Up to a few months ago, when people asked me where to go to try Peruvian food I didn’t know what to answer. I knew there were a couple of Peruvian restaurants in Sydney but I decided not to try them based on their reviews. The La Bodeguita del Medio opened its doors with my compatriot Danny Parreno in charge of the kitchen. While the menu is meant to be Cuban/Latin American, he has introduced some Peruvian dishes and elements in the menu, and I must say the ones I’ve tried have been excellent. Then another compatriot, Alejandro Saravia, opened Morena, with a mainly Peruvian menu. Food is outstanding and I’m recommending the restaurant to anyone who asks, but with the caveat that is pricey, and it’s not your everyday typical cuisine. La Parrillada falls in the budget category, portions are large, food is tasty and service is great.
I don’t know how but my sister found Cafe de Lima a while ago. When I looked at the about page in their website I was pretty sure I had seen the owners selling Peruvian food in the Marrickville Festival before. We scheduled a visit ASAP.
The cafe is located in the heart of Marrickville’s commercial strip. A peak inside made it obvious that most of the customers are Latin Americans, presumably Peruvians.
We ordered two dishes from the regular menu and one special to share. The anticuchos can be made of prime beef or heart (we ordered heart, which is the traditional cut) marinated in Peruvian spices and grilled. The portion consists in 2 skewers with a side of potatoes, huancaína cream, and salad greens. The anticuchos tasted great but were a bit dry. We had decided to make an exception and eat potatoes and dairy to try the sides. Sadly, the huancaína cream was disappointing, too thin and bland for our taste. I loved that they put palmitos in the salad.
The cebiche was better. It had a good fish/onion/chili ratio but lacked a bit of zing. Later I realised they cure the fish in lemon and lime juice, definitely the lemon lowers the acidity we’re used to.
Finally, we tried the adobo de chancho, marinated pork which is slowly cooked in a casserole with Peruvian spices. It was the best dish, hands down, flavourful and tender. I was very happy my allergy to pork is gone.
Adobo de chancho ($18.00)
We didn’t find the food breathtaking but it wasn’t bad. Prices are good, serving sizes are right, service is efficient and correct. And a bonus: it’s close enough to home. I reckon we’ll be back.
Cafe de Lima
208 Marrickville Road
Marrickville NSW 2204
(02) 9569 3331