Marta's Kitchen @ The Signature, Desa Sri Hartamas

September 20, 2015

Honest Spanish cooking by a former schoolteacher from Salamanca & her Dutch husband who've made KL their home: Marta's Kitchen is a marvellous new stop for Malaysians seeking authentic servings of tapas, paella & very possibly the city's most satisfying churros. This street-level outlet with a leafy view is the latest addition to The Signature in Sri Hartamas, a serviced-suites building that's becoming a hub for eateries worth checking out (Proof Cafe & Sky Lounge opened here in May, while Forum, a modern Australian-inspired restaurant, is set to launch a few steps from Marta's Kitchen before November).

 Marta remains true to Spanish culinary traditions while relying mainly on local produce to whip up irresistibly delicious treats - the humble potato forms the foundation for beautiful comfort food, including the classic 'tortilla de patatas' (RM22; a thick omelette served fresh, warm & wonderfully fluffy, laced with truffle oil for extra aroma) & 'patatas bravas' (RM14; crispy-creamy fried potatoes with flavoursome aioli & spicy tomato sauce). Order these two items for a terrific start to your meal here.

Marta's repertoire is peppered with plenty of pork - smooth, savoury Jamon Iberico ham (RM37; with bread & tomatoes), skewered pork pinchos (RM15; succulent, spice-marinated kebabs), ham croquettes (RM18; piping-hot fritters of pleasure, oozing inside with bechamel sauce) & breaded slices of tender pork sirloin lined with Iberico ham & melted cheese (RM25).

 Seafood is represented by shrimp pan-fried with chillies, garlic & extra virgin olive oil (RM23) & crunchy battered squid with house-made aioli (RM19). Vegetarians will be taken care of - there are roasted peppers & eggplant marinated in balsamic vinegar & evoo, with a hint of garlic & parsley (RM17) & sliced tomatoes with fresh basil (RM17). And of course, every self-respecting Spanish restaurant promises cheese - the native Manchego here, paired with a sweet, rich wine reduction (RM23).

Marta Alonso, her husband Finn & their team take pride in their paella, cooked in a family-style pan that showcases Valencian heritage. The restaurant does justice to this dish, hitting all the right notes for taste & texture - the sort of paella that left us wanting more. A plate with seafood in every scoop costs RM35. Ask Marta's staff to serve your paella as soon as the kitchen finishes preparing each large batch (which currently happens once or twice a night), so that it's at the peak of its freshness.

Save space for dessert: Marta's churros are magnificent, deceptive in their apparent simplicity, with a convincing crispness that's the result of meticulous fine-tuning (Marta tweaked the recipe over 50 times before she was fully confident with it). If you must have churros in KL, make it at Marta's, with sugar & cinnamon (RM9), vanilla ice cream & caramelised apples (RM14) or a Valrhona choc & caramel dip (RM15). The crema catalana (RM12) & Santiago almond cake (RM14) also hit the sweet spot, coupled with a hot cup of cortado (RM8). Spanish wines are available by glass or bottle. Many thanks to Marta's for hosting us.

Marta's Kitchen
The Signature, Jalan Sri Hartamas 22, Desa Sri Hartamas, Kuala Lumpur. 
Currently open for dinner: Sun, Tues-Thurs 530pm-11pm, Fri-Sat: 530pm-1am. Closed Mondays. 
Will open for lunch eventually. Tel: 03-6411-0832

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