Fans of Mexican food now have a new place to enjoy this cuisine. The newly-opened Fresca Mexican Kitchen & Bar at The Gardens spots a contemporary and rustic look. From its pretty floor tiles, exposed bricks on the walls, wood-panelled partitions and dark wood furniture, there’s a warm feel of hip Latino ambience. I like the colourful Mexican hats and folk paintings decorating some of the walls – great conversational pieces. High stools line the bar on one side – a good place for guests to have some pre-dinner drinks or simply to chill-out.
“Fresca” means “cool” or “fresh” in Spanish (the official language of Mexico) and this restaurant was set up by 2 adventure-seeking sisters who fell in love with Mexican food and the country’s passion for La Vida – “Live the Life”.
We started off with some Fresca speciality drinks. Their Fresca creations come with some very interesting names, like “Midnight Flight to Mexico”, “Incognito in Mexico” and “And The List Goes On”! We tried more than 10 drinks, I believe, that evening… because every name sounds so intriguing! Below are just some of those we tried:
- Classic Margarita (RM23)
- Jalapeno Margarita (RM23)
- Kiwi Lychee Siesta (RM26)
- Cinco de Mayo (RM23)
- Tiramisu e Giu (RM26)
- Incognito in Mexico (RM26)
- Electric Blue Margarita (RM23)
- Sangria (RM23)
- Blue Mountain (RM23)
For the brave at heart, the Jalapeno Margarita is a must-try. The idea is to take a sip of the margarita, then followed by a bite of the jalapeno – the “kick” will set in, right after! I like the fruity flavours of the Kiwi Lychee Siesta as it is a mixture of vodka, lychee liquer, muddled kiwi and lychees. The Cinco de Mayo is extremely popular with guests in Fresca and I must say it’s really refreshing – the blend of Jose Cuervo Reposado Tequila, Crème de Cassis, clover honey, fresh lime and orange juice makes the sipping pretty addictive! If you like a rich creamy kind of cocktail, go for the Tiramisu e Giu – it’s made from whiskey, Kahlua, hazelnut, milk and the sides of the glass are encrusted with choco sprinkles!
Fresca specialises in botanas – small plates of food for sharing amongst friends and family. Our meal started off with a plate of Nachos Grande (RM27) – tortilla chips topped with refried beans, jack cheese, jalapeno, freshly-made guacamole and sour cream. The burst of flavours on those crunchy chips definitely whetted our appetites! Next came the Jalapeno Poppers (RM16)… bread-crumbed jalapeno peppers deep-fried and served with a sweet mango chipotle salsa. When I took a bite of the crunchy jalapeno, out oozed some Monterey Jack Cheese and minced beef – totally delicious!
The Tacos Ensanada (RM19) – 4 pieces of own-made flour tortillas encasing beer-battered fish and topped with some colourful coleslaw. I thought the fish is a unique touch as most tacos are served with meats and I was told this classic fish taco originates from Ensanada, Baja California. I preferred the more flamboyant Camarones al Ajillo – tiger prawns saute’ed with aromatic Guajillo chillies and garlic… these were good when eaten rolled-up in the flour tortillas!
The Sopa de Fideo (RM15) is actually a chicken soup with angel hair pasta in it. The added squeeze of lime gives it a tart nuance – it’s flavourful yet I find it pretty average.
Light eaters would like the Pescado Mojo de Ajo (RM42) as it is a meal by itself. There’s a generous portion of panfried fish fillet in butter sauce, served with Mexican white rice and a fresh salad by the side. For something more robust, try the Costilla Asada (RM43) – succulent short-ribs slow-braised in a piquant homemade sauce for 3 hours. Needless to say, the meat was very tender and the sides of mashed potato and fresh vegetables were more than adequate. Another tummy-filling dish is the Carne Asada a la Tampiqunea (RM54) … a wholesome platter of grilled tenderloin, served with Mexican red rice, enchiladas verdes and refried beans. However, I found the meat a bit overcooked – it would have tasted better if it had been lifted off the grill a bit sooner.
By this time we were almost too full to move; we only had enough stomach space to try out 2 desserts. The Churros (RM13) served with chocolate sauce is popular. We also had the Apple Enchiladas – baked flour tortillas filled with apples served with homemade nougat icecream.
After this extensive meal, we all left singing “Barriga Ilena Corazon Contento – Full Belly Happy Heart!”
Fresca Mexican Kitchen & Bar
G-242A Ground Floor, The Gardens
Mid Valley City, Kuala Lumpur.
Opening hours: Mon-Thurs & Sun 11am-11pm; Fri-Sat 11am till late