Holidays in Perú (7 July 2012, Lima)

The weekend arrived and it was time to move with my other sister (the one who lives in Perú) and her husband, after having spent a few days with my aunties and mum. After breakfast (scrambled eggs with butter, some tuna, and olives) and spending some time with mum and dad, we packed our bags.

We had a hard time booking a taxi that was big enough for the three of us plus all the suitcases. When we finally got to Gloria’s apartment it was late and we were starving. Fortunately there’s a great seafood restaurant at walking distance from there. Punto Azul has shops in several districts in Lima, and all of them are always packed. To give you an idea, it was past 4pm and we had to wait for a table. We were informed they were out of certain ingredients, and that they would tell us what was available once we were seated.

I don’t know for how long we waited but we did have enough time to think about a plan B, browsing an online restaurant guide in Aníbal’s phone. We decided to stay, though, and it was totally worth it. Food was excellent and service was very efficient, as usual.

Aníbal ordered Causa de pulpa de cangrejo (mashed potatoes with oil, lime juice and chilli, topped with crab meat and mayo, for a recipe of the tuna version click here) and Tiradito al natural (sashimi-inspired cuts of fish, marinated with lime juice and chilli).

Causa de cangrejo

Causa de pulpa de cangrejo (S/. 20, around $7.40)

Tiradito al natural

Tiradito al natural (S/. 24, around $8.90)

Gladys and I ordered Cebiche de pescado (fish cebiche, recipe here) and Pulpo al olivo (octopus with olive mayo, recipe here). Unfortunately, the waitress came back announcing that they were out of octopus and suggested tiradito al olivo instead (sashimi-inspired cuts off fish, with olive mayo). Both dishes were absolutely delicious.

Cebiche de pescado

Cebiche de pescado (S/. 22, around $8.20)

Tiradito al olivo

Tiradito al olivo (S/. 24, around $8.90)

Gloria ordered Pescado apanado (crumbed and fried fish, served with salad). Knowing my sister I’d bet she always orders the same dish when she eats there. Apart from the bread crust, it looked pretty good.

Pescado apanado

Pescado apanado (S/. 22, around $8.20)

Of course, we were provided the mandatory cancha (toasted corn kernels), rocoto and lime wedges.

Rocoto & lime

Rocoto & lime

Later on the day the four of us went out for dinner. Out of my long wish list, we chose Mayta, another well-ranked restaurant that focuses on Peruvian produce in a fine dining setting. The design of the restaurant caught my eye, especially the nice crockery that was set on the table (as display only).

Nice crockery

Nice crockery

A shelf with macerados (pisco infused with various herbs and/or fruits) told me ordering a pisco-based drink was a must.

Macerados

Macerados

I ordered a Machacado de uva borgoña y limón, pisco with pounded borgoña grape and lime, and Gloria a Diverso (diverse), featuring lychee, lychee liqueur, passionfruit, and Triple Sec. Both drinks were sweeter than what I’m used to but had a nice balanced fruity flavour.

Borgoña grape & lime machacado, Diverso

Machacado de uva borgoña y limón (S/. 20, around $7.40), Diverso (S/. 22, around $8.20)

A selection of breads was brought to the table along with rocoto & olive oil sauce, and buter topped with salt (I guess Maras).

Bread

Bread

We decided to order 2 entrées and a main each. Gloria and Aníbal shared Langostinos crocantes (crunchy prawns), served with mamey (a fruit) emulsion and pomegranate honey. Because the prawns were crumbed Gladys and I didn’t try them but the mamey emulsion was quite tasty.

Langostinos crocantes

Langostinos crocantes (S/. 35, around $12.90)

Gladys and I shared the Pulpo al carbón (chargrilled octopus), served with native potatoes textures, garlic confit chimichurri, and botija olives salt. Octopus is one of my favourite sea creatures, and this dish didn’t disappoint. The flavours were bold and the seasoning was just perfect.

Pulpo al carbón

Pulpo al carbón (S/. 38, around $14)

As I said before, my sister Gloria orders the same handful of dishes over and over again. This was no exception, as she managed to find Lomo saltado (stir-fried sirloin) in the menu. It’s a classic of classics, but to Gloria’s credit this version had a few innovations: it came served on top of pepián de choclo tacu tacu (a mix of rice and a corn-based dish), and the potatoes came as crunchy thin threads instead of regular chips. I got to eat several forkfuls; the dish was fantastic.

Lomo saltado

Lomo saltado (S/. 48, around $17.70)

Aníbal ordered the Cuy crocante (crunchy guinea pig), served with creamy chickpea tamales, regional chorizo, dressed chonta and Maras salt. Luckily for us Aníbal was full from lunch (and a few other snacks he had before dinner), so we got to eat a good chunk of the guinea pig. What a delicious little animal. The meat was unbelievably tender and the crunchy skin added a great texture contrast.

Cuy crocante

Cuy crocante (S/. 58, around $21.50)

Gladys and I shared our mains. I started with the Cebiche ahumado a la piedra (smoked cebiche in hot stones), with corvina (a white flesh fish), prawns, octopus, calamari, and grilled sweet potato. It came in a clay bowl that was so hot that instantly broke the plate underneath, even when there was a thick serviette in between. The embarrased waiter apologised and rushed to change the bottom plate. Cebiches a la piedra are basically hot cebiches, where the usual citrus marinade is transformed in some sort of tangy broth. While I didn’t feel any smokiness, the dish was delicious.

Cebiche ahumado

Cebiche ahumado a la piedra (S/. 55, around $20.40)

Our other main was Alpaca two way: braised shoulder with porcón (a mushroom), grilled sirloin, sauco (a berry), and native potatoes in 3 textures. All the elements in this dish were amazing, and the combined flavour delightful. To be honest, I don’t know which of the dishes was my favourite, I think they all were.

Alpaca two way

Alpaca two way (S/. 58, around $21.50)

A selection of petit fours arrived after we declined to see the dessert menu. It included chicha morada (purple corn drink) gumdrops, kiwicha (a pseudograin) balls, macarons with aguaymanto (a fruit) cream, bonbons with lúcuma (a fruit) cream, and algarrobina (a carob-based pisco cocktail) marshmallows. I tried them all, and liked the kiwicha balls and the bonbons better. Petit fours and bread are charged at S/. 11 (around $4.10) per head.

Petit fours

Petit fours

Dinner at Mayta was hands down one of the best meals I had in this trip. It is pricey for Peruvian standards, but servings are bigger than in most fine dining restaurants, and the quality is outstanding.

Punto Azul
Av. Primavera 2235
Surco, Lima, Perú
(511) 435 8656
puntoazulrestaurante.com

Mayta
Av. 28 de Julio 1290, San Antonio
Miraflores, Lima, Perú
(511) 243 0121
reservas@maytarestaurante.com
www.maytarestaurante.com


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