Words: Polly Szantor Photos: Monica Tindall
When you walk into La Boca, you can’t help smiling. The walls have been painted by local graffiti artists to evoke the vibrant streets of its namesake, a barrio of the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires that is home to a profusion of immigrants and artisans. The primary colours are bright and cheerful, a perfect preparation for the fiesta of flavours to come. In addition to offering Mexican favourites like Nachos Rancheros and Fajitas, La Boca’s menu pushes further south to explore the wonders of cuisine from Central and South American countries.
We began with Peruvian Salmon Ceviche (RM25++), fresh salmon cured in lime juice bursting with the fresh flavours of coriander, sweet corn, onions and chilli served with homemade cassava chips, and Ceviche de Camerones (RM28++), sweet prawns marinated in lime with tomatoes, onions and coriander served with homemade tortilla chips. Both were excellent and next time I visit, I’d like to try the third Ceviche, an interesting combination of scallops, mussels, strawberry and mango; it sounds tempting doesn’t it?
From the Tapas menu we tasted the vegetarian, chicken and beef Empanadas, served with a mildly spiced, chunky tomato dip. The baked pastry was authentically light and crisp, making these little Argentinean pasties a perfect snack for any time of the day (RM21++). There are five salads on the menu, and you can choose a topping of Grilled Chicken Breast, Crispy Fried Calamari or Cured Salmon Slices. We tried the Ensalata Latina (RM20++), a delightful combination of salad greens, avocado, palm hearts, kalamata olives and beetroot.
Next came a Venezuelan classic, Reina Pepiada (RM20++), a soft corn arepa filled with shredded chicken, avocado aioli and onions. The result is crispy on the outside but creamy and buttery inside; served with Tapioca Chips and Glazed Red Pepper this dish would make a lovely lunch. Then how about Seafood Moqueca for dinner (RM42++)? Salmon and prawns are served in a Brazillian style creamy coconut curry, which come with Jasmine Rice and Honey-glazed Butternut Squash. It’s reminiscent of Malaysian coconut curry, differently spiced but equally delicious.
La Boca also offers an Argentinean-style Barbeque, and they are planning to expand this part of the menu. A variety of meats (Spring Chicken, Lamb Rump, and Black Angus beef from Australia) are turned on a rotisserie until they reach a divine level of tenderness. We were impressed by the Tenderloin (RM88++), a whopping 250gm of lean, tender, juicy meat, that was well done on the outside but still medium to medium rare inside; this has to be one of the best steaks in town. The meats are served with a choice of sauce and two side orders: grilled vegetables, steak fries, mustard mash, palm heart salad or mixed green salad.
We finished our meal with La Boca’s crispy, chewy Churros. Once you start dipping into the chocolate and caramel sauces you’re doomed; it’s practically impossible to stop. If you can get past the Churros, there are several other tempting desserts including Cuban Bread Pudding, Aztec Chocolate Fudge Cake and Argentinean Tiramisu – more reasons to return.
La Boca is known not only for its food, but also for its selection of rums and its creative cocktails. Brazilian mixologist Felipe Sant’Anna insists on using only genuine liquor and there’s no watering down here. If you like your cocktails strong, this is the place to be. We tried a few, and I’m eager to sample more. The Karioca is fruity with a good kick while the Jalapeno Margarita is perfect for sipping and creates a wonderful buzz in the mouth. The Caipirinha packs a punch and on Thursdays you can get 4 for the price of 3. If you prefer no alcohol, the Virgin Caipirinha is a tangy concentration of passion fruit, pineapple, and lime.
Here’s a quick run-down of special prices and events: breakfast is served from 9am to noon with an ever-expanding menu of Western and Latino choices; there’s a lunch set that changes monthly, soup, main and a beverage for RM29++; Happy Hour is from 3 to 6pm with 30% off beer and wine, plus any three Tapas for RM29++; on Fridays there’s a Cuban band playing with salsa dancing from 8 – 11pm; for Tango, visit on Sundays from 5 – 8pm.
Reason to Visit: to sample dishes you won’t find elsewhere in KL, to sip fantastically strong cocktails and to enjoy the warm, friendly atmosphere.
La Boca Latino Bar and Restaurant
Lot C3.10.03, Level 3
+6 03 2148 9977