There’s an exciting feeling you get when you’re on your way to one of the world’s 50 best restaurants – it’s a feeling of anticipation and excitement for what you’re about to enioy.
So as I negotiated the relentless and frenetic Lima traffic and amazingly found my way into a cab and buckled my seatbelt I had the impression by the fact that my taxi driver had a big smile on his face, and was nodding furiously in the rear-view mirror when he asked where we were going – ‘Astrid y Gaston’, that this restaurant wasn’t just going to be another one of the great dining experiences that I’ve enjoyed so far, but that this was going to be an amazing experience. Amazing is a strong word I use, but Astrid y Gaston is a legendary Peruvian restaurant, and a top ranked one at that among some of the world’s best, so anything with a Michelin star in my view deserves nothing less.
So I’m sitting and waiting in the back of the taxi, and when the Lima traffic had passed, and we were still waiting I prompted the driver to get going, and then he looked at me with a confused look and said to me in a mellow-toned english ‘but aren’t you waiting for a lover to come with you?’ to which I replied in my Aussie accent ‘No, sadly not.’ He then said something in Spanish which I didn’t quite understand but I suspect went something along the lines of ‘that’s life’, and with a shrug of the shoulders he turned the steering wheel to the left in an almost fun-like way, and off we went to find this famed restaurant.
Driving out of Miraflores we entered the area of Saint Isidro.
So after a 15 minute drive weaving my way in the back of a Liman taxi through their back streets, and seeing row upon row of Spanish colonial villas, and after literally competing for every square inch of Lima roadspace in what I like to describe as a mix of Fandango dance-meets suburban street rally I finally reach the restaurant, a little up-tempo, but nonetheless in one piece ready for the dining experience ahead of me.
There’s something to be said for restaurants which have been set-up within an old, or historical building as it adds something different to the dining experience that’s rarely felt otherwise. Astrid & Gaston is set in a Spanish colonial mansion.
As we approached this grand colonial era mansion which the restaurant was situated in I was reminded as I entered and saw the Colonial Spanish that a lot of history could be found within its walls, and if these walls could talk what a story it would tell. But acknowledging that this was not what I was here to do, and with no time to waste, as I was meeting some dining companions at this restaurant, I hurriedly climbed the stairs and was greeted by the Maitre D’.
The ‘character’ of Astrid y Gaston is very much Peruvian, and what made this dining experience unique is the story that it told of a by-gone Spanish colonial era, mixed with Asian fusion, and indigenous elements of Peru – from the Amazon jungle, right through to the coast of Lima, and beyond. The 15 course degustation was truly the very best of Peru on the plate, and having savouring every moment of it I’ve decided to share the full course menu, which I rarely ever do, but nonetheless felt was worth doing.
What I enjoyed on this very special occasion with wonderful people can only be described as truly something most enjoyable and very gratifying. I hope this degustation dissertation brings out the true flavours in your mind as it did when it came to my pallette.
I give Astrid & Gaston a 9 out of 10 in total for the dining experience.
Here is the full degustation menu.
• The indecent bed; the forbidden love
Fishermen empanada, stuffed blue potato with lamb, sea urchin toast.
• From de freezing waters of the Pacific
Bay scallops and apple.
• From the city that carries cebiche on it’s heart
Cebiche of all bloods.
• From this Lima that falls in love with everyone
Tiradito Lima – Sichuan.
• From our Cantonese heritage, the chifa
• From our Okinawan heritage, the Nikkei cuisine
Sancochao dumpling and pepian.
• Catch of the day, a tribute to Chucuito
River shrimp, menestrón emulsion
chupin sauce, lima beans.
• From this Lima with no walls
that welcomes all with affection
Rabbit in Lima curry, quinua jasmine.
• Anticucho de lengua
Beef tongue skewer, caramelized
arracacha, picantería sauces.
• From that Lima cuisine of all bloods,
all corners, all flavors
Roast short rib stew and his faithful companion: chaufa rice.
Chicha de jora sorbet, coca, quinoa and
• La Papa
Potato, saffron, Kumquat, honey, huacatay,
manjar blanco y Porcón Mushrooms
• El cajacho
Cajamarca chocolate mousse, nougat,
cacao nibs, yuzu and lemon.
Astrid & Gaston