Simply Spanish

Spanish cuisine is all about simplicity; it is believed that if you use fresh ingredients, you do not need much more.

Seafood is a big part of this belief. La Rambla by Catalunya, in IFC mall, has launched a new a la carte menu featuring marine treasures as well as two Taste of Barcelona tasting menus with a sea-to-table theme.

Spanish feasts always start with tomatoes and ham. Pair them with new Captain Melon and Passion Cooler cocktails (HK$120 each) with fruity hints to wake up the tastebuds.

One of executive chef Ferran Tadeo’s new creations is the del mar a la mesa seafood platter (HK$850) – an absolute visual delight followed by an umami punch. Ingredients sourced mainly from Europe and Japan are changed daily for the freshest taste. “The best tasting order is to start with razor clams and scallops as they are chilled and light,” said Tadeo.

The razor clams topped with grated salmon egg mixed with caviar offer a briny bite, while pomzu sauce enhances the sweetness of the cured scallop. Among the staples on the platter are lobster tail with seaweed mayonnaise and mussels with picadillo sauce.

Fake Nigiri is the most creative offering, comprising cantaloupe topped with uni and tied with shiso leaves.

Oysters and tuna are served separately from the other items. Carefully lift the oysters so the olive and caviar oil sauce with pippara pepper doesn’t spill out, and then let it slide down your throat. The tuna escabeche is delicate, serving three different parts of the tuna.

You can’t leave out tapas from any discussion of Spanish food. The humble grilled squid shines in the calamar con refrito de ajo (HK$220) and is served simply with garlic chips and olive oil to preserve its rustic beauty and chewy flavor. Another must-try is the mushroom mille-feuille (HK$180).

Highlights of the mains are either the lubina a la sal salt-baked sea bass (HK$750) or slow-cooked Aragon lamb shoulder (HK$620). Served with green asparagus and garlic confit, the salt shell of the fish is set aflame tableside for added flourish. The lamb shoulder is slow-cooked for 12 hours and served with a range of sides.

More of a meat person? Iberico ham retailer Pata Negra House has launched an Iberican Ham Cellar – Signature Experience at San Po Kong.

Available for booking from August 3, the experience (HK$680) is designed to provide an in-depth understanding of Spanish food culture. A tasting of 14 tapas kicks off a tour and tasting in a ham cellar with vintage Iberico ham led by the group’s expert, a seven-course tasting menu with wine pairing and finally, a private shopping experience.

Crafted by two Michelin-starred Ecriture’s chef de cuisine Heloise Fischbach, the tasting menu is a celebration of ham and includes a 48 month Iberico ham, artichoke salad and Iberico pork pluma steak.

If you are looking for a post-work option, Cassio’s latest event of all-you-can-eat pinchos (HK$298) is available every Wednesday and Thursday from 5 to 10pm.

The Pinch Me! Pinchos menu consists of 15 light bites plucked straight from the Spanish coast, featuring traditional Basque and Catalan delights such as cod brandade, prawn croqueta, and chistorra, as well as moreish classics like Iberico charcuterie, beef tartare and Spanish omelet.

Make it a fiesta with Cassio’s Summer Drinks Specials, including three refreshing new cocktails (all HK$108): the Passion Caipirinha, the Lagerita and Apricot Bellini as well as a red or white sangria jug (HK$220) – perfect for a summer sundowner.

(This article was published at The Standard on July 23, 2021: Weekend Glitz: Simply Spanish )

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