Food & Drink

A Fiesta for the Tastebuds at El Meson

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“Meson” is the Catalan word for inn, and El Mesón definitely succeeds in creating a welcoming and cosy atmosphere in the heart of bustling Bangsar. Having recently undergone a facelift, El Mesón’s interiors are both rustic and warm, with comfortable furniture and an al fresco section that is perfect for people-watching while digging into authentic Spanish tapas.

Unapologetically and authentically porky, El Mesón is helmed by Chef Pedro Avila, a native of Spain who was more than ready to help us choose from the extensive menu that encompasses both brassy, buxom flavours (spicy chorizo or Spanish sausage on potato confit) and soothing, buttery tastes (the champiñóns, or mushrooms in garlic, wine, and cream).

Being proudly Catalan, seafood features extensively throughout the menu, showcasing Chef Pedro’s versatility when it comes to creatively meshing ingredients in the tapas menu (the Pulpo a la Gallega or octopus with sea salt and paprika) as well as in the mains (Paella Mixta, the seafood and meat paella, cooked al dente and served with chilli and garlic on the side to appease the Malaysian palate).

A definite highlight is the Queso de Cabra Crujiente – creamy goat’s cheese in filo pastry and tomato jam. The pastry itself is warm and flaky with a hint of sweetness from the jam, juxtaposing the cool, fresh taste of the accompanying watermelon salad. Spain’s famed Iberico ham also plays a prominent role in the menu, from being served on toast with tomato salsa (Jamon Iberico), to being stewed or grilled with truffle mash and sautéed potatoes (Carillera/Presa Iberico).

Salads aren’t often the best part of most menus, but the Ensalada El Mesón stands head and shoulders above its counterparts. A true example of ingenuity at its finest, Chef Pedro’s version of the common salad sees a concoction of tomatoes, avocados, shallots, smoked salmon, and balsamic dressing served in individual endive leaves. Muy delicioso!

Pork lovers will undoubtedly rejoice at the Cochinillo, the roasted suckling pig served with fried potatoes and salad, and Chef Pedro’s twist on a local favourite does not disappoint. After all that meaty goodness, a taste of Crema Catalana (or Spanish Crème Brûlée) comes as a refreshing change on the palate. Infused with cinnamon and lime zest, the dessert is served in a small cazuela dish, much like how it is in the motherland.

Alongside these decadent delights sits an all-encompassing sangria and menu – all the brainchild of El Mesón’s resident mixologist – that is bound to see revellers quenching their thirst long after the dinner plates have been cleared.

Now open from breakfast right up to dinner time, El Mesón’s low-key façade unfurls to yield an exquisite culinary gem to those wanting to experience and explore the rich flavours of Spain. Salut!


Source: The Expat October 2013

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