I’ve had this place in my radar for a long, long time. A few months ago my friend Rale (yes! the same Rale who introduced me to the Indian banana chips and Mancora) told me his favourite Peruvian restaurant was El Amigo. I had to find out if he was right.
El Amigo has that family owned restaurant vibe of the many menú restaurants in Lima. A few icons of our culture adorn the place. The service is warm and friendly, and that the non-Spanish speaking staff pronounce the dish names perfectly.
The menu is not super long but covers all bases (note: the printed menu has more items than the blackboard). Cebiche and a couple of hot dishes are enough to keep me happy.
There’s also hot and cold beverages, as well as Peruvian beer and the popular Inca Kola.
The specials board has a couple of dishes Monday to Friday and several more on Sundays.
The first time I was there I arrived too early for cebiche. I ordered lomo saltado (stir-fried beef with tomatoes, onions and potatoes) instead, plus a garden salad. It was a good lomo saltado, although the meat felt like it had been tenderised. The best part were the potatoes, hand-cut and soaked in the sauce as I like them.
Lomo saltado ($14)
The ají (chilli sauce) was phenomenal and the simple salad was a good balance for the carb-loaded meal.
The next time I went with Alvaro and we shared a bunch of dishes. I finally got to try the cebiche (diced fish cooked in lime juice, Spanish onion and fresh coriander, served with sweet potato and corn). I find the challenge to make a good cebiche in Australia is not just the fish but also the limes, because limes here are usually not as sour as Peruvian ones. Having said that, I enjoyed El Amigo’s cebiche, and would definitely order it again.
Our next dish was anticuchos (Quechua for ‘cut stew meats’, marinated ox heart served with potatoes, corn and huacatay chilli). The heart morsels were tender and the seasoning was very tasty but also very salty.
The arroz chaufa de mariscos (Peruvian-style seafood fried rice) grabbed Alvaro’s attention so we tried that one, too. It was good (hint: any Peruvian rice-based dish is 10x better if you pour leftover leche de tigre, i.e. cebiche “juice” over it) but I think long-grain rice makes better fried rice.
Arroz chaufa de mariscos ($14)
There are items that you can grab and go, like empanadas, alfajores and tres leches. Rale and Ana say their picarones (Peruvian-style donuts) are to die for.
35E Ross St
Forest Lodge NSW 2037
0402 938 007