Food, life, and fun in my "kampung,"(village), KL (Kuala Lumpur). Did I mention "food?"

El Cerdo (Non-Halal)

By Allan Yap & Nigel A. Skelchy

Also found in www.notesfromvenus.com

This is a posting about a non-halal restaurant. If you would be discomfited by images of pigs, please refrain from reading on.

"El Cerdo or Lemon Garden Cafe, bee?" An emphatic "El Cerdo" decided the matter. We drove up, parked in one of the lanes just off Changkat Bukit Bintang and walked acrross the street into El Cerdo (El as in "L" and Cerdo as in "Sir-doh" meaning, "The Pig.").
As we entered, a polite hostess welcomed us and asked if we had a reservation, to which we replied in the negative. She asked us to hold on a moment and would get her manager. Looking around, El Cerdo has a comfortable, unpretentious bistro-like ambience. For a worrying moment, I was thinking that we might not get a seat at all as it was decently crowded even for a Monday night, with the reservation book quite filled. All of a sudden, this familiar face grins at us and comes walking over. Long story short, the manager on the floor tonight is a friend of ours who, in very short order, finds us a quiet little table near the back.
As we were rather hungry, we got down to business straight away. We ordered our drinks (me a witbier(white beer) and Allan his water) and then got stuck in and ordered our food as well. We decided on Prawns wrapped in parma ham, Iberico or Black Iberian Pig Ribs and Pork Belly with Catalan rice. The nice little surprise above came in the form of a free bowl of Chorizo Soup. Yum! Savoury and slightly spicy with the smokiness of chorizo to accent the thick soup. If we were served a larger bowl it would have been a meal in itself.
The edge been taken off, you notice that ALL the decor centres around "cerdo" or pigs. Pigs in their various representations from around the world. In little figurines to photos to jokes to novelty items and sketches and artwork on the walls. It's pigs! Very adorable.
The appetiser comes along and it looks marvelous. Coral pink prawns wrapped in salted parma ham on a bed of frisee and cole slaw. The prawns were cooked to perfection, tender, not mushy and wrapped in that quickly sauteed parma ham. Fantastic!

The mains arrive and they're well presented. A bed of salad provided a sweet and tart counterpoint to the spiced and salted rich meat on those ribs. The meat itself from the Iberian Black Pig was sweet, rich, and the best pork I've ever tasted. Full flavoured and not the least bit gamy (like some of our pork) but rich and succulent and well spiced with a light spice rub. Heavenly!
While we ate, we kept hearing plates being broken and I must admit, it startled me a couple of times. Until I saw the waithelp dragging out large wooden tubs to certain tables. People were using their best swing arm action and flinging plates into these tubs with crashing consequences. I managed to sneak a peek in these tubs and they had ingeniously put in a mortar so that the plates would strike it and break. Max, our friend, the manager, explained that it was a spanish/greek tradition which I remembered from my salad days, visiting bouzouki bars in London's Tottenham Court Road. Bouzouki were plucked stringed instruments and bouzouki bars were watering holes where there was live entertainment and much breaking of plates.
Along with our black pig ribs, we had Pork Belly and Catalan Rice. The pork belly was sliced thin and marinated in a sweet, tart flavouring, then cooked to a turn and the plate was drizzled with reduced balsamic and served. With good pork, you get a good layer of meat sandwiched by a decent layer of fat and repeated. And this was good pork.
If pigs could fly
I loved the design of the name itself; notice the squiggle on the end of the 'o.'

And of course what is dinner without dessert. Andreas's Special. Andreas turned out to be Chef Werner's nephew and is the manager over at Werner's new place down the road called Werner's Cafe. The dessert itself was a concoction of some lovely ingredients; fresh bananas coated with passion fruit puree, white chocolate ice cream, chocolate mousse and pears poached in wine. And, without asking, they divided it into 2 glasses for Allan and I to share.
Another surprising freebie was this kalamansi/vodka and salt digestif to "aid the digestion." Since Allan was on medication, I got them both to myself. Sigh...I was a lucky bugger!

El Cerdo is not the cheapest restaurants in town. But the waithelp is polite, well trained and were attentive. For both of us, we ordered an appetiser, 2 main courses, and a dessert which came up to RM203. Not hugely expensive for a good night out at a decent restaurant these days but not something people would choose to do often in a month. Treat it as a treat and savour every morsel. But make an effort to go! Definitely a MUST for any self respecting resident of our kampung.

El Cerdo
No 43 & 45 Changkat Bukit Bintang
50200 Kuala Lumpur


my utmost fave place for oink oink!

babe; I agree ;-) well besides the roadside charsiew places that dot our fair city ;-)

wow ! iberico . . . .looks damn good . . . . .might go there if mum can take care of me 2 kids . . .cant be bringing my brat around can i ? lolz

Is Allan better now ? Hows life bro?

hey foodie ;-) Allan's all well thanks. Life's good thanks. How about you? 2 kids is a full time job man! ;-) And yes, get yer mum to babysit for a night. El Cerdo's worth it. ;-)

hey.... u didnt order the suckling pig?

Aiyo - don't describe the offerings so nicely la ... < drool >.

PS we shld catch up soon too.

And yet another fantastic review!! How not not to go to this place lah??

Black Iberian pork eh? Where is it from? Spain? Have tried Kenyan and Dutch pork. Be interesting to try this.

zewt; no lah only 2 of us. Wanted more variety. Saving that for later. Chef Werner just sms-ed re milk fed lamb and veal. Oh dear...how to lose weight again? ;)

lenard; would it help if I just put the pics up? ;-)

kat; thanks much dear. Iberico is Black Iberian pig from Spain. ;-) Rich, sweet, moist, but it doesn't have that gamy, porky smell that you get in local pork.

Well, your pics are so evoking that you're already saying the proverbial thousand words ;)

Nah - keep it going - need the inspiration to get off my ass and go visit these places. Heh heh.

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