CAVA by Islero is headed by a young Argentinian Chef, Emiliano Alvarellos. His dedication to bringing authentic Spanish cuisine to gourmets in Bangkok is seen in his cuisine. We have tried his dinner before and are amazed at his excellence in keeping the traditional simplicity of Spanish cuisine while demonstrating his sophisticated culinary skills. This time, we revisited CAVA by Islero and enjoyed a night of delicious tapas and Sangria sharing with a group of food lovers. It is a night to remember not just because we have made some new friends, but also because of the delicious tapas that Chef Emiliano prepared for us. It’s really a night full of surprises!
Twelve little plates of tapas were served for sharing. Honestly, I was struggling to find faults. The authenticity of the Spanish food served at CAVA by Islero was evidenced in the ingredients used, such as lard and jamon iberico from Huelva, chorizo from León and Idiazabal cheese from Donostia. In term of taste, each tapas was a surprise on my palate. Each surprise inspired the same question in my head, ‘How did Chef Emiliano make this dish?’ Among all little plates I enjoyed, I especially like Bikini, Idiazabal Foam Cheese, Gambas al ajillo, and Cannelloni.
This is no usual sandwich, thinly layered with jamon iberico, cheese and truffle. This sandwich truly triggered my craving nerve. Although these three ingredients were heavy in taste, Chef Emiliano balanced the flavours evenly well. Flavours of the ham, cheese and truffle were layered perfectly for the fullest pleasure of my palate. The charm of this Bikini, like an image of a sexy lady in a blazing red swimsuit, is very difficult to forget.
It looks ordinary but is mind blowing. Idiazabal cheese is a kind of pressed cheese made from unpasteurized sheep milk. Imagine a big whole block of cheese, how was it turned into foam? The foam cheese was light but very creamy and rich in nutty flavour. The idea of using super crispy toasts to contrast with soft, creamy foam cheese was brilliant! If I am asked to name a signature tapas at CAVA by Islero, this is it!
(3) Gambas al ajillo – Spicy garlic shrimp
To impress diners with a traditional tapas is not easy, but this dish was a plate-licking dish! The magic of olive oil, garlic and chillies turned the sauce a perfect dipping sauce for bread. The aroma made my mouth water the moment it was placed on the table. This dish was appetizing and definitely an exceptional traditional dish that Chef Emiliano prepared for us!
(4) Cannelloni – Cannelloni stuffed with roasted minced pork, Manchego cheese sauce, black truffle puree
It was another unforgettable dish at this tapas dinner. The minced pork must have been gone through many hours of preparation. It was melt-in-my-mouth with the texture that was so reminiscent of foie gras! The roasted minced pork was perfectly wrapped inside a thin al-dente pastry roll, making it so easy to be spooned up. The cheese sauce and black truffle puree added an additional flavour and aroma to the dish, making this dish simply irresistible.
Other dishes that you should try:
(1) Paella – Slowed cooked bomba rice, seafood or duck, ali oli
Seafood paella is rather common in all Spanish restaurant, but using duck in the paella was surprisingly lovely. It may look heavy to you especially when it was served toward the end of the meal, but the duck paella was bursting with flavours and did not burden my appetite at all. As (2) Torrijas Grandmother Style – Brioche infused in aromatic milk, caramelized accompanied with caramel ice cream
I would recommend you to end your meal with this dessert. Grandmother’s recipe always brings satisfaction. It’s sweet but was a perfect balance with all the savoury dishes I already had!
Who in Gourmet Bangkok team reviewed CAVA by Islero?
Chelsea Chan ~ A food lover, golfer, fun lover, and adventurer Chelsea was born in Hong Kong and is a genuine food lover. Her palate is especially sharp on Cantonese food, delicacies from Hong Kong and meat (especially beef, chicken and lamb). She is able to taste how the food is cooked and prepared. Besides, she is also a pro buffet gourmet because of her unlimited appetite. When she says ‘too sweet’, it may not be sweet for you as her preference for chocolate is 72++ dark chocolate.
Neng Srichaisak ~ A pro golfer, travel lover and photographer Neng was born in Bangkok and is an enthusiastic photographer. Ever since joining the Gourmet Bangkok Team, he has developed an intense interest in food and food photography. He is good at searching the best angle for a dish. He likes spicy food and is able to tell the exotic spices used in Asian cuisine. He also acts as the Thai-Cantonese interpreter for Chelsea when reviewing restaurants in Bangkok. As he is a pro golfer, he reviews all golf courses for Gourmet International Team.
Will Gourmet Bangkok recommend CAVA by Islero?
Definitely! We highly recommend this Spanish restaurant to you all!
Exceptional Spanish food is served at CAVA by Islero ~ Chelsea