|Mediteca, Frasers Place|
Mediteca, Scrumptious New Dishes
Words by Theresa Flashpoler
Photos by The Yum List (Monica Tindall)
(Mediteca has changed management since this article. We have not yet been back to check out the latest.)
This was my first experience going out with Monica and Caning on a food adventure and I think it is fortunate that my first assignment was Mediteca. I was pleasantly surprised at the end of the experience and fully satisfied, albeit a little heavier than when I started.
Mediteca is an unassuming first-rate restaurant, reasonably priced for the quality imported food they serve. This June 2014, Mediteca has prepared a new menu that combines the best of Spanish, Italian and Australian meats and produce, along with Mediterranean spices, and local Malaysian seafood, chicken and vegetables.
Mediteca’s a la carte menu is extensive. It starts with a wide selection of tapas and starters. The main courses vary from meat, seafood, and pasta options, and finishes with dessert and aperitifs. Every dish screams of a balanced blend of ingredients along with dichotomous flavors: bitterness with the sweet and tartness with the saltiness. Its fare reminds me of rustic, country-styled food but served with elegance, balanced presentation, and the paring of wines with plates that match the look, colors, style, and textures of the food. The result is a gastronomically and visually pleasing effect.
|House Baked Focaccia and Grisini|
To start, we whet our palate with a Prosecco Superioure—extra dry bubbly that had just the right amount of effervescence and a dry citrus taste.
|Prosecco – lovely beginning|
Our first course began with an assortment of tapas. The Omelette, similar to a frittata, came in an adorable mini frying pan, which consisted of tangy pieces of artichoke, nutty arugula greens, and sweet tomatoes. It was finished with minced garlic and, sprinkled with paprika and Parmesan cheese. A pleasing start.
|Artichoke and Rocket Omelette (RM12)|
The Pan con Tomate y Serrano, served on a small wooden block, was a toasted crusty bread, with chopped roasted tomato, Parma ham, dried tomato skin and water cress. It was drizzled with olive oil and felt crunchy, salty, and sweet all at the same time.
|Pan con Tomate y Serrano (RM24)|
|Freshly Sliced Cold Cuts|
The Arancini was a new dish for me – two deep-fried rice balls, stuffed with mozzarella cheese, ham from southern Italy, Bolognese sauce, and spicy tomatoes. Monica and Caning loved the slender firm exterior and chewy centre, saying if there wasn’t so much food to try, that they would request a second helping.
Our last tapa was the Croquette – a deep fried mashed potato ball stuffed with spinach, gorgonzola cheese, olive oil, and tomato paste—crispy on the outside with a lingering tangy garlic finishing off the last bite.
Before we dug into the starters and salads, we were presented with a Santa Carolina Gran Vino – Blanco, a Chilean wine. The white wine was sweet with an aroma of moscato but body of a chardonnay. Caning, apparently rather fond of all things sweet, enjoyed this white wine immensely.
|Santa Carolina Gran Vino Blanco|
The Crostone was a hearty, crispy piece of homemade bread covered with pieces of Shitake mushrooms, Pancetta ham and melted Fontal cheese. Crushed black peppercorns dotted the top. The surprising delight of this dish is the rich béchamel sauce underneath. which evens out the saltiness of Fontal cheese.
The two salads we tasted were a big hit with all of us. The Farro is a healthy option made with chewy spelt and miniscule cubes of capsicum, carrots, and zucchini sitting on a bed of arugula pesto. The olive oil drizzled evenly throughout the dish infused the different textures and flavors. Not even a single grain was left in the bowl by the time we’d finished with it.
|Farro – Spelt Salad (RM22) – one of Monica’s favourite’s|
If you’re a fan of roots, then the Beetroot Salad is for you. The beetroot, imported from Australia, is baked in the oven with a bed of rock salt so that it keeps its crispiness. The beetroot is then cut into medium sized cubes, mixed with baby spinach, tomato, leek and Spanish Chorizo. The beautiful squared green bowl that it was served in accentuated the colors of the dish. The salad was well combined with fennel seeds, anise, salt flakes, the natural oil from the chorizo, and raspberry vinegar—saltiness, sweetness and tartness at the same time. A definite winner!
|Beetroot Salad (RM22) – Monica’s other favourite|
A restaurant wouldn’t be Mediterranean without pasta. We were able to try three of the many types of pasta on the menu, all prepared to al dente perfection. The rigatoni from northern Italy was covered with smoked Italian ham, mushrooms, asparagus, white wine and butter.
The Orechiette, a dish from southern Italy, is a pasta shell sauté with broccoli, sausage, white wine and chilies. For those who like spice, this dish certainly elevated the humble green vegetable and simple pasta to new levels.
We were all pleasantly surprised with the maccheroni pasta stuffed with gorgonzola cheese, walnuts, breadcrumbs, and lightly coated with béchamel sauce, Parmesan and parsley flakes. The chef calls it a “cheeky” adaptation of the American Mac and Cheese and, we’d take this version any day! Mediteca also provides fresh, homemade egg pasta that is popular among their customers.
A Spanish red wine, Serres Tempranillo – 2012, was recommended to prepare our palate for the main course. This deep maroon hued wine sported black cherries on the nose and a bold fruitiness in the mouth. It partnered well with the following sausage dish, but also did justice to the seafood main because of the multitude of vegetables as accompaniment.
We began with a Luganeta Italian sausage that was densely packed with herbs. It was a served with thick slices of potatoes in white wine, rosemary and thyme sauce. The combined tartness of the reduced wine, dense meaty smoky sausage, and softness of the potatoes were thoroughly enjoyed by all. Even though we were already full, we managed to devour the sausage quickly.
|Luganeta Italian Sausage with Potato and Rosemary (RM58) – Caning’s favourite|
If you like seafood, the salmon, rosemary prawns, seared scallops wrapped in bacon, and veggie kebab would be your option. The WOW factor of this dish comes from the 12 different vegetables that were prepared according to each vegetable’s preferred cooking method. The eggplants were roasted; potatoes boiled; zucchini pan-fried and breaded; and so on—all perfectly prepared. The seafood sat on top of a puree of chickpeas emulsified with fish bisque sauce and tahini—a cornucopia of flavors.
|Salmon, Scallops, Seared Prawns and Veggie Kebabs (RM58)|
We ended the evening with dessert iced coffee (Kahlua, Baileys, and espresso), a rice pudding, and apple tart. The crunchy, sweet, and creamy Italian rice pudding extracted its flavors from the risotto rice, nuts, amaretto and vanilla. It was quaintly served in a miniature ceramic saucepan.
On the other hand, the apple tart is not your standard apple pie but apple puree with cinnamon, star anise, and almonds, along with a biscotti buttered crust, dusted with powdered sugar and served on a black round platter. Yummy is the only word that I can describe it.
My summation: Try Mediteca if you’re a fan of southern European cuisine and interested in the full dining experience. If the chef is around, beg him sit at your table and explain the intricacies of each dish; or even better, go watch them make it right before your eyes in their open-kitchen. The chef may even share his views on politics (both in and out of the kitchen) with you! Drink some wine, sit back, and enjoy.
|Liqueur Coffee – a fine finish|
Reasons to visit: Arancini; Omelette; Beetroot Salad (must); Farro Salad (another must!); Maccheroni; Luganeta Italian Sausage; Dessert Iced Coffee; Rice Pudding; quality selection of affordable wines; relaxed ambience.
Lot 163 Fraser Place
50450 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 21812426
+6 03 21611106