Fresca Mexican Kitchen & Bar

Mexican

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Brought to you by Mexican Madness

A NOTABLE DEARTH of Mexican restaurants in KL is one of the things on a very short list of complaints I have about eating in KL. Happily, there’s now a place in The Gardens Mall that helps allay that concern. Fresca (“fresh” in Spanish), a Mexican kitchen and bar, opened perhaps providentially on the fifth of May earlier this year, a holiday celebrated throughout Mexico and the U.S. as Cinco de Mayo. Mexican holidays pass unnoticed in Malaysia, of course, but you shouldn’t pass on the chance to sample not only the familiar Tex-Mex goodies that almost everyone knows and loves, but a range of quite authentic Mexican dishes as well. Fresca has an eclectic menu that boasts a selection of sharable “botanas” or snack plates – great food that can serve as either the warm-up to the mains, or stand in for the entrées themselves. A lavish and extensive drink menu, including a few creative twists on the everyday margarita, doesn’t hurt, either. Cool, refreshing non-alcoholic coolers called agua fresca are a popular choice, too, particularly in hip flavours like tamarind, hibiscus, or mango.

The décor is especially appealing; you won’t find garish plaster burros or giant sombreros here, despite the title of this review. Fresca is classy and understated, with a warm blend of wood and brick. The 8-metre bar is a focal point, too, and with seats for over 100 patrons, the restaurant still manages to exude a comfortable intimacy, particularly in the evenings when the ambiance, punctuated by unique light fixtures and fittings, takes on an enhanced appeal.The location is excellent, too, right near the entrance to The Gardens Mall by the hotel. Fresca capitalises on this spot by offering a lovely al fresco dining area for those who wish to enjoy a spot of cosy outdoor dining.

Of special note, Fresca actually makes its own corn tortillas in-house, importing the masa (corn flour, typically made from hominy) and making the dough, pressing it, and making fresh tortillas. Naturally, the house guacamole is freshly made onsite, too, and it was outstanding. Other favourites would have to be the Tacos Ensenadas, a scrumptious fried fish taco which originated along the Baja coast of Mexico, south of California, the well-known Fajitas (available with chicken, beef tenderloin, or a mix), and the spicy, flavourful Enchiladas. Try the mouthwatering Carne Asada a la Tampiquena if you’re a meat lover!

Fresca also has a semi-private function room that can seat 40-50 comfortably, so they’re well-equipped for parties and events. A set lunch is available, and what’s on offer changes from time to time to keep things interesting. Ladies can enjoy complimentary margaritas to wash down their nibbles, and Fresca helps working denizens chase away the Monday blues with a great start to the week – currently they’re offering a deal that nabs you a second mug of Tiger draught beer for only RM5++ when you buy the first at regular price.There are always attractive happy hour deals, too, and like the set lunch, they change from time to time, so check their Facebook page for the latest promos.

Though KL is a long way from Mexico City, it’s great that some local restaurateurs are making an effort to add the delectable flavours of Mexican cuisine to Malaysia’s already-amazing landscape of international dining choices. Be sure to add Fresca to your list of great new dining venues to enjoy! By Chad Merchant

Prices:
Most Botanas (snack plates): RM15-25++
Most Mains: RM25-45++
Set Lunch: RM29.50++ (includes beverage)
Kids’ Menu Available

First published December, 2012

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