When we were in Spain last year, we had very restricted choice of food because we forgot to research for halal restaurants in Madrid.

'Ok, seriously. What are we going to have for dinner? Not kebab again, ok?'

As a result, almost every day in Madrid, we had kebab and bread for dinner (lunch was provided by the seminar organiser). Each time I voiced out about trying out paella ala marinara, Suami Terchenta mysteriously became tired, dragged his feet and became extremely stubborn - he simply could not risk eating something foreign (what if they had pork in it??) The number of arguments and sulks we had over where to eat - you would not believe it.

(Paella, fyi, is Spanish rice dish and paella ala marinara is rice with mixed seafood. So no pork. Lagipun, I would not eat anything I was not sure of)

Luckily, we managed to get a taste of paella at the airport before we flew back so I did not bear a grudge with Suami Terchenta over paella. However, being the person who is more inclined to be adventurous gastronomically, I made a mental note to try out Mexican food in Malaysia (Mexico shared a lot of similarities with Spain in terms of menu & language because Spanish once colonized Mexico, like British over Malaysia, me-think)

So, diet out of the window, last night after two days begging my hubby to go out for a dinner date, finally he agreed!

Armed with Google and a few keywords, I stumbled into the website of:

Mexican Restaurantwww.lascarretas.com

I felt like strumming my banjo and doing a little Mexican jig when I found out that Las Carretas (Spanish for 'The Wagon') nearest outlet is in Ampang, which is just 10-mins away from our home. Since it's a special date (you don't often go on a date after married, mind you) we dressed up properly and soon found ourselves in the restaurant looking at the foreign menu, clueless.

Luckily, Las Carretas team is extremely helpful when we told them that it was our first time sampling Mexican food. They explained their otherwise incomprehensible menu and recommended their customers' favourite.

After ordering from the menu, the waiter brought us some nachos with tomatoes dip:

nachosNachos & tomato dips - exactly what I feel like biting into

nachosThis is how we dip it!

Our starter came about 10 minutes later:

Las Carretas in AmpangSenor Damian Salad

I am one of those people who has to have veggie in my meal and therefore ordered this salad before our main course arrived. To be honest, there's nothing special about the salad except that it comes in this cute-shaped bread which is edible. The dressing is minimal (healthy) and they could add more chicken strips (which tastes a little bit like Nando's chicken). Other than that, we got the usual lettuce, tomato slices, green crisps, capsicum and green chilli.

For main course, Suami Terchenta had:

fajitasFajitas (pronounced fa-hee-tas)

We were not really sure how to go about eating Fajitas - but when in doubt, we did how we like it! Suami Terchenta had the tortilla (pronounced tor-tiy-yas) spread on his plate, took the sliced grilled beef strips & cajun-flavored chicken slices and dumped them in the centre of the bread. Then he spooned the sauteed veggies and ladled them all over the meat before pouring a little of sour cream, salsa, guacamole & cheese each onto these fillings. Then he wrapped the tortilla and tadah! He bit into the fajita.

'How does it taste, babe?'

'Like chapati...'

Ok, there goes RM30.90 on Mexican version of chapati...

My dinner however was this:

Las Carretas in AmpangBeef Backribs

My review. The beef is cooked until they are tender and fell off the bone easily. The baked potato with a dollop of sour cream is done to perfection. But... what's with the sweet gravy?

I was expecting spicy, salty and tangy marinated meat. I got sweet-as-candy meat instead. Thankfully, we did not order dessert. The beef was sweet enough to pass off as dessert, although I found it difficult to wrap my head around sweet meat.

So, a bit disappointed here.

To sum up my review:

  1. Location - moderate (we had to circle around to reach this restaurant because the map did not indicate that they were located at a one-way street)
  2. Service - superb (helpful & cute waiters)
  3. Atmosphere - good (cosy, though like TGIF, they are not 100% halal restaurant i.e. they have wine bar which Suami Terchenta could not resist taking a photo)
  4. Food - moderate (or is it because my tastebud is not Spanish-inclined? But I liked the paella back in Madrid airport)
  5. Price - expensive (our bill totaled up to RM100+) - go only if you are celebrating something worth throwing your money away

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