A crowd has gathered at the windows of the La Fiesta kitchen. A massive pan, at least a metre in diameter, is being filled with rice, broth and meat. ‘What is it?’ someone asks. It’s paella. La Fiesta is the latest salvo in Resort World Genting’s effort to raise its culinary credentials. Dedicated to Spanish cuisine, this is not Genting’s first time in the bullfighting ring – Michelin-starred chef Francesc Rovira made a guest appearance last year – but it’s certainly the most concentrated. As a concept created entirely in-house, it is 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 100 people, the rice is fluffy where it needs to be and crunchy where it must he. 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 hang legs of jamon iberieo. Slivers of this are transcendental, a higher state of being achieved by a holy mix of umami and melting texture. The hits keep coming. Tender albondigas (meatballs) lead the selection of tapas. The cold salmorejo soup may surprise, but the patatas bravas is familiarly satisfying. And, of course, fresh ehurros with gooey chocolate sauce.
All of this is served in a cosy faberna-like setting. Moodily lit with curved arches and colourful tiles, this could almost be Granada. Complete that mental teleportation with a glass of sangria. If there is a need for something stronger, the wall of wines, which includes the robust Valdubon 2015 and sparkling Freixenet cava, call out a liquid siren song. Outside it may be cloudy, but in La Fiesta, it is warm, welcoming and well-seasoned.