When it comes to Spanish restaurants in KL, the choices are not as prevalent as compared to, say, Japanese or Italian. But you’d be surprised at the number of places that hit the mark perfectly, one of them being Mercat Barcelona Gastrobar in Bangsar.
Staying true to Spanish traditions, Mercat’s menu focuses on Catalan tapas and specialties meant to be shared over a drink among friends. Since we haven’t been to Barcelona before, the only way we could gauge the food’s authenticity is by doing our own research.
We like what we read on TripAdvisor and we are convinced that the glowing reviews hold true because they were left by actual Spanish tourists.
Mercat’s tapas menu has seen a few new additions recently, one of them is the Bouquerones en Vinagre with roast peppers @ RM22.
Through the curing process (in vinegar), the fish fillets turn white while retaining its juicy and mild delicate flavor. This is a delicious classic that will totally redefine your perception of anchovies. Very, highly recommended.
Next up, Tortilla de Patatas @ RM17 which is a Spanish style omelette. There’s nothing fancy about this rustic fry-up which consists of layers of potato and onions.
Crispy golden brown on the outside but still runny in the center, this is comfort food at its best – one that I wish I could wake up to every morning.
For something familiar yet absolutely scrumptious – try their irresistible Pork Sliders @ RM22. The patties are made with Spanish white pork, flavored with Manchego cheese, red pepper, roast onion and sandwiched between a soft, melt in your mouth and sweet Brioche bun.
Each bite feels like biting into a piece of heaven; best enjoyed with hands for maximum pleasure. If you are hunting for a good pork burger without the frills – start right here!
Pollo al Ajillo @ RM24 is a popular Spanish chicken stew characterized by generous use of garlic. The chicken is fall of the bone tender and the rich sauce packs a punch of garlic flavor that’s bold and delicious at the same time.
This satay-lookalike dish is Pincho Moruno @ RM23, or also known as Spanish kebabs. It’s highly popular at Mercat especially with the regulars and it’s not hard to see why. Iberico pork is used for its natural tenderness and juiciness, and it’s rubbed with a blend of herbs and spices for that exotic flavor.
The last tapas we had was the Mar I Muntanya @ RM25 which is basically a combination of ingredients from the sea and on land. You can think of it as a Catalan style ‘surf n turf’.
Some places might serve a mix of chicken and prawn, but at Mercat, it’s Cuttlefish Tagliatelle with Pork Belly. The texture of the wriggly cuttlefish pasta and crunchy pork belly are meld together beautifully by the light and creamy cauliflower sauce.
For dessert, we settled for the Espuma de Crema Catalana @ RM23, a sweet Catalonian cream foam topped with chewy and tangy orange rinds. The taste is similar to creme brulee but the consistency is a lot fluffier and not as dense.
Food aside, Mercat also serves an excellent selection of Spanish G&T (gin and tonic), cocktails and other non-alcoholic beverages.
The Journey @ RM59 is the signature cocktail here and the concoction is made from 2 shots of Nomad Whisky, Oloroso, lemon juice and ginger. Relatively sweet with a few spicy notes, it’s easy to drink and doesn’t taste anything like alcohol.
Other drinks we tried include Cortado (a unique Spanish espresso, much like a less foamy cappuccino) @ RM14 and Ambar Green (world’s first gluten-free and alcoholic-free beer brewed in Spain) @ RM24. The latter is worth a try, as it tastes smooth and just like real beer.
All in all, Mercat offers great selection of tapas that exhibit fresh ingredients and beautiful presentation. Whenever you feel like having Spanish food, Mercat should definitely be on your radar.
Mercat Barcelona Gastrobar
51, Jalan Telawi 3, Bangsar Baru, 59100 KL
Tel: 03-2201 5288
Business hours: Weekdays 4pm – 12am, Weekend: 12pm – 12am