Sometimes its good to indulge in something without having any knowledge about the same. Being a food blogger, its assumed that we are this know-it-all breed when it comes to food, but that’s not really the case. We are passionate about food no doubt and leave no opportunity to learn about a new dish, a new cuisine, we are constantly learning , that’s who we are! The same happened to me when I got an invite to preview the Peruvian pop up at Swissotel. Armed with zero knowledge about the cuisine , I landed up at Café Swiss on a beautiful winter afternoon to sample some Peruvian food.The fact that I was meeting all my favourite people at the hotel was an added bonus.
The menu comprised of snacks, salads, soup along with the main courses and dessert. Peruvian cuisine is influenced by a variety of other mainstream cuisine and it does borrow from the cuisines brought in by its immigrants from parts of Europe, mainly Spanish and Italian , also Asian influence from Chinese and Japanese cuisine. The original menu has been created by Chef Erika Santa Maria of Swissotel, Lima but developed here by the very dedicated Chef Pranay of Café swiss along with his team.
We started our meal with a beautiful layered potato, avocado and chicken salad which Chef Pranay told me is always served at the start of a Peruvian meal. Subtly flavoured, it acts as a palate cleanser. We moved on to a few other entrees like Cebiche de Champignon – a pickled mushroom dish along with Cebiche de Pescado – lemon marinated fish served along with some corn and sweet potatoes. The success of this dish depends on the freshness of the fish and full marks to Chef for delivering something so wonderful. The little apprehensive me when served anything raw , went in for a second helping!
The Jalea Mixta – deep fried sea food and Antichichus de Pollo – Chicken skewers came in next, one could clearly see the Japanese influence. Crispy crunchy delight! Aji Amarillo – a kind of yellow pepper grown in Peru is at the heart of most of the dishes. The names may sound a bit alien but trust me once u taste these dishes , you will find so much similarity with the kind of food we eat. Many common ingredients but a different technique to use it, that’s the essence of food and how it binds everyone. The Aguadito de gallina – a hearty chicken soup with rice and potatoes flavoured with coriander was a comforting meal in itself.
The rest of the meal was equally delicious, simple and yet so nice.Pescado a la Chorillana – fish cooked with onion, tomatoes and oregano and Lomo Saltado – chicken cooked with onion tomatoes and soy sauce served on a bed of French fries! For the vegetarians – Pimentoes Rellenos con quinoa – Capsicum filled with quinoa layered potato , avocado is a great option.
Our Peruvian lunch ended with a lovely dessert platter which consisted of Arroz con leche – a rice dessert, definitely a twin of our very dear Paayesh. There was Crema Volteada Peruana – Crème caramel with quinoa and Maracuya cheese cake.
The Peruvian Pop up is the brain child of Mr. Marco Saxer , brilliantly executed by his team here. The food is new and delicious and definitely worth a try. It is on for a week from today and dishes are available on a la carte basis. Thank you Team Swiss on behalf of Kolkata Food Bloggers for this experience.