A crowd has gathered at the glass windows of the La Fiesta kitchen. A massive pan, at least a metre in diameter, is being filled with rice, broth and meat. Ladled over and over until well mixed, it draws the attention of the curious, who in turn draw more passers-by. ‘What it is?" someone asks. It’s paella.
La Fiesta is the latest salvo in Resort World Genting’s conscious effort to up its culinary credentials. Dedicated to the beautiful world of Spanish cuisine, this is not the first time in the bullfighting ring at Genting – Michelin-starred chef Francesc Rovira made a guest appearance last year, while Iberico ribs are a fixture at LTITUDE restaurant – but is certainly is the most concentrated. As a concept created entirely in-house, it is quite remarkable how accurate this representation of Spain is, in the gleaming surroundings of the new SkyAvenue.
The massive pan of paella is testament to that. Capable of feeding a hundred, the rice is fluffy where it needs to be and crunchy where it must be. Paella is a tricky dish to get right – lore says that only water from Valencia can create a proper paella – but La Fiesta does a great approximation. In the next window, legs of jamon iberico and other cured pork morsels hang. Slivers of this ham, cured from black Iberian pigs, taste transcendental – a higher state of being achieved by a holy mix of umami flavour and melting texture.
The hits keep coming. Albondigas (Spanish meatballs) lead the selection of tapas, exceedingly tender in their piquant tomato sauce. The salmorejo – a cold Andalusian tomato soup – may surprise, but the patatas bravas is familiarly satisfying, down to the last crunch. And what better way to end the meal then with freshly deep-fried churros with drizzlings of gooey chocolate?
All of this is served in a cosy taberna-like setting. Moodily-lit with curved arches and colourful tiles, squint and you could imagine yourself in the old town of Granada. Complete that mental teleportation with a glass of sangria; the blanco made with white wine is lovely, but the rossa (with red wine) is delectable. If there is a need for something stronger, Spain provides. A wall of wines, including the robust Valdubon 2015 and sparkling Freixenet cava, call out a liquid siren song. Outside it may be cloudy and cool, but in La Fiesta, it is warm, welcoming and well seasoned.