La Mexicana @ Hock Choon Terrace

October 9, 2012

Buen provecho! Mexican cuisine has experienced an unprecedented year of popularity in KL; first, Loco opened in March in Changkat Bukit Bintang, followed by Fresca at The Gardens nearly two months later and La Boca last month at Pavilion.

Based on that impressive list, there's clearly no lack of choices now for Malaysian customers who crave everything from enchiladas to tamales, but there's still space for La Mexicana, which opened this week at Ampang's Terrace at Hock Choon.

La Mexicana was meant to launch in June, but its owners' insistence on perfection for the purchased-in-Mexico frills, renovation and staff training resulted in repeated postponements. Thankfully, wonderful things are often worth the wait.

The kitchen here is run by Mexican-Italian chef Carmela, whose passion and prowess for the cooking she was raised on radiates through colorful recipes like the classic ceviche (RM32), filled with chunky marinated fish, fresh and firm.

Pork is what sets La Mexicana apart from KL's other Mexican eateries. For meaty munching, there's corn tortilla tacos stuffed with Yucatan-style slow-roasted pork (RM32), rubbed with spices and served with red onions and habanero chili sauce.

A salad of imported cactus leaves with guajillo chili (RM45) might sound more intriguing than it tastes (think French beans, sort of). But this probably encapsulates the philosophy behind the food here, focusing on time-honored authenticity, not flashy flavors.

Like beetroot? You'll likely love La Mexican's creamy, chilled beetroot soup with crispy fried tortilla chips (RM24). A testament to chef Carmela's experience and extra pinches of creativity following nearly 25 years in the restaurant business.

Service here is as pleasant as can be. This plate of prawns flambeed with Patron tequila (RM55) looked a little plain, so we requested some beans to partner with it. Soon enough, a bowl of hot black bean puree was whipped up specially to make this tastier.

Not an extensive sugar selection for now, but a sweet tooth should be satisfied by crepes with Cajeta burnt milk cream sauce and walnuts (RM36).

Nutty-fruity chocolate cake with a hint of dried chili passilla (RM36), evocative of black forest.

 La Mexicana Margarita (tequila, triple sec, cactus flower, lime juice).

 Klamato (tequila, tomato juice, lime juice, tabasco, salt, pepper).

Shangrita (tequila, orange juice, red wine, lime juice, sugar).

La Mexicana's kitchen crew, hard at work in their poolside space.

Terrace at Hock Choon might not bring in big crowds nowadays, but here's hoping La Mexicana will help to revitalize this site somehow. A restaurant that's worth a shot, worth supporting for its people who strive hard to serve something a little different.

La Mexicana,
Terrace at Hock Choon, Off Jalan Ampang, Kuala Lumpur.
Open for lunch and dinner, closed Mondays.

This restaurant is available for bookings under TABLEAPP, which enables customers to make instant reservations at Malaysia's top restaurants, while saving time and money in the process. Reserve your table at this restaurant by clicking here.