Cava – relaunch of Spanish Tapas

I really love it every time Cava conducts a dinner, with the relaunching of their new menu.

It means, more great food and great wines!

This time round, Chef Maria Elena from Barcelona was in town for 3 months, to revamp the tapas menu. It’s now a Spanish inspired tapas menu that will be featured on Cava’s main menu for the next couple of months, so if tapas is your thing, be sure to check it out.


Chef Maria told us that as a child, she would never eat Chicken, because she found it boring. So unless it was dressed up in some fancy sauce or other, she wouldn’t touch it. Till today, she likes to excite her diners with interesting sauces and different presentations of food. Chef Maria’s philosophy is that you need to excite folks to want to eat your food. I could not agree more.

And then she went on to tell us about how hot the weather is in KL, and how ideal it is for cold soup. For years, the only gazpacho on restaurant menus was tomato based, but now you’ll often find many versions of it. There’s almond, grape, melon and here at Cava, we started the night with a tomato shooter. This perfect hot-weather soup is simply a salad in liquid form, and it is served chilled too.


Tomato Shooter

It had a lovely light flavour and paired beautifully with both the Red and White Sangria. Both versions of the Sangria were nice and fruity, laced in Brandy, and they equally complemented the tapas dishes that followed.


Pulpo a la gallega – Spanish octopus with potato, lightly dusted with paprika

Pulpo a la Gallega (Galician octopus) is Galicia’s signature dish. The octopus is boiled and then garnished with paprika, rock salt and olive oil. The flavor is subtle, with an interesting texture. The inner muscle is slightly chewy, while the exterior (where the suckers are) is slippery. Loved the contrast and how it was served on a slice of potato.


Patatas bravas with Cava’s famous chilli padi pesto

I’ve never really got patatas bravas. Spuds in tomato sauce never rocked my world like crispy calamari or succulent oysters. Yet the patatas braves is an inevitable order if you are in Spain. And I have to say, these ones made by Maria, made me change my mind. Maybe it was the crispy outer layer of the potato, or the super spicy chilli padi and pesto combo. Or maybe it was the way the potato absorbed the sauces. I rather liked it this time round.


pesto added to the chilli padi sauce made it an awesome combo!


Chef Maria, easy to talk to, with a bubbly personality.


Grilled Asparagus with Romesco Sauce

The secret is in the sauce. And with the Romesco, you need to roast everything before you pulverize it and mix at all together. Romesco sauce originates from Tarragona, in Northeastern Spain. It is said that the fishermen of the area made it to eat with fish. It is great with seafood, but is a tasty sauce to accompany vegetables as well. Roasted red peppers combine with roasted ground almonds, olive oil, paprika and vinegar to make a smooth, rich sauce that tastes great even if just eaten straight out of the tin (like how the chef eats it) or simply spread on a slice of rustic bread.


Olives Villeroy with Creamy Pesto

Another great dish – if you love olives, you will love the villeroy, a thick creamy paste encasing the olive, that is crumbed and deep-fried. The creamy pesto sauce is smooth and luscious.

Then it was time for some Paella…


Arroz Nero – Cava’s signature squid ink paella with prawns and garlic aioli

This paella was gorgeous and earthy with an intense seafood flavour, that came from using the head of the prawns for stock. I would have preferred the rice cooked al dente, and then it would have been perfect.

Just when you thought, you’d eaten your fill, they bring out the Mains..


Cava’s specialty piquillo peppers stuffed with seafood , served with creamy piquillo sauce and asparagus paired with the CVNE Monopole Viura 2011 (Rioja) white

A superb dish from the North of Spain, these peppers were to die for. Sweet and tasty roasted piquillo peppers stuffed with a mixture of seafood, white wine, onions and garlic served with a creamy sauce and asparagus was paired perfectly with this Rioja white. We noticed that the Piquillos were small, triangular-shaped peppers with a rich flavor. They had a deep red skin and flesh and were rather striking in color. Their unique shape seemed tailor-made for tapas, and for stuffing.


Sirloin – Australian Goulburn Valley – Premium grass fed beef with freshly prepared sauces paired with the Altanza le Altanza Crianza 2009 (Rioja) Red

A very nicely selected cut of grass fed beef, that was seared a medium rare. I loved all the sauces that it came with, but the best was the mushroom and wild ceps. Dubbed the king of wild mushrooms, the wild ceps has an intense fragrance that’s intoxicatingly good. This sauce was just out of this world. The perfect match for this premium slice of steak was found in the Altanza le Altanza Crianza 2009 (Rioja) Red.


Choice of Peppercorn, Gorgonzola, Mushroom & Wild Ceps or the chimichurri sauce. We had them all!

Then it was time for Dessert..


Fresas Y Nata – Strawberry with fresh whipped cream paired with the Castillo Perelada CAVA Brut Reservation NV

There’s something so decadent about eating pure whipped cream and this one was laced with booze. Fresh strawberries made you feel a lot better about eating this sinful dessert (not!)


A great night out. Thank you FBB for the invite! Here’s to many more Cava relaunches!

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