Las Meninas The Exchange Mall TRX

Las Meninas KL – Spanish Tapas TRX

Las Meninas KL – Spanish Tapas, The Dining Terrace, TRX

Words: Stephen Reid
Photos: Peter Tan

Monica’s invitation to join her to check out Las Meninas, the Cinnamon Group’s newest jewel in the glittering Exchange TRX crown, was easy to accept. As a loyal patron of their culinary havens, including the exquisite contemporary Southern Indian of Nadodi, the vibrant Italian warmth of Natalina, and the hidden gem of Frank’s speakeasy, I’ve never known anything less than stellar service and culinary delights. They have never disappointed after many visits, a testament to the Cinnamon Group’s magic. In a new collaboration with Valiram, Malaysia’s leading luxury goods and retail specialist, the restaurants on this strip (Elementary, Cafe Colombo & Las Meninas) are bound for success.

The Cinnamon Group are rockstars in the KL food scene; their restaurants are like chart-topping hits that keep you humming happy tunes long after the last bite. Over a decade in the game, their portfolio is an array of global flavours, each dish a passport to a new taste adventure. Las Meninas, their latest culinary conquest, promised to be another chartbuster, and this eager gourmand was ready to crank up the volume and devour it.

Apparently, the restaurant’s name was inspired by the painting Las Meninas by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Baroque. It shows a scene in the court of King Philip IV of Spain, with the king and queen reflected in a mirror in the background. The painting is famous for its complex composition, use of light and shadow, and its ambiguous portrayal of reality and illusion. It is one of the most important paintings in the history of Western art and is displayed in the Museo del Prado in Madrid.

For those who can’t journey to see the painting, Las Meninas invites you to savour the secrets of the Spanish royal court through its exquisite dishes that capture the region’s essence – from tapas and paellas to seafood and meat delicacies. It’s a homage to the rich and diverse Spanish gastronomy that is adored worldwide.

Las Meninas The Exchange Mall TRX facade and patio on the Dining Terrace
Las Meninas The Exchange Mall TRX
Las Meninas The Exchange Mall TRX indoor seating with dark wood tables
Las Meninas The Exchange Mall TRX – Spanish Tapas Restaurant KL
Las Meninas The Exchange Mall TRX bar with mural of Spanish Flamenco dancer in background

Las Meninas KL – The Exchange Mall, TRX

If you’re unfamiliar with KL’s newest glitzy shopping mall, in addition to being the place to grab all your luxury retail items, it’s quickly becoming a foodie paradise. Although there is the usual vast array of F&B establishments on the lower floor if you ascend the shining escalators from the main entrance through the ritzy stores (or take lift A) and follow the signs for the ‘Dining Terrace’, there is a cosmopolitan selection of eating and drinking establishments that aim for a more sophisticated and well-travelled crowd, those with time to linger over their meals and perhaps indulge in a drink or a cocktail after a hard days work, or shopping. Las Meninas is located about halfway down the Dining Terrace, nestled next to sister restaurant Cafe Colombo.

A lively red awning shades the brick planters, where green leaves spill over the edges. The mood is cosy and elegant, with dark wood panels covering the walls and ceiling. A gleaming, highly polished bar counter catches your eye, the backlit alcoves behind glowing with bottles from around the globe. Above it hangs a stunning glass chandelier, dare I say it, more dazzling than any in the mall. It resembles a giant otherworldly jellyfish from some angles, mesmerising you with its beauty. But if you look beyond it, you’ll see a colourful mural of flamenco dancers, adding a touch of Spanish flair.

Cocktail & Drinks Menu

Las Meninas is a place where you can unwind with friends after work and celebrate special occasions with friends and family; somewhere you could very easily spend a whole afternoon or evening without noticing where the time went. As such, you’d expect there to be an extensive drinks menu catering to all tastes, and you’d be right. As well as an inviting selection of non-alcoholic cocktails, soft drinks, and coffee, there is a wide range of cocktails and spirits that pack a more potent punch.

Our charming host, Paul, whom Monica recognised for his long time in the hospitality business, started our meal with a delicious carafe of Sangría de la Casa (RM 195), which you can also order by the glass (RM42). We opted for the version with red wine, rum, brandy and mixed fruit, but they also have a white wine option if you prefer. The sangria came in a tall glass jug filled with ice and slices of orange and apple, creating a beautiful contrast with the deep red liquid. As we sipped the chilled and fruity drink, we felt like we were transported to a sunny Spanish vacation.

Las Meninas The Exchange Mall TRX jug of Sangría de la Casa and glass
Sangría de la Casa

While we enjoyed our tapas, one of our smiling servers, Malik, brought us a Para Despues (RM 42) cocktail, which he said paired very well with the chorizo dish we had ordered. This sophisticated concoction comprised three key ingredients: versatile and beloved rum, the intriguing Patxaran Navarro (a sloe-flavoured liqueur) and Angostura Bitters. Rum, known for its smooth and nuanced flavours, forms the base of this cocktail, adding depth and character. Patxaran Navarro, a liqueur steeped in Basque tradition, infuses the blend with a herbal complexity, while the iconic Angostura Bitters imparts a layer of warm, earthy bitterness.

Spanish Tapas Restaurant KL - Para Despues cocktail in highball glass on wooden bar
Para Despues

Spanish Tapas Menu

One of my favourite Spanish tapas is Pimientos Del Padrón (RM 42), fried mini green peppers sprinkled with sea salt. Could these be a spicy surprise? They are perfect for nibbling on while browsing the menu and deciding what else to order. But Monica warned me that there was a catch: she had read somewhere that one out of every hundred peppers was extremely hot, making it a game of chance with every bite. She passed me the bowl with a mischievous smile, and we both wondered if we would get the spicy one.

Later, I did some research and found out that she was partly right: peppers grown outdoors in Spain can vary in heat, depending on the weather and the proximity of other chilli plants. Sometimes, the odds can be as high as one in five. But the chances for peppers grown in greenhouses are much lower, almost negligible. Still, not zero! We were lucky that day: all our peppers were mild and tasty, with no unpleasant surprises.

Spanish Tapas Restaurant KL mix of Spanish Tapas
Spanish Tapas

The next dish was Boquerones (RM 48). Plump, fresh anchovies, lightly pickled the Spanish way (not your average salty canned ones), star in this delightful dish. Each anchovy rests on a bed of toasted baguette, generously spread with a vibrant blend of fresh tomato pulp and roasted red and yellow pepper slices. A final touch of fresh dill adds a pop of colour and flavour, making this dish both visually appealing and delicious.

Las Meninas The Exchange Mall TRX Boquerones on baguette slices with dill garnish
Boquerones – Las Meninas Spanish Tapas Restaurant TRX

This was quickly followed by Albondigas (RM 35). If you only order two or three tapas dishes, ensure this is one of them – lamb meatballs stewed in herbed tomato sauce, topped with smoked Idiazabal cheese and pine nuts. The sauce has a depth that hints at the hours of reduction it took to concentrate the flavours. It’s so delicious you’ll want to savour every drop. Don’t send back the cute green saucepan in which it’s served with any sauce left – grab some bread and wipe it clean.

Las Meninas The Exchange Mall TRX. Albondigas in rich red sauce with fried basil garnish

We also sampled the Croquetas (RM 34). They were presented on a plate of balsamic swirls and fresh herbs nestled on a cushion of truffle mayonnaise. These crunchy spheres burst open to unleash a creamy mushroom filling, rich and indulgent with a hint of truffle.

Las Meninas The Exchange Mall TRX Croquetas in front of a selection of Spanish tapas

Lastly, the Chorizo con Papas (RM 42) is a satisfying and savoury tapa you won’t regret ordering. Tender chicken chorizo sausages, skinless and sizzling, were tossed with roasted peppers, baby potatoes, grilled onion, and aromatic spices. The dish tasted smoky and spicy from the paprika in the sausage. Tapas are great for sharing with friends, but this one was so good that I wanted it all for myself, maybe with a salad as a main course.

Las Meninas The Exchange Mall TRX Chorizo con Papas in yellow pan
Chorizo con Papas – Las Meninas KL TRX

Las Meninas TRX Wine List

There is a healthy selection of Spanish wines, as you would expect, as well as wines and spirits from around the world. Most are by the bottle; however, there is a well-curated selection of wines by the glass if you just have time for one drink with your meal.

Today, we tried two wines to accompany our main courses; the first was a rose, Franck Massard Mas Amor Rose, Catalunya (RM 35 per glass or RM 195 for a bottle). Made from Garnacha grapes, it was from the Catalan region of Spain. Light pink in colour, it was a fresh, elegant, and easy-drinking wine with a refreshing finish that paired well with our paella.

The second wine we sampled was Mas de Subira Crianca, Priorat (RM 42 per glass or RM 250 for a bottle). This wine was a Cabernet Sauvignon, Cariñena, Garnacha Tinta blend, also from the Catalunya region of Spain. I thought it was a well-balanced, oaky, young red which stood up very well to the richness of our lamb shoulder.

Spanish Tapas Restaurant KL - Mas de Subira Crianca, Priorat & Franck Massard Mas Amor Rose, Catalunya
Mas de Subira Crianca, Priorat & Franck Massard Mas Amor Rose, Catalunya

Paella – Vegan Options

There is a choice of three paella dishes at Las Meninas, but bear in mind that the chef always cooks them to order individually in a cast iron pan. Consequently, they take around 30 minutes to prepare from the time of your order, something to bear in mind if time is short or you are in a hurry.

We savoured the Paella de Verduras (RM 100 for two people, RM 190 for four people), a vegan delight. The chef amazed us with the rich flavour of this plant-based dish. Monica recognised the signature touch of Diego Reali, the Cinnamon group’s executive chef, in the zesty tomato sauce that coated the paella. It had a lovely kick and a complex taste. The dish was cooked and served in the same pan, which gave a nice crunch to the broccoli, asparagus, onion and peppers, and the rice clinging to the very edge; this was the best bit of all.

Spanish Tapas Restaurant KL Paella de Verduras and rose wine bottle
Paella de Verduras

Spanish Main Courses

For the main course, you can choose from several delicious dishes to share, such as Wagyu Beef, Lamb and Chicken, and two seafood choices. We tried the Paletilla De Cabrito (RM 310). This tender Spanish suckling lamb shoulder melts in your mouth after being slow-cooked for sixteen hours. It came with a flavourful tomato sauce containing roasted peppers, eggplant and crispy roast potatoes. This dish is a feast for the senses, full of Spanish aromas and tastes. Make sure you get a few of those potatoes; they are terrific.

Spanish Tapas Restaurant KL Paletilla De Cabrito and Spanish red wine bottle
Paletilla De Cabrito – Las Meninas KL TRX

Spanish Desserts

Our sweet-toothed photographer Peter always craves a dessert after a satisfying meal. At Las Meninas, he was spoilt for choice with four tempting options. Of course, we couldn’t resist the Churros (RM 45), a Spanish dessert with deep-fried dough sprinkled with sugar. The churros were served with three delicious dips: chocolate sauce, pistachio crème anglaise, and a berry marmalade. The churros were crispy on the outside and soft on the inside, and the dips added richness, nuttiness, tartness, and sweetness to each bite. The pistachio crème anglaise was my favourite dip, but try them all and see which is yours.

Spanish Tapas Restaurant KL Churros with a trio of sauces

We finished with the Crema Catalana (RM 38), a traditional Spanish custard with a twist for our other dessert. The smooth and velvety cream was flavoured with cinnamon, lemon, and orange and topped with a thin layer of caramelised sugar that cracked with a gentle tap. A crunchy sablé wafer biscuit and fresh berries accompanied the dish, adding contrast and colour to the decadent dessert. Crema Catalana was a sublime finale to our meal, with its sweet, spicy notes and elegant presentation. Monica, who also sampled the dessert, said she preferred it over the more famous Crème Caramel, as it had a softer and creamier texture, while the Crème brûlée is firmer and denser.

Spanish Tapas Restaurant KL
Crema Catalana – Las Meninas The Exchange Mall TRX
Las Meninas TRX Menu and Prices -  - Tacos, Salads & Paella
Las Meninas TRX Menu and Prices – Tacos, Salads & Paella
Las Meninas TRX Menu and Prices
Las Meninas TRX Menu and Prices – Tapas
Las Meninas TRX Menu and Prices -  - Main Courses from the Land & Sea
Las Meninas TRX Menu and Prices – Main Courses from the Land & Sea
Las Meninas TRX Menu and Prices - Desserts
Las Meninas TRX Menu and Prices – Desserts

Las Meninas TRX Review

Las Meninas is a Spanish tapas restaurant with a contemporary flair. Its cosy and welcoming atmosphere and tasty food and drink menu make you want to return for more.

Reasons to visit Las Meninas TRX: The Paella de Verduras was my favourite dish. Monica and I agreed that it takes real skill to make a vegan dish so packed with flavour that you could serve it to confirmed carnivores, and they may not realise they are eating something entirely without meat or dairy. However, the Albondigas were also terrific, rich, and satisfying, and I could eat a whole bowl of the tomato sauce they were bathed in. I think the Cinnamon Group has another hit on their hands. Gather some friends around a pitcher (or two) of their delicious, refreshing Sangria and find out what you think.

Las Meninas KL – Spanish Tapas Restaurant
Level 2, Dining Terrace, The Exchange Mall
Tun Razak Exchange, Persiaran TRX
55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
+6011 4004 3466
*vegetarian options
**covered semi-outdoor seating

Las Meninas TRX Opening Hours
Daily 10 am to 10 pm

Find more European restaurants in KL here and stay up-to-date with the latest gourmet and travel recommendations for Malaysia here and here.

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