Why Our First Latin American Meal Was Anything But Ordinary
We have not been to Peru (yet). So, we have obviously not eaten the local cuisine. That said, we kept our expectations guarded when we recently visited Lima, the Peruvian restaurant in BKC, Mumbai helmed by Michelin starred chef Atul Kochhar. The reason being Peruvian cuisine is not something we eat out very often. For that matter, finding a Latin American restaurant in a city buzzing with Asian and European restaurants, is rare.
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The food of Peru is mostly cooked with native chilli peppers called Aji, which in turn lend a distinctive flavour and colour to the cuisine. We are told that the same are imported among other ingredients such as the smoked chorizo, a variety of beans and nuts et al. Their Churrasco grill is imported from Brazil too.
We started our first-ever Latin American meal with Chorizo Taco, a brilliant smoky pork sausage tucked in a taco, which we gobbled up in no time. The vegetarian counterpart, Tacu Tacu was equally crunchy and delicious. This was followed by the Seafood Ceviche, Indian sea bass cured with lime, ginger and a hint of cinnamon. The wonderfully cured sweet potato in orange reduction, and the crunch of the Peruvian chulpe corn and beetroot crispies tied the entire dish together. There is nothing known as a vegetarian ceviche, but Lima makes it possible with a Watermelon and Feta Salad drenched in Balsamic vinegar. Smart, we say!
Our next course featured Tuna Tiradito - raw fish cut like sashimi and considered a lighter version of ceviche. For the uninitiated, Peruvian cuisine has a distinct Japanese and even Korean influences, owing to a huge immigrant population. The distinct taste of the yellow chillies and crunch from the chia seed made all the difference. For salad, we tried the multi-coloured quinoa dressed in a passion fruit leche. Not a fan of quinoa, however the texture won us over. For mains, we tried the Chicken Lever in chimichurri and Gochu Chang Chicken, which was sweet and had a distinctly charred flavour. The Prawn Limo Chilli was a star on its own for its sheer colour and varied texture. The sticky chocolate dessert was adequately bitter and brought our meal to a happy end.
The author was invited for a tasting session by the restaurant.