Saturday, December 1, 2012

Have an Oinky good time at El Cerdo, Changkat Bukit Bintang, KL.

Happy December! December's always a fun time of month, what with the year-end, Christmas decorations everywhere, and with everyone taking a break from work (or to clear off their last remaining days of Annual Leave). Hopefully your December is full of fun and gifts and laughter too!

Anyways, El Cerdo over at Changkat Bukit Bintang has always been one of my favorite "special occasions" restaurants in KL. I've been there quite a number of times over the years but strangely I've never gotten round to blogging about it, so here goes!

El Cerdo is unashamedly all about celebrating porky goodness. The restaurant is decorated with drawings and paintings of pigs, cute little piggy figurines, etc. If you celebrate your birthday here, the staff will even add in a loud "oink oink" in between lines of "Happy Birthday to You."

The menu, naturally, is chock full of different kinds of porcine delights. Like this family-sized Jamon Serrano (RM88) - An assortment of Jamon Serrano and Iberico with Chorizo Sausages, melon balls, olives, nuts and salad. Plenty of different varieties of ham to go around the table!

My favorite dish of the night was the Oven Roasted Iberico Spare Ribs (RM88), served with a fairly forgettable Pineapple Salsa. The Spare Ribs, however, were utterly awesome. An almost-crispy outer crust thanks to the Maillard reaction, combined with the meat bursting with juice and chock-ful of porky flavor, this dish is a clear winner.

El Cerdo's main attraction, however, is the Cochinillo Alestili Segoviano (Roasted Suckling Pig, RM188 for half a piglet). When the piglet is served, one (or more) VIP's for the night gets to chop the piglet with a plate (to signify how tender it is), and then break the plate in a bucket. So that night being my birthday dinner night, I got to do the honours :)

What I've noticed over the years is that (i) the story that the waiter/waitress tells you as to why you're breaking the plate changes from time to time; and (ii) the price you pay for the suckling pig has increased quite a bit.

I also thought that despite the 24 hour soak they put the suckling pig through in the marination process, that the meat tasted relatively ... plain. I loved the crackling of the crispy piglet skin, but once that was done, the remainder of the meat was honestly not as succulent/delicious as I used to remember it.

The downside, of course, is that prices aren't cheap - and especially when you consider drinks (e.g. Peppermint Tea at RM8.50 ... really? Why do I pay 1500% mark-up for you to put a teabag into a pot of hot water?!?)

Nevertheless, El Cerdo remains one of my favorite joints in KL. Thanks to the constant choruses of "Happy Birthday" and all the plate-smashing going on, the restaurant has a very lively and happy atmosphere. Wait staff are friendly and charming, too. Reservations are essential on Friday and Saturday nights. Non-halal.

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