Holidays in Perú (16 July 2012, Lima)

Monday again! Breakfast was bacon & eggs, with broccoli sautéed in butter, leftover fried sweet potatoes, and freshly squeezed orange juice (thanks Gloria!). As a side note, the least processed bacon I could find in the supermarket still had a bunch of nasty ingredients in it. I also noticed the slices were thinner than the bacon I regularly buy here, yielding a crunchier (and drier) end result.

My niece Alejandra, who is now 18 (eighteen! I’m so old!), is in many aspects very similar to her mother. That includes food. Meaning she’s crazy about ribs, too. She gravitates between the usual suspects: Chilli’s, Friday’s, Mis Costillitas when she’s with the family, and her chosen one for lunch, Tony Roma’s.

But before that we went to a handicraft market to buy some souvenirs and jewelry. Gladys was hungry again (!) so she bought a bag of chifles (banana chips). Peruvian banana chips are different from the ones you can buy in Sydney, they’re usually cut lengthwise, they’re thinner and they’re salty. Gladys became addicted to them, and ate a bag almost every day.

Chifles

Chifles, banana chips

I hadn’t been to Tony Roma’s in ages, and I didn’t know that they were offering a lunch set menu, which at S/. 27.90 (around $10.20) including an entrée, a main and a drink, sounded like a pretty good deal.

They serve a sweet potato-based bread with chilli sauce and butter to spread on. Gladys was very curious about the bread and had a bite, but she couldn’t feel the sweet potato. Bummer.

Bread, ají, butter

Bread, ají, butter

Gladys and I drank sparkling water. I had a glass of Argentinian red, too. Ale opted for sweeter beverages: chicha morada (a non alcoholic drink made with purple corn, cinnamon, cloves, pineapple peel, and lime juice), and a Bailey’s & coffee.

Chicha, Bailey's & coffee

Chicha, Bailey’s & coffee

Ale chose the Red Hot Buffalo Wings as starter, which apparently were not hot enough for her, so she did good use of the chilli sauce that came with the bread.

Red hot buffalo wings

Red hot buffalo wings

Gladys and I had the Roma dinner salad (cos lettuce, tomato, onion, Parmesan) sans croutons. Smallish and simple, but nice.

Roma dinner salad

Roma dinner salad

I gotta confess I broke a blogging rule: we all ordered the same main. Let me justify my actions: Tony Roma’s is “famous for ribs”, right? So we had to have the ribs, right? Right. St. Louis style ribs for three. They were served with chips and coleslaw, and although the size was not huge (given they were part of a set menu), I was comfortably full.

St. Louis style ribs

St. Louis style ribs

We had a coffee at Starbucks afterward (long black for the three of us, again: boring!) and left in different directions for the rest of the day.

I met my friends Karinna and Mauricio for dinner at Oceanika, an all-you-can-eat “fusion” sushi restaurant. It’s not a sushi train, instead they do table service, so you gotta be patient. My friends go there regularly so they knew how to minimise the waiting time: by ordering several rolls at once.

The cost per person is S/. 42 (around $15.30) and includes yakimeshi (more on that later), plus unlimited regular soft drinks or chicha morada. If you want water (still or sparkling), diet soft drinks, alcohol or hot beverages, you have to pay for them. Also, you can’t order more if you haven’t finished what’s on the table. If you do the math, you’ll realise it’s pretty cheap. But you kinda get what you paid for, in terms of quality and service.

I asked the waiter if he could tell me which rolls didn’t contain gluten, and because he didn’t get it I asked for “no flour or bread”. Somehow he thought I was only talking about the outside of the rolls and failed to mention that virtually all of them contained panko-crumbed prawns. This was a cheat night for me since I had decided to eat rice, but I didn’t expect that much gluten. Lesson learned for next time.

We started with the Yakimeshi, Japanese fried rice. It was blander than the Cantonese-style fried rice we Peruvians are so used to.

Yakimeshi

Yakimeshi

After some minutes our first board arrived, with the following rolls:

  • Conchitas: Japanese cucumber, avocado and scallop cebiche with crunchy trout.
  • Ebitem: tempura prawns and cream cheese inside, avocado and sweet sauce outside.
  • Acevichado: crunchy prawns, avocado, cebiche-style sauce.
  • Atacutado: a mix of beans and rice with plantain, cream cheese, and fried prawns inside, breaded and covered with salsa criolla
  • New fusion: can’t remember what was inside (probably crumbed prawns and avocado), and crab meat on top.

From this lot my favourites were Conchitas and Acevichado.

Conchitas, Ebitem, Acevichado, Atacutado, New fusion

Conchitas, Ebitem, Acevichado, Atacutado, New fusion

Board number two contained:

  • Tartar langostinos: crumbed prawns and avocado inside, prawns, capsicum, and a medium hot & sour sauce on top.
  • Extravaganza: prawns and avocado inside, covered with salmon flambéed with butter.
  • Tiradito: prawns and avocado with lime dressing.
  • Acevichado: crunchy prawns, avocado, cebiche-style sauce.

The Tiradito was hands down the best roll of the night for me, followed by the Extravaganza.

Tartar langostinos, Extravaganza, Tiradito, Acevichado

Tartar langostinos, Extravaganza, Tiradito, Acevichado

Finally, the Lomo saltado roll that they left out of our second board arrived (I guess because it was a hot one). I think it had some of the beef/onion/tomato stir-fried inside, perhaps with some potato chips, and each piece was covered with a little chunk of beef, more onions and tomatoes. Not my favourite way of eating lomo saltado.

Lomo saltado

Lomo saltado

The all-you-can-eat offer includes sweet rolls, too, with cream cheese and candied pecans inside, and fruit (banana, mango or strawberry), passionfruit syrup, and sesame seeds on top. It didn’t sound like my kind of dessert, and even if it did we were too full to keep going.

It was a great catch-up with my dreamfriends Karinna and Mauricio (we’re diehard fans of Dream Theater). It was funny to see how we’ve changed with time (read: how old we are) because years ago we would have met at our favourite metal bar and drank insane amounts of beer.

Tony Roma’s
Av. Santa Cruz 914
Miraflores, Lima, Perú
(511) 441 1692

Oceanika
Av. Paseo del Bosque 529
San Borja, Lima, Perú
(511) 372 7829


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