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Monday, 9 March 2015

Iberico Kitchen @ Ara Damansara

If you love your meat.....especially pork...you would love Iberico pork.  Iberico pork to pork lovers is what Kobe beef is to beef lovers, I guess!  And, Iberico pork is still a lot more affordable than Kobe beef ;)
 
I've wanted to try Iberico pork for the longest time and got to know this place, Iberico Kitchen @ Ara Damansara (opened in January this year) through eatdrinkkl's blog.  Since this was a get-together with friends on the second weekend of Chinese New Year and everyone preferred to have something other than Chinese food, this became an obvious choice.

I don't know much about Iberico pork other than the fact that it's premium imported pork (which supposedly tastes awesome) and that the pigs are black....hee...hee!  [#Note: So, here's a bit on Iberico pork (from online sources):  It comes from the breed of pigs known as the "black-footed pigs" and lives primarily in the southern parts of Spain.  They roam freely in pasture and oak groves and feed on grass, herbs and lots of acorns (it's the acorns that makes its ham taste so special).]
 
Their menu is filled with delicious Iberico dishes from salads, soups, pastas and mains to their Iberico speciality......ribs.  We started with the Iberico Meatballs Special @ RM33 which are meatballs made from Iberico jowl meat (check the earlier pic to know which part is the jowl) and served with a simple side salad.

For the price of RM33, the 6 pcs of Iberico meatballs may seem rather pricey to some (you can do the maths to know how much each meatball costs) but, then again, this is premium pork you're getting.  Taste-wise, they were just so much more flavourful (than normal pork) and fried till it developed a nice crisp exterior...these were special meatballs alright....I liked it to the max!
 
Our next order was the The Aglio Olio @ RM33 served with sliced Iberico Collar.  You have an option of spaghetti, linguine or fettuccine for your pasta (we went with linguine).

The linguine was cooked perfectly with a tinge of heat from the chilli flakes.  The pan-seared Iberico collar slices, on the other hand, were super tender and oh-so-yummy :-)
 
Next up was the Iberico Jowl Schnitzel @ RM39 served with a vegetable kebab (of red and green capsicums, onions, squash, Japanese cucumber, eggplant and mushroom), peppers salad (with almost similar vegetables) and fries with a homemade sauce (that had a predominant sesame flavour).

The Iberico jowl meat was coated with Japanese breadcrumbs before being deep fried.  It was still good but a tad on the dry side (for me).  This was my least favourite but it was expected since it had been deep fried.
 
Of course you can't come to Iberico Kitchen and not order their signature Iberico ribs.  This is the quarter rack Honey Glazed Iberico Spare Ribs @ RM67.68 (RM16 per 100g) which comes with a side dish of your choice (while a full rack order will get you 2 sides).  My first choice was the pineapple salsa but since they were out of that, I went with the roasted cherry tomatoes (other choices include creamy sweet corn, mashed potatoes, paprika fries, pilaf rice, house salad or vegan kebab).
 
They also conveniently provided a plastic glove so that you don't need to mess up your hands...how thoughtful :)  Just look at the wonderful caramelisation on the ribs.  This is the 'piece de resistance'!
 
The quarter rack of 4 ribs was just ideal for the 4 of us.  Note that the ribs are not very meaty but whatever meat you can get out of the ribs were absolutely 'to die for'!  [#Tip: If you prefer meaty ribs, they have one on the menu @ RM39.]  Also, the ribs were quite fatty but fear not coz Iberico pig fats contain healthy mono-saturated fats high in oleic acid...like in olive oil...that's why the Iberico pig is known as "the olive tree with four legs" :D :D (you can find this info at the bottom of their menu).  In other words, eat away, the fats are good for you!!  [#Tip: So, if you're actually one who loves your meat fatty, you can have loads of this guilt-free fats ;)]  I've not eaten ribs that taste quite like this before (but, then again, they weren't Iberico ribs)...the highly marbled, melt-in-your-mouth meat was simply divine!  My friends loved it to bits ;)
 
Towards the end of our lunch (probably close to 4pm), we remembered that since we were still in the midst of Chinese New Year, we enquired if we could order "lou sang"...you see, their kitchen was already closed but they graciously obliged.  They open for lunch from 11am - 3pm and reopen again for dinner from 6pm - 10pm (we just made it here before 2.30 pm, which was incidentally their last call for lunch orders).
 
This is the Lou Sang with Iberico Ham (S) @ RM48 with julienned cucumber, green and yellow peppers, carrot, turnip, cabbage and green apples topped with crispy mushrooms and the 'star' of the show.....the Iberico ham!
 
Presentation-wise, let's face it...it wasn't one of the best looking lou sang....the julienned strips were not as refined and the placing of the different coloured vegetables could be better but I can't fault it as it was prepared after the kitchen was closed.  

Pour in the crushed peanuts, sesame seeds, crispy crackers and sauce...and we're ready to "rock and lou" ;)
 
And got these colourful chopsticks for the lou sang...very pretty =)
 
We had to be a bit more careful with our prosperity toss since our lou sang did not come in an oversized plate for easier tossing...hmmm....ah well, we weren't concerned with the tossing, we were more concerned with the eating.  It was a big plate of vegetables and, in the end, we couldn't finish this dish...but we ate up all the 'salty but good' ham though!
 
Taste-wise, I would say it's just ok as it lacked some sweetness (because of the selection of vegetables used) but, hey, the Iberico ham was stellar ;)  But that's understandable since lou sang is not their forte.  [#Note: I can still remember the all fruits yee sang I had last year at Tai Thong that still stands as my favourite yee sang as I loved the refreshing taste of all the different combination of juicy fruits.]
 
For drinks, they have fresh juices, hot drinks, iced drinks and special concoctions.
 
Hot Lemongrass with Honey @ RM7.90
Watermelon Juice @ RM12.90
Chamomile Tea @ RM6.90

But it was this special concoction called The Cleanser @ RM12.90 that blew us away!  It was a mixture of blended pineapple chunks with fresh thyme leaves and a squeeze of lemon.  It was fresh, it was citrusy, it was lemony....and it was oh-so-good (especially the perfumey fragrance when bits of thyme leaves got sucked up through the straw).  This is certainly up there among some of my favourite drinks....we immediately ordered another two.

#Footnote:
At the end of our meal, Wilson (one of the owners), came up to our table to check what we thought about the food.  Of course, we all gave it the "thumbs up"!  He asked us how we knew about the place (Sean, he remembered that the two of you went through quite a lot of dishes that night...over a period of 3 hrs)! :D

He shared with us his challenges with the cooking and doneness of his pork as some of his customers preferred it more pinkish (and tender) while some didn't like pinkish pork (you know how people get freaked out by raw pork) not knowing that if the pork/breed is that good, it can be cooked medium rare or less (just like a good pc of steak).  Even now, I see many still eating their steaks well done.  I suggested that maybe he should ask his customers (just like steakhouses) how they'd like their pork done....hee...hee!

As the restaurant is still new, expect some new dishes to come out from the kitchen in the months ahead....like Iberico "char siew", maybe?  The Iberico paella is already available though it's not officially on the menu yet.

We left the restaurant and went for a stroll around Oasis Square (as some of us have not been there before).  This place is actually quite picturesque and beautiful with an array of restaurants for you to choose from (you'll be spoilt for choice here).  The entrance to this square looks especially scenic but we didn't make it there as it started to rain barely 5 mins into our stroll.  I managed to capture these 3 pics before we left (and vowed to return soon).
 
My Personal Opinion
 
This was truly a porky indulgence...and all-in-all, we had a lip-smacking good time here!  If there's one thing you should try here...it's their signature Iberico ribs (there's a choice between original or honey glazed) which left us licking our fingers.....and our lips!

Some may feel that the portions sizes are a wee bit small but that's understandable because of the higher than norm prices for premium pork.  I felt the servings here were just nice for us ladies (who are small to medium-sized eaters) but men...and some women too (who are bigger eaters) would probably need more than one dish to satisfy their cravings.
 
So, was it worth paying a premium price for Iberico pork?  Yes, definitely!  If you want true porcine pleasure, go for Iberico pork...it's a cut above the rest!  It's a place worthy of revisits......enough said!

Iberico Kitchen
Unit D-G-07 Block D Oasis Square
Jalan PJU 1A/7A Ara Damansara
47301 Petaling Jaya
Selangor
Tel: 03-7859 9296

19 comments:

  1. Yes, count me in! I love pork!!!

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    1. If you're the pork lover that you are....you'll definitely enjoy this pork more!

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  2. I'll wallop them all! You're not the first person who said Iberico pork is to pork lovers what Kobe beef is to beef lovers. I must find a way to get there!

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    1. I'm not the first person to say this...and I certainly won't be the last! Yes, do try to find your way there to savour this premium pork :)

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  3. I work opposite Oasis and go there like once a week to Bad Boys, Burger Factory, Secret Recipe, Ali Muthu Ah Hock, Mr. & Ms, Tappers and yet never heard of this place before.. Never seen it also.. Shame on me!!

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    1. Lucky you....lots of great choices for your lunch break. Ai...never seen it?....it's (I think) 2 shops away from Tappers wor (corner lot)!

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  4. I love this place already hah..hah... I meant to order the Iberico pork ribs when I next visit El Cerdo. So, will definitely check out Iberico Kitchen soon!

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    1. You can check out the Iberico ribs here and the one in El Cerdo to see which one is better....haha!

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  5. ooo, thanks for visiting and writing about them ... super-glad to read that you enjoyed your meal and endorse iberico kitchen! really like your very descriptive and thoughtful review too :) ooo, i didn't meet wilson that night (maybe he was in the kitchen), but i did meet one of his partners, who was very nice. hopefully more customers will continue to discover this delightful little place :)

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    1. I'm glad that you liked my write-up about the place. Wilson mentioned that they might try making Iberico char siew and I suggested that it shouldn't be more fat than lean...a half-half ratio is just nice (though some might not concur)! :D

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  6. Thanks for sharing this. When we went to Japan, we ate Tonkatsu from black pigs and found them to be super tender and tasty. Will definitely ask my husband whether or not he is interested to eat here. I have not been to Oasis for food yet because it is quite far away from my place.

    Just wondering, have you tried Tonkatsu by Ma Maison?

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    1. Do try to make a trip if you haven't been there before...I think you'll enjoy the food....as well as the ambience of Oasis Square :)

      No, I've not tried Tonkatsu by Ma Maison. But I heard that they don't use the premium Japanese black pigs like their Singapore outlet. So, the one you ate in Japan could taste a lot different from the one here.

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    2. I read some where that Tonkatsu here doesn't use the premium black pigs because the import of these type of meat is limited by the government. So far, I have eaten there a few times and their normal pork meat tastes very good too (for a non meat person like me).

      The thing is Oasis Square is really far. We went there once in the afternoon and it was not as nice as at night so we did not stop, just went in and out and paid the parking fee. Did not even get down from the car. :(

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    3. Oh, the normal pork tastes good too....maybe, I should try then.

      Well, if you prefer the ambience at night, then you can always go there for dinner ;)

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    4. But I don't eat dinner so most probably I will go there for lunch.

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  7. That's a generous serving of pork atop the pasta.

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  8. Hey...not far from my place. Maybe can drop by . Food looks delicious

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    Replies
    1. Yeah, do give it a try since it's nearby for you ;)

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