Monday, October 22, 2012

The Real Peruvian Experience

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 As far as Food Trends go, Peruvian food has been the 'it' food of the year and after reading some travel stories on pisco sours and ceviche served fresh from the harbours, I knew it was a country I would love to visit. Plus they have good surf, so I know my husband would be keen.
In Cape Town we are lucky enough to have the only authentic Peruvian restaurant in South Africa, Keenwa, and last weekend, my husband and I tried it out.



The restaurant is situated in De Waterkant, between Bree and Buitengraght. Upstairs is a newly done-up Pisco Bar, so, of course, we tried a traditional Pisco Sours to ease into the evening.
The bar is beautifully bright with interesting, colourful patterns painted on the roof, down the walls and onto the floor. It was a friday night and there was a DJ cranking out some tunes. 

pisco sours

pisco bar

pisco bar

*NOTE: Pisco Sours are fairly strong and bound to get you feeling rowdy

Back downstairs, we settled in to order our dinner. The owner, German, is very inviting and chats with various customers as they arrive. A new chef, Patricio (I think) just arrived three weeks ago, straight from the North of Peru and he has loads in store for the next couple of months, such as wine and food pairing evenings and some new dishes for summer. When I have more information, I'll post about it, and I'm super keen to try one of the pairing evenings.

There was so much to choose from, and so, in order to avoid missing out, instead of just having a starter each, we had The Peruvian Platter (R140) with four different dishes to start.
It contained the Tiradito Classico (my favourite) – thinly slices fish in spicy lime juice; Ceviche – cubes of fish marinated in lime juice with chillies and sweet potatoes; Pulpo Al Olivo – Octopus served on a delicious black olive sauce alongside drunken prawns (they are grilled in Pisco); and the Causa de Pollo – Mashed potatoes with limes and chillies topped with a chicken, avocado and home-made mayonnaise. 
complimentary toasted bread with sauce

Peruvian Platter

We ordered some Peruvian beer to wash down our meals. German imports Cusquena, which is a lightish tasting beer, which goes well with the food. 

Peruvian beer
 All of them were excellent and the ceviche bursts with flavour in your mouth, with the zing of the lime and chillies. The fish used was Angelfish, for both the Ceviche and the Tiradito. All four dishes were quite different, and the octopus was another favourite of mine. Although, would order all of them again in an instant. It's quite a nice things to have even as a main course or to share with someone if you're not particularly hungry.

For mains, I ordered the Quinoa Atamalada (R115) – Quinoa made in a tamal style served with grilled scallops and my husband had the Tacu Tacu (R95) – Rice and bean mixed together served with a choice 3 toppings, beef with Anticucho sauce, chicken with spicy chimichurri. We were both thrilled with our meals, but quite full.

Tacu Tacu

Quinoa Atamalada with scallops


This however didn't stop my sweet-toothed husband from ordering dessert. He tried the traditional Picarones. They're only made on Friday and Saturday as the whole process is quite artisanal. Basically, they are 'doughnuts' made from butternut and sweet potato dough with sugar-cane honey.

Picarones

It was a great night – we enjoyed the casual atmosphere, good food and the cultural journey our palates took. We will definitely go back, and hopefully soon...

Now, to start saving for an actual trip to Peru...

Details:
50 Waterkant Street
021 419 2633
http://www.keenwa.co.za


Wine Pairing Evening:
Book for this Thursday!!!

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