2.30pm & 6pm to 11pm (Sunday to Friday), 6pm to 11pm (Saturday). Non-halal.

This is the writer’s personal observation and not an endorsement by StarMetro.

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