De Paella

Update: This business has ceased its operations.

House Of Journey is a guesthouse at Seck Chuan Lane, which is just off the busy Chulia Street. One of the owners of this guesthouse is an ethnic Spaniard, which explains the Spanish theme of its in-house restaurant - De Paella Spanish Homemade.
Owing to the nature of this old heritage building, floor space is very limited here. There are only four 2-seater tables at the dining section.
Make up for space constraint, a makeshift deck is added above the drinks bar. A flight of stairs provides access to this upper deck.
The ceiling is rather low at the upper deck, therefore diners are meant to sit directly on the wooden floor. All things considered, I must say that this is good use of limited floor space.
The menu here is obviously based on Spanish cuisine, but there are several instances of fusion with local recipes. The main highlight on the menu is the Seafood Paella, or "Paella De Marisco" in Spanish. There are options for 2-persons and 3-persons servings, priced at RM55.00 and RM75.00 respectively.
Paella is a traditional Valencian (a Mediterranean district of Spain) dish which is usually prepared for the entire family. Firstly, seafood such as clams and shrimps are cooked in an iron skillet called a "paellera". Once cooked, the seafood is temporarily removed so that only the broth remains. Rice, squid, grated tomatoes and garlic are added to the broth and slowly simmered. Once most water has evaporated, seafood is added back and salted to taste. The dish is served in the paellera itself. A hint of lemon juice is also added for better flavor.
When served, the rice is still moist and quite sticky. The taste of this dish is dominated by tomatoes; sour but fortunately not overpowering. Despite our high expectation, the seafood fail to shine as we find their presence being disconnected from the rice. This is our first attempt on genuine Spanish cuisine, so perhaps we have yet to learn how to appreciate a good paella dish.
For side dishes, we ordered the Tortilla De Patata (RM7.99), which is a baked potato served with egg white and yolk, a piece of ham, and finally topped with a tortilla chip.
Although the ingredients are very similar to a typical Western breakfast, I must say that this dish is nicely prepared. Indeed, this is our highlight for tonight's dinner. Certainly well recommended.
Our next side dish is called Croqueta De Pollo Picante (RM8.99). Croqueta, or croquette in English and French, is a kind of fried roll whose ingredients vary by region.
"Picante" and "pollo" are Spanish words for "spicy" and "chicken" respectively, therefore the fillings in each croqueta is self-explanatory. Despite its name, the spiciness level is insignificant by Malaysian standard. The outer shell is made from flour batter, which lends its crispy texture after being fried in oil.
A saucer of cheese sauce is served alongside the croqueta. In my personal opinion, I feel that the sauce is unnecessary as it inhibits the taste of chicken.
Last but not least, Patatas Bravas (RM8.99) is a popular Spanish comfort food made from potatoes. De Paella's interpretation of this dish is in the form of cylindrical shape with closed-end at the bottom. Each shell is filled with mashed potato, which is then covered by two types of sauces. On the top, powdered chili pepper and spices are gently sprinkled on top.
When it comes to niche restaurants, expect to burn a deep hole in your pocket. Having said so, I feel it is nice to be occasionally adventurous for a change.
Ironically, we enjoyed all side dishes more than the Seafood Paella itself. However without any prior encounters with native Spanish food, it is difficult to make any meaningful comparisons. Perhaps it is time to search for a second Spanish restaurant to compare with?
Address: 45, Lorong Seck Chuan, 10200 George Town, Pulau Pinang
Contact: 04-262-1399
Business hours: 7:00pm-10:30pm

Taste
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5 comments:

  1. Tjen Seong, the food and places you write about recently are more interesting. And I like the fact that you care to provide a brief background of the food :p Calling for a reservation now, it's Friday!

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    1. Thanks for your continuous readership, Joe. Cheers! :-)

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  2. Closed for renovation until early October. Call first :|

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    1. It's fortunate that you called beforehand. I didn't know that they are closed for renovation. :-)

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  3. This comment has been removed by the author.

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