Livin’ La Vida (B)oca – Latino Bar @ Pavilion KL

Rain, rain, go away.

Monday blues, turn into red hues.

Let’s have some colour today!

I’m no poet, and I do know it, but on days like today when the constant downpour and gloomy grey sky out-shadow the happy sunshine on our Cameron Highlands Resort weekend just gone, I look for colour.

I dig through my photos in search of a happy meal, not the McDonalds kind, and I find it.

One of my closest friends from London just left, after a month long stay here in KL. As busy as she was, we managed to have some quality time to catch up, and I’ll always remember our lovely long lunch at La Boca Latino Bar in Pavilion.

That’s her there, my Peeps. She doesn’t like to be photographed.

It was one of those weekdays disguised as a Sunday, and La Boca was certainly disguised as anything from a cozy, small shack in Rio to a cozy small pub off Fulham Road in London. It had that insanely good feeling about it the moment you stepped in and it brought back memories of both London and Brazil for me. Maybe that’s why I’m getting so emotional – whoever did the deco certainly did a great job evoking emotion.

Crazy colours, paint smears on the walls that form images of shantytowns in South America. Bright green, red, yellow and blue chairs that screamed out, “Hey, I’m mismatched but so what? It works.”

 I was trying to ignore the prettiness of the colours and the grottyness of the scenes portrayed on the wall, but it wasn’t long before the camera came out and I was snapping away, especially impressed with the “cut-and-paste” look of the menu, loving the newspaper size and sheer variety of food from countries all across South America – Mexico, Peru, Cuba, Brazil & Argentina. What to choose?

Peeps ordered a Mexican Favourite – Fajitas (RM27)

Choose from Pollo Brassa (Chicken Breast Strips), Carne de Vaca (Marinated Tender Beef Steak) or Cetas (Marinated Mushrooms and Cheese). She had the Chicken, and it was so amazing she refused to share it!

I managed to steal a few pieces of the tender, heavily spiced chicken. Coriander, cumin, paprika, lime gave it a deep red colour and spicy sour flavour that despite the heavy powdered seasoning, remained light and fresh because all the spices were cooked properly.  I did a quick dip-dip into the accompanying sour cream, guacamole and salsa side dishes and decided it was the best Guacamole I’ve had in KL. Those authentically South American Chefs that La Boca boasts, well, they certainly bring the authenticity to the cuisine.

I started off with a tapas dish that I often have in other establishments, the Gambas Bravas (RM28)

Fat, fresh prawns soaked in olive oil, garlic and dried chilli, with a hint of fresh coriander and some freshly baked bread. Like the Fajitas, there was no sizzle, but I didn’t care as it meant I could get started without having to wait for it to cool down. There was so much flavour infused  in the olive oil from both the prawns and the herbs and spices that I wished the sold it in a bottle ready for me to take home. Delicious.

All the way from Uruguay,  the Ensalada La Casa (RM17)

House Salad with  avocado, boiled egg and Pomegranate dressing. Fantastic contrast in textures between the mixed greens, smooth and creamy avocado and popping, crunchy pink pomegranates.

Lil’ Chef arrived slightly later when we were almost done and despite my protest (I wanted him to try something different so I would have more to show) he decided to also have the Chicken Fajita, but added on some Empanadas (RM17).

I would have gladly traded that for my Bolinho de Quieja (RM22), which were a tad stodgy and not very cheesy for cheese balls.

It was salvaged washed down with a refreshing Margherita, and a hard to find fizzy San Pellegrino, Sparkling Citrus Flavoured Drink.

I will definitely have to go back because I want to try the more familiar items on the menu like Tamales (Homemade Corncakes) and Nachos Rancheros. I was intrigued by the Inca Cod wrapped in Plantain Leaf with Saffron Rice, the Argentinian Pizzas, the La Boca Burger, and the tempting Friday night Churrasco BBQ, All You Can Eat Brasiliano.

Unfortunately, we didn’t follow the instructions on the menu that said simply, “Life is short, Eat Dessert first.” We had it last, but it was still very good.

Churros served with Argentinean dulce de leche, and Brazilian Brigadeiro chocolate cream. Sweet, savoury, crispy, spongy…

If you’re in the Pavilion area, grab the chance to do a quick stop by KL’s very own South America.  Excuse the pun, but on a day like today, it’s the closest I’ll get to Livin’ la Vida (B)oca.



Level 3, Pavilion KL

168, Jalan Bukit Bintang,

Kuala Lumpur

T: 03-2148 9977




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  • What a shame you missed the Tango Hora Feliz! Every Sunday evening from 5-7pm, the local Tangueros and Tangueras of KL meet to eat and dance Argentine Tango. It’s a heady mix of traditional music and Tango Nuevo. More details can be found on fb group Tango Malaysia. Feels like we are dancing in our own little barrio of Buenos Aires….

  • Wow Sue, that sounds fantastic! Will definitely try and stop by either this Sunday or the next, thanks for the tip!

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