Since arriving in Peru I’ve been fortunate to enjoy a lot of interesting food and flavours. The culinary experience so far has been a truly memorable one. There have been a few experiences which have been somewhat ordinary, or mediocre – but I guess that comes down to my ignorance, or my laziness when researching the restaurant, or cafe beforehand.
Wherever you go in the world to dine you know that based on the experience it will bring out different emotions – (i.e. what you’re eating, the atmosphere , the people you’re dining with etc). Too often the people you’re travelling with can influence your choices based on their own experiences too, or their own ideas of what makes, or doesn’t make for a great dining experience.
So why am I being all philosophical all of a sudden, and not just ‘cutting to the chase’ – so to speak, and giving you all what you’ve all come here to enjoy? It’s because the restaurant I’m reviewing here – Maido – was sold to me by my fellow travellers as being perhaps one of Peru’s best, and the general consensus I’ve felt after first putting my name down in a spreadsheet to go and dine at this restaurant, and then to actually dine – is that people on my global tour seem to be MAD – mad about Maido.
There’s something to be said about a restaurant which has stairs to greet the diner upon entry. It’s almost as if you’re making one last climb before arriving at your destination – the summit, or in the case of Maido – the very cool, and artistic Peruvo-Neikiian dining room.
As the Maitre D’ showed us to our table in what seemed like a smallish dining room, I was amazed at the artwork which the restaurant incorporated into its decor – as I looked towards the ceiling all I could see were ropes hanging, which seemed unusual for a restaurant, but not surprising given the atrium-like feel of the building, and the high ceilings, and what they were trying to achieve – a more intimate feel.
Taking a seat at the table I noted the sushi-sashimi bar off to my right, and could see beautiful fish being prepared before a number of diners eating a more casual dinner. I like the feel of this place already. There’s a certain feel to this place that has that wow factor, seemingly interwoven through the threads of the rope hanging above us, that also gives it a casual feel.
The table we were seated at was both close the kitchen, and the sushi bar, which made for fast and rapid table service. One apperitif to start the night off ahould be OK – and a negroni it was. Now with the pallet opened up, it was time to begin our 11 course degustation.
The meal from beginning to end was simply stunning. There is something to be said about Peruvian-Nikkeian dining, as it simply brings out flavours I never would have associated with Japanese food, yet its paired up so well that you have to remind yourself that this isn’t a standalone cuisine, but rather a beautiful marriage of two cultures making for a truly enjoyable dining experience.
Noting how good the food was during our.deguststion – just before dessert we opted to also try a few sushi courses, which were served on beautiful Peruvian platters.
Here is what I enjoyed in the 11 course, degustation menu, with matching wines.
Maido Degustation Menu
Seaweed tempura, sweet potato cream, squid in lime fermented betroot, lime gel.
Sushi rice cracker, avocado, trout belly, pnzu gel. Aji negro chawanmushi.
Sarandaja cream, mackerel, shallots, limo pepper, chulpi corn, nikkei leche de tigre
Squid and sea snail cau cau, camotillo cream, crispy white quinoa.
Steamed bread, fsh and octopus sausage, pickled vegetables, Japanese mustard, native potatoes.
Catch of the day.
Catacaos de camarones
Green rice tamale, sauteed river prawns, creole sauce, chupe reduction.
Cassava soba, tenkatsu, vongole dashi.
Catch of the day, sudado reduction, seaweed.
Beef short rid 50 hours
Camotillo potato cream, crispy rice, cushuro, purple corn powder, black garlic
Chiclayo rice, atico sea urchins, avoacdo cream, wan yi, baby corn.
Tofu cheesecake ice cream, bread sand, sweet potato; apple with wakame, camu camu, taperiba and burgundy grape tapiocas, soy milk.
Granadilla with mandarin sorbet, mucilage foam, cacao nibs, lucuma ice cream, raspberries.