Peru has one of the oldest, richest and most diverse culinary traditions in the world which dates back 5000 years. Recently on our trip to Germany, we had our first taste of Peruvian cuisine, and loved it, so we were delighted to be invited to sample Chef Carlos' exquisite 4-course menu, which will showcase modern Peruvian cuisine to complement the hotel's elegant setting. He will also be preparing a special menu for Sunday Roast.
The menus will feature traditional, high-quality organic products specially flown-in from Peru such as quinoa, kiwicha, chirimoya, lucuma, amaranto, camu camu and Peruvian aji chillies to give diners an authentic dining experience. Chef Carlos is also a culinary professor at the Universidad San Ignacio de Loyola as well as Institut Paul Bocuse in Peru, so we definitely learnt a thing or two about Peruvian cuisine from him. During our brief chat, he gave us an insight into the history behind the food he served today and also some fascinating facts about Peru.
Peruvian music, our entertainment for the afternoon
Pisco, the national drink of Peru. The Pisco featured here is from Tacama, the oldest vineyard in South America.
To start, we were served an amuse bouche of octopus with olive sauce. The baby octopus, which reminded me of the Japanese chuka idako had a lovely, crunchy texture.
Next came the trio of appetizers, namely the Quinoa tabbouleh, Causa Rellena, and White cream ceviche. Over the last couple of years, quinoa which originated from Peru, Chile and Bolivia has risen in popularity especially as a health food. The quinoa, served with crispy cheese and avocado mousse, was light and fluffy, with a delicate nutty flavour, and the balsamic vinaigrette gave it an appetizing tang.
Quinoa tabbouleh, balsamic vinaigrette
According to Chef Carlos, causa rellena is a Peruvian street food, originating from the 1879 war between Peru and Chile. The women collected potatoes, and created this and offered it to the soldiers fighting "for the cause". Made from mashed yellow potatoes, and avocado, it is served cold and the version we had was topped with tuna and acevichado sauce.
Possibly one of the most famous Peruvian dishes we know of is ceviche. Ceviche is usually made using lime, however Chef Carlos' version uses tumbo, also known as banana passionfruit. He marinates the fish (he used flounder) and serves it with bruleed sweet potatoes and corn.
White cream ceviche
For main course, guests can choose from three options - Aji de Gallina (chicken), Anticuchos de Pescado (fish) or Risotto a la Huancaina (beef).
Hubby had the fish skewers, which is marinated with red chilli, vinegar and soy sauce. Chef Carlos used swordfish, which was firm yet juicy. This was served with grilled potatoes, Peruvian onion salad, and cumin-sauteed corn. I had some and it was indeed delicious!
Anticuchos de Pescado
Meanwhile, I had the risotto, which is one of Chef Carlos' signature dishes, served with huancaina sauce, made from aji pepper, cottage cheese, milk and crackers. The risotto was extremely rich and creamy, and was topped with classic lomo saltado , which is Peruvian-Chinese dish of stir fry marinated sirloin strips. The beef was very tender and still pink in the centre, much to my delight.
Aji de Gallina - spicy creamed chicken, mashed potatoes, Parmesan cheese, pecans, olive sauce
Dessert was a delightful combination of mazamorra morada, and quinoa and rice pudding. Mazamorra morada is a popular Peruvian dessert made from purple corn and fruit and thickened using corn starch. Rice pudding is Hubby's favorite childhood dessert, and this definitely did not disappoint. Chef Carlos tells us that he added some white quinoa into the rice pudding, topped it with mazamorra morada and glazed fruits.
The four-course Peruvian dinner will be available from Nov 26 to Dec 4 at The Library and is priced from RM250 nett (dinner - from 7pm) and Sunday Roast (from 12pm) from RM198 nett. For reservations, please call +60 3 2142 8000 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Location: The Library, Level 1, The Ritz-Carlton Kuala Lumpur, 168 Jalan Imbi, 55100 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
Tel: 03-2142 8000
GPS Coordinates: 3.146901, 101.715438
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