Friday, August 14, 2009

Engka Portobello. Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL. Long Tapas Lunch With Magic Shrooms.

In Literature, food has often been used metaphorically in many ways. Most often, an act of communion and trust among friends. And nobody can actually forget the feeling of extreme violation of trust when a Mafia Don invites his enemies to Dinner and then guns them down in cold blood. Henry Fielding's Victorian novel, Tom Jones itself has so many references to food, and during the Victorian Age, with it's prim and properness, sex is not to be mentioned explicitly and babies were delivered by storks. If you have read Tom Jones, Book IX, chapter V, the description of the dinner Tom had with Mrs. Waters was undoubtedly very provocatively sexual.

The moans and sighs of Mrs. Waters as she sat watching the younger Tom Jones devour 3 pounds of beef is filled with naughty connotations. Read Tom Jones here. But, I digress.

One fine afternoon, when I decided to take off early, I had the chance to stumble upon Engka Portobello. The little restaurant was not impressive from the outside, but what a lovely surprise when I stepped in. Lovely rattan chairs and bossa nova music playing complemented the drizzle outside. It had been open for the past 5 months, by a Dutch but the menu was ecelectic. Pastas, Roasted Ribs, Steaks and Tapas.

Tapas. Lovely little snacks/appetizers and in combination, makes for a full meal. Think of it as Spanish Dim Sum if you like.

I started off with a Mojito, my favourite to quell the afternoon heat. The version here was good. lots of fresh Mint leaves and lovely brown sugar at the bottom. The nectar of Cuban Gods.

The first Tapas I had was Sauteed Tiger Prawns, Sun Dried Tomatoes, Wilted Spinach and Enoki mushrooms on a piece of Grilled Bread. Deviously simple to prepare, but perfectly executed. The enoki was crunchy, the tomatoes added the zing and the garlicky wilted spinach went perfectly with the Tiger prawns.

Stuffed Portobello with Seared Scallop, prawn and spinach came with some balsamic reduction tad was slightly sweetish. Moist and succulent, the mushrooms were magical. Wicked! Another winner.

Grilled Streaky Bacon with Haloumi Cheese and Onion Rings. Haloumi Cheese is a distinctive Middle Eastern/Cypriot Cheese mad from goat+sheep milk. It has a high melting temperature and you can see from the pictures that despite being grilled, the cheese has not melted. Taste wise, it was a tad salty and tasted a bit like mozarella. Not pungent at all. And the grilled bacon. What can go wrong right? The restaurant uses healthy Olive Oil to prepare their dishes.

For Dessert, I had Churrous' served with Chocolate dip. Spanish Yaw char kwai! This was not too oily, and the chocolate dip was not sweet, but has a bitter yet extremely chocolaty after taste. I'm in love with this restaurant. It is laid back and if you are tired of the usual Italian Fare along this strip, you know that you can always fall back on to this place.

They seem to have a fairly extensive wine selection, from the cellar. It would be interesting to explore the wines here!

"Eruct!" said Sancho; "I don't know what that means."
"To eruct, Sancho," said Don Quixote, "means to belch, and that is one of the filthiest words in the Spanish language, though a very expressive one; and therefore nice folk have had recourse to the Latin, and instead of belch say eruct, and instead of belches say eructations; and if some do not understand these terms it matters little, for custom will bring them into use in the course of time, so that they will be readily understood; this is the way a language is enriched; custom and the public are all-powerful there."
"In truth, senor," said Sancho, "one of the counsels and cautions I mean to bear in mind shall be this, not to belch, for I'm constantly doing it."
"Eruct, Sancho, not belch," said Don Quixote.
"Eruct, I shall say henceforth, and I swear not to forget it," said Sancho.
From don Quixote by Cervantes @FBB, referring to his new organic beans diet :P

This little charming restaurant is open from 11am to 11.30pm, Mondays to Fridays, 9am to 11.30pm on weekends.

Engka Portobello
32 Jalan Changkat Bukit Bintang
50200 Kuala Lumpur
Tel: +60321447323

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