El Iberico @ Pavilion, Kuala Lumpur
July 19, 2017
By EDKL Writer A.A.
Where do you go for excellent pork ribs in the heart of KL? With a lovely painting of a matador that welcomes customers within, El Iberico aims to appease Malaysian appetites with the apex of hog husbandry. Numerous other outlets may offer pork ribs, but El Iberico's specialisation in Spanish-bred, free-range, acorn-fed pata negra marks it as a serious contender for carnivorous porcine pleasure.
But before we reach those ribs, this is a restaurant that boasts a complete repertoire of temptations inspired by Spain, Italy and beyond, curated by Cuban-born chef Emilio. El Iberico kicks off each meal with its house-baked bread and a trio of olive oils, including ones laced with chillies & herbs. Share a tapas-style starter platter (RM35), with a playful mix of recipes such as marinated olives; manchego cheese; marinated capsicum and eggplant; tuna belly with peppers and aioli sauce; tomato bread with jamon serrano ham and goat's cheese; and marinated octopus - it's a cornucopia of flavours, some subtle, others savoury or sweet, light or punchy, each whetting our appetite for more (everything can be ordered separately too).
Soups and salads also seize centre stage at this point - a beautifully textured, warming lentil broth with many morsels of cured pork belly, oozing with flavor (RM20), and a tantalisingly tasty toss of Iberico ham salad with Brussels sprouts and radicchio in an uplifting orange dressing (RM20).
Move on from there to these meaty main courses - succulent chicken with potatoes and peas in a jerez wine-based sauce for a perfect pairing of protein, starch and fibre (RM29), and fleshy, herb-crusted lamb rack and loin, incredibly smooth and tender with a delightfully mild flavour, complemented by asparagus and wine-baked potatoes (RM68). But the piece de resistance of this trio is probably the prized, marbled shoulder cut of the Iberian pig (RM78) - each slice is decadently rich and juicy, promising a peak experience of prime pork.
The menu stretches across the European continent, from spaghetti (RM29), generous with clams in a white wine sauce, to paella (RM65), which arrives at the table with the unmistakable aroma of saffron, inviting us to dig into a hot pan brimming with prawns, mussels, squid, scallops, clams and chorizo slices.
Ultimately though, El Iberico's pride and joy is the Iberico ribs - the Iberico Honey Mustard Meaty Ribs (RM68) are marinated with beer and honey mustard, left to simmer for 24 hours, not smothered with heavy sauces to mask the pure allure of the meat.
Biting into these ribs is a joy - the flavours are confidently balanced, enabling the quality of the meat to shine, with a crisp exterior that yields to sheer, sweet-savoury tenderness. Roasted vegetables on the side furnish a satisfying counterpoint to the meat.
From 20 July until 4 August, El Iberico's ribs will be priced at only RM34 per serving, as part of the restaurant's opening promotion - it's half the regular price of RM68, so this is the ideal time to schedule a visit here. Two other flavour variants are available - an â€˜original' version with salt and pepper, or another marinated in paprika sauce. Each 400-gram serving should satisfy two regular eaters.
If you have space for a couple of desserts, the Tarta de Santiago (RM18) is a crumbly traditional almond tart that'll evoke a taste of Galicia, while the Crema Catalana (RM12) is a solid take on the classic custard with a caramelised cover.
El Iberico's beverage list spans the essentials too, from Sangrias to a wine selection that relies not only from Spain but Australia and more.
Many thanks to El Iberico for having us.
Daily, 10.00am - 12.00am | 03-2110-2631
Lot C4.05.01, Pavilion Kuala Lumpur, Jalan Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia