[编辑 Editor 吕大人 英译 Translator 刘大人 摄影 Photographer 刘大人]
In our humble opinion, one of the most admirable things about our Spanish counterparts is their commitment to a good party. Like the Spanish, we Malaysians are equally blessed with holidays galore and a ton of festivals all over the country throughout the year. Still, we are envious of our friends from the Iberian Peninsula, with a celebration of sorts in every single city, town and village which gets all the townsfolk out on the streets partying with their neighbours. It’s no wonder we call Spain the land of fiestas or festivals!
大人眼中的西班牙印象，除了西甲联赛、斗牛、弗拉门戈舞蹈、文学典范《堂吉诃德》、毕加索、网球史上最优秀的红土选手纳达尔、著名F1车手阿隆索、高档皮具与时装外，「还有曾在电视新闻上看过那让人叹为观止的番茄大战 La Tomatina！」原来那是西班牙瓦伦西亚 (València) 自治区布尼奥尔 (Buñol) 自1945年起於每年8月的最后一个周三举行的守护神之节的传统压轴戏码，而在番茄大战前夕，大伙儿还将参与烹煮西班牙大锅烩饭 Paella 的比赛！
Apart from a trip to Madrid and Barcelona a decade ago, our acquaintance with Spain is in a very real sense only superficial. Be it La Liga (football league), bullfighting, flamenco, Don Quixote (classic Spanish literature), Pablo Picasso (painter), Rafael Nadal (tennis), Fernando Alonso (F1) or fast fashion label Zara, there’s more to Spain than meets the eyes. Did you know, the last Wednesday in August also marks one of Spain’s messiest festival, a tomato-throwing spectacle we frequently watched on TV that draws more than ten of thousands of revellers each year? Held in Buñol, 40km west of Valencia since 1945, paella is traditionally eaten during La Tomatina, as there is a cooking contest just before the big event.
其实不仅是番茄大战前夕，Paella 西班牙海鲜烩饭在每年三月於瓦伦西亚盛大欢庆的法耶火节(Las Fallas) 也被奉为指定的节庆料理！继马德里与巴塞罗那之后，位于东部沿岸地区 (地图上右边) 的瓦伦西亚贵为西班牙第三大城市，乃瓦伦西亚自治区和瓦伦西亚省的首府，不仅是该国港口也是工业重镇，更拥有欧洲阳光之城的美誉。「大人屡屡提及的 Paella 西班牙海鲜烩饭，当仁不让就是海产量丰富的瓦伦西亚美食代名词！」
Held together by the passions for colourful parades and lively partying, Valencia’s festivals go above and beyond the typical definition of celebration. From the tomato-hurling La Tomatina to the blazing towers of Las Fallas and even a festival dedicated solely to Paella on 20 September, the city of Valencia will celebrate its most international dish with the rest of the world, sharing a recipe that marries age-old tradition, culture and culinary excellence.
Hola! 这家位于士姑来区的 Paella (没错，正是以西班牙烩饭为名！发音pa’eʎa，类似「巴A呀」) 乃新山屈指可数的西班牙餐厅，自今年农历新年后在此立足已有约半年光景，网络上总能瞧见许多饕客盛赞他们家那超值优惠的午间套餐，唯对于西班牙料理倒是极少着墨，「有鉴于此，是时候让大人亲自出巡寻觅答案！」
Far more than just filling up, we would willingly go the distance for the pure love of excellent food. If you love food, and to experience a new country through its cuisine like us, you will be glad to know we need not fly across half the globe for a taste of Iberia, given the dearth of restaurants serving decent Spanish cuisine. In fact, we are now grateful that “una muestra de españa” is well within reach in Skudai since February!
咱们亚洲人热爱米饭早已不是秘密，土生土长、擅长欧式料理并身兼多家西餐厅的主人家 Thomas 就有感而发，在地饕客们往往在享用西餐的同时，总会不自觉想请白米饭上桌，「欧洲餐点以饭为主的两大料理，不外乎是西班牙的 Paella 与意大利的 Risotto。」Thomas 坦言，由于本地西班牙餐厅并不多，灵机一动便有了设店的想法。
由于西班牙菜系极富特色，凡事亲力亲为、行事稳健的 Thomas 与团队就绞尽脑汁为了确保旅居本地的西班牙饕客能尝到保留传统做法的佳肴的同时，也得让咱们的亚洲味蕾得到最大的满足。「别看大人平日好像就只会享用端上桌的美味料理，其实对于餐饮业经营者背后所面对的大情小事也常琢磨着啊！」话不多说，今日在此品尝美食的第一法则，先敬一杯开胃水果酒！
Yes, we Asians eat lots of carbs, and growing up in Malaysia, having a meal without rice does feel empty sometimes. Even chef-owner Thomas couldn’t resist the urge to include rice dishes, although his restaurants are serving western cuisines. “The only rice dishes in Western cuisine are Spanish Paella and Italian Rissoto,” Thomas chuckled. With the former being a rare commodity in JB, his choice became obvious.
Despite having his fingers in so many pies, Thomas remains a hands-on chef, restaurateur and entrepreneur, working tirelessly with his team to perfect their recipes to bring authentic Spanish flavours with a local twist. At the invitation of Thomas, our first experience in Paella was initiated with a festive-esque “cocktail” before a bevy of authentically-adjusted Spanish fare took over.
以水果与酒类 (红酒、白酒、烈酒皆可) 调制而成的西班牙水果酒 Sangria (RM12.90；若与套餐同点，则为 RM9.90；特大壶装需一日前预订，价格为RM118)，绝对是西班牙国民饮料里的门面担当。百家百味的 Sangria 其实并没有精确的调制法，比例上多以两大杯的水果搭配一瓶酒为准，可依个人口味加入糖类、水果片或气泡水调味。「这儿的 Sangria 以橙味香甜酒、荔枝、蜜糖调制，介于果汁与酒精的互撞滋味相当宜人。」¡Salud! 🍷
Now that we’re here, we wouldn’t pass up the chance to savour their signature Sangria for what will certainly be a swell Spanish fiesta! Made using a personal recipe from Lorraine (restaurant manager) with Spanish red wine Tempranillo and Cointreau as its base and flavoured with honey and maple syrup, sliced red apple, green apple and orange are also added and mixed in a decanter and let it rest for at least 4 hours before serving, giving this deep red concoction a pleasant little munch and flavour that has a medium body, but is nevertheless highly refreshing! ¡Salud! 🍷
Zesty Orange Salad
那脆甜的大洋葱圈，居然是这道清爽沙拉 Zesty Orange Salad (RM10.90) 的元神所在。「重口味的对决，原以为香橙会占上风，万没料想这看似配角的洋葱圈滋味竟艳压全场！」搭上秘制沙拉酱，大人我被「圈粉」，开胃了！
Our starter arrived in the form of delectable orange slices, mixed with raw onion rings, capsicum and parsley with lemon dressing. Many of our friends would probably cringe at the sight of this pile of raw, crunchy onions but trust us, the spicy bite has been tamed. Overall, this Zesty Orange Salad is bursting with refreshing onion goodness inside! FYI, studies have also shown that the phytochemicals in onions that scavenge free radicals may also reduce our risk of developing gastric ulcers, so let’s start onion-ing now!
Sopa de Mariscos + Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup
无海鲜不欢，这份 Sopa de Mariscos (上图，RM12.90) 自然乃我囊中物，「浓缩版瓦伦西亚的海中滋味吗？汤清味醇，一不小心抬头就忘了原来同伴也有想尝一口的心愿。」在美食面前，大人常忘了「谦让」这回事，罪过罪过啊！
就让我赎罪吧！赶紧加点了这份 Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup (RM9.90) 补偿同桌破碎的心灵，「有了马铃薯这等好淀粉的加持，这清香微咸的蘑菇汤绝非浓腻的版本，好喝。」一啖入口后的结论，大人我的心头大石才卸下，各取所好的完美结局。
The Sopa de Mariscos is the Spanish equivalent of our homemade seafood soup, which came with a substantial juicy prawn, fresh clams and mussels. Highly umami yet rich in flavour, we almost forgot to share it around with the plate firmly rooted in front of us. Perdón!
Probably a universal favourite and features on many menus in local restaurants as soup of the day, there’s just something about the creamy texture and mushroom bits that warm our heart. The Homemade Cream of Mushroom Soup has got their version of mushroom soup down pat, as the creamy soup with shitake, abalone, button mushroom and potato is well-blended, stew-like and everything that we like our mushroom soup to be.
Family (6 pieces combination topping of veggie, meat & seafood)
一次过摄取蛋白质、纤维与碳水，元气满满！一式六样的 Family (6 pieces combination topping of veggie, meat & seafood, RM25.90) 开胃小点，「大人一举就决定先吃蛋白质含量较高的虾子与三文鱼，饱足感果然立马Up! 」其实木盘子上的小点皆很可人，只是招摇过市的海鲜怎么说都比较占优势嘛！
A mainstay dish in any Spanish restaurant, If you’re the type who enjoys bite-sized portion, the Family set comprising six pieces combination is a no-brainer. Feeling spoilt for choice, just take our cue to grab the prawn and salmon before the rest, though the remaining veggie, mushroom and meat options are also worth every penny and calories. After all, what’s not to love about having variety in a number of delicious small plates?
Plato de Fondo
近来减醣风潮正盛，这份以七分熟现身的三文鱼 Smoky Salmon (RM29)，搭配争艳的烤食蔬，绝对是心头之选！「自带明星特质的三文鱼，瞧那皮衣焦脆地多完美啊！肉身犹如溏心般的色泽，送入口后那脆嫩汁饱的多重滋味实在无需赘言啊！」下回绝对会再钦点你！
Cooked to medium doneness and served on a bed of lightly grilled tomatoes, red onion, yellow capsicum, green olive and black olive, the sides were a bit charred, but the meat still retained its juices. With its flavours enhanced by drizzling in olive oil and lemon juice, the addition of dry parley paprika powder, aromatic chicken stock powder gave this simply grilled Spanish Smoky Salmon an exotic kick.
Fideua De Mariscos (2 person)
双人份的西班牙海鲜面 Fideua De Mariscos (RM49.90/2 pax; RM89.90/4pax) 一上木桌舞台，没拿出手机摄几张好像太对不起它的颜值了。「有说西班牙海鲜面其实是烩饭的另一改良版本，而在西班牙本土乃以细短的面条炒至金黄色后才配以上汤烹制。」为了迎合更多本地饕客的口味，这儿的 Fideua 在做法上微调，以意式面条充盈於各式海鲜与食蔬的精华汤汁中，较烩饭版本湿润，「这双人海鲜面份量之巨，三至四人分食也没问题！」
Keeping up with the Valencian theme, fideuá is a popular seafood dish originating from the coast of Valencia. A pasta lover’s answer to paella, these short, thin strands of artisan pasta noodles originated in the coastal town of Gandia were used instead of rice for this paella-like dish. Equally full of flavour but lighter without the rice, the Fideua De Mariscos here uses spaghetti instead to appeal to the local palettes with ingredients galore such as prawns, squid, clams, pimento, tomato, red capsicum and cooked in white wine. Seriously, our portion for two looks like it could feed three or four easily!
Paella De Mariscos (served in pan, 2 person)
在西班牙无人不知晓的 Paella 西班牙海鲜烩饭，盛名早已远播，唯独西班牙人喜用生米烹调，拥有亚裔味蕾的饕客或许一时半刻仍未能接受口中总能咀嚼出一种未熟透的夹生劲道，「在西班牙，厨师们若是将熟透的烩饭奉上，可是会被认为货不对版哦！」
Rice was first introduced to Spain more than a thousand years ago and, ever since, the grains have been ingrained in its culinary identity. Probably Spain’s most misunderstood dish, paella is meant to show off the rice itself and usually cooked uncovered in a flavorful stock while highlighting a few unique ingredients. In Spain, a wet paella is not ideal, but it is not necessarily a failure. The Spanish do cook wet kinds of rice dishes, but they just don’t call them paella.
主人家当然深谙此理，这儿的 Paella De Mariscos (RM49.90/2 pax; RM89.90/4pax) 改以采用预煮的邦巴米 (BOMBA) 搭以料理调酒、藏红花、橄榄油、鲜虾上汤等，於专用的正宗烩饭大平锅 paellera 内烹制，「米饭才是主角！原本多汁的海鲜们早已将自身精华无私奉献，因而造就了米饭的松软鲜甜。」
Unlike the usual paella which tends to be drier, Thomas’s take on this Paella De Mariscos is slightly wetter. Cooked using short-grain BOMBA rice and infused with fresh prawn, clams, squids, tomato, pimento, green pepper and hot paprika, each grain of rice was doused in the soulful white wine braise beckoned to be devoured. Each spoonful had us digging for seconds without hesitation, but despite being moist, the dish still had a crusty bottom layer or “Valencian caviar”, which tasted like the bottom-of-the-pot rice that we love in clay pot rice. Exquisito!
Set lunch – Pork Chop
在网络里备受好评的超值午间套餐 (周一至周五，中午12点至下午5点)，到此一游不点一份来尝鲜，有负看官所托啊！从鱼扒、鸡扒与猪扒里精选其一，仅需 RM9.90! (若再点选沙拉、蘑菇汤或饮料任一，则需添付 RM5，汽水则为 RM3）「这儿的猪扒太弹嫩了，绝无难分难舍，轻轻一拨就从叉子上，说走就走。」
Looking for a power lunch with limited time to spare? Then you simply can’t go wrong with these set lunches, and the Pork Chop was seasoned right, lean yet tender enough, retaining its tasty juices and accompanied with a great sauce! What makes this set lunch even more “powerful” is the mind-blowing price of only RM9.90! Gracia divina!
Chocoflan Impossible Cake + Churros (Set of 6 pcs)
许多道地饕客口中昵称的「小油条」，正是西班牙的必吃经典甜点 – 吉拿棒 Churros (RM12.90, Set of 6 pcs)，「Paella 的版本，松脆得来又不过于甜腻，蘸点浓郁的巧克力酱，刚刚好。」
而主人家热荐的 Chocoflan Impossible Cake (RM15.90) 则源于墨西哥，在当地极富盛名。这道化烘培逻辑里需堆叠烤蒸兼备之「不可能任务」的甜食，口感超浓郁，「粘牙的糖浆，居然让大人一时间开不了口！」
At this point, we were pretty stuffed, but you know everybody has a second stomach for dessert. As a churros lover, this was a definite choice for a sweet ending to our meal. Warm and crispy on the outside but soft and fluffy on the inside, the Churros were generously coated with cinnamon and just the right amount sugar. We also recommend dipping them in the dark chocolate sauce for that extra oomph.
Originated from Mexico, the Chocoflan Impossible Cake is like no other cake we have ever enjoyed. What really intrigued us is the unthinkable fact that choco flan defies the culinary logic by inverting its layers during the baking process, magic huh? The pan goes into the oven layered with caramel, then chocolate cake, then flan but later comes out with the flan and chocolate layers reversed! A dense, rich chocolate cake stacked with creamy vanilla flan, dripping with a delicate layer of sticky caramel sauce basically leave us “impossible” to open our mouths 😂.
原来餐厅二楼也设了宽敞的场地 (可容30-40人) 让人客们包间办趴哦！经验丰富的外场负责人 Lorraine 就透露，Paella 的藏酒量相当丰富，因此这儿也常主办 Wine Pairing 的活动让好杯中物者共襄盛举。
Not to mention, Lorrine can also recommend diners the best wines to pair with their dishes, and we’ve heard there’re plans to create special dishes to keep the menu exciting on a regular basis, and provide an excellent opportunity for everyone to learn about pairing different types of wine with food on their upper floors.
There’s a reason fiesta is one of the best-known words in Spain as life itself is a fiesta there, and everyone seems to be invited. Add food and Paella to the mix, we have extra cause for celebration, even in JB! Until then, hasta la próxima vez. 👋
📍 20 & 22, Jalan Pendekar 13, Taman Ungku Tun Aminah, 81300 Skudai, Johor Bahru, Johor
📞 +6019-710 5566
🕙 Daily from 11:30am to 11:00pm
💻 Paella Spanish
🍽️ NO PORK, NO LARD