Head towards Laguna. Turn into Boat Avenue, Cherng Talay
Open time: Daily 11am-11pm
Resevation: Tel: 0 76 602308www.inialakb.com
A casual, independent restaurant offering modern Mediterranean and Latin American inspired cuisine with an emphasis on a streaming, shareable style of dining.
They say competition breeds excellence. It certainly applies to Iniala Kitchen & Bar, an unpretentious name for a classy restaurant in Cherngtalay’s Boat Avenue, an area so well supplied with eateries that only the best can survive.
Open for four months, Iniala seems certain to thrive, if only because of its imaginative Mediterranean cuisine. Greeted by the charming Pui, we are shown the menu by Catalan Executive Chef Sandro. Relatively short, it is nonetheless innovative and distinctive, with four sections: Ceviche, Carpaccio, Small or Large plates. For the uninitiated, ceviche is a Latin-American dish made with high quality raw fish traditionally cured with citrus juice.
From five Ceviches on the menu, Sandro recommends both the Salmon (which is created with yucca, orange, onion, chili, potato and corn) and the Nikkei (with a hint of the Orient, combining tuna, chili, coriander, cucumber, avocado, corn, turnip, honey and soy dressing. An array of fresh flavours, at once ‘herby’ and redolent of the sea.
For our carpaccio, we sample the roasted artichoke. This is truly memorable, deservedly popular with diners, thanks to an exquisite sauce: honey combined with vinaigrette, and succulent artichokes, garnished with walnuts and melt-in-the-mouth goat cheese. In addition, Sandro recommends the Tuna Loin: cucumber, tomato, rocket, mint and grilled goat’s cheese. A heady mix of flavours and textures. Also consider the Warm Octopus or Duck with Foie Gras.
Our main courses are supposedly less adventurous. My partner opts for the Beef Tenderloin, with carrot, quinoa and a piquant red wine sauce that enhances the flavour of tender, succulent beef. My Pork Loin comes with prunes, a red wine reduction and cauliflower crème. So distinctive, I ask my partner to try the sweet-sour sauce. It reminds her of tamarinds. Dense, dark and fruity, it is the perfect complement to my pork steak.
Since this is a Mediterranean dining experience, I try a glass of the Ribero del Duero, a classy Spanish wine. One of four available by the glass, it is a fine accompaniment to meat. If you prefer, you can enjoy a drink, either at the small bar which flanks the open kitchen, or visit the bar upstairs with its spacious, tabled terrace, popular with weekend shoppers. Little wonder that the enterprise is fittingly called Iniala: Kitchen & Bar.
As for the food, you need to book a table to discover just how excitingly different it is…