Modern takes on Spanish classics
Having thrown its sombrero into the increasingly popular Spanish restaurant ring in Bangkok, Islero is hoping its modern take on Iberian classics will inspire a hungry horde to rush through its doors. To that end, the eatery consulted with Eduard Bosch—a chef de cuisine previously at the famed El Bulli in Catalonia—to create some of the dishes.
The venue, in the Athenée Tower, has been open 18 months and comprises two restaurants: Islero offers a more formal experience and menu, while Cava by Islero is casual and tapas predominate. We chose the latter, which features a long bar and open sightlines into the kitchen and surrounding office complex. A red mosaic, after the noted fighting bull ‘Islero’ (the restaurant’s namesake) livens up the wall in Cava, while soft jazz saunters through the bistro.
The meal started with Idiazabal Cheese (B220) in three textures: foam, cream, and regular pieces. The foam was encased in a castle of thin crackers, sprinkled with cheese pieces and surrounded by a moat of cream. The dish was salty and light; one of the more inventive choices for the tapas course.
The Huevos Con Chorizo (B280) provided a change-up on the broken eggs classic by rendering the potatoes in the form of crispy rice noodles. While still quite salty, it is a little lighter in this version and a heavy dose of paprika offered a nice tang. The beautiful presentation looked like a bird’s nest crime scene.
Wisely no alteration was made to Gambas Al Ajillo (B320 for large portion), the garlic shrimp dish served with chili oil, other than it was cooked in a Josper oven. Be sure to ask for extra bread with this dish as the best part is using it to mop up the excess chili oil.
A version of Red Tuna Stew (B250) came with a light-tasting hunk of fish and a delightfully mild tomato-based sauce. The Braised Beef Cheek (B390), with potatoes and truffle foam, was extremely tender and rich, with pickled onion providing a zesty balance.
Next up was Pork and Beef Cannelloni (B300 for large portion) in a Manchego cheese sauce with black truffle purée. The black truffle provided a contrast in presentation and a savoury kick to the hefty white cheese sauce in this filling preparation.
Rounding out the meal was a selection of Four Sorbets (B280) made with a Pacojet, which purées frozen foods into fine textures. Chef Emiliano Alvarellos, who is from Argentina but has spent ample time working in Spain, decided that because sorbets are known to clean the palate, he would serve this dessert on a painter’s palette over a framed painting. Ranging from blood orange with olive oil, to green apple and celery, these sublime little tidbits were a highlight of the repast.
By Robin Banks
Islero/Cava by Islero
Athenée Tower, 63 Wireless Rd.
Tel: 02 168 8101
Open daily: 5pm-midnight, 11:30am-2:30pm weekdays for lunch