Replicating Peruvian Cuisine abroad: Two New Restaurants in Europe

food culture in peru

Discover this peruvian restaurants. Delicious!

Peruvian food is on the march! As recently reported in UK newspaper The Independent Peruvian cuisine is going global. Nick Curtis reported that “Native chefs … are reworking the nation’s classic dishes and its cornucopia of fresh ingredients for gourmet palates. International gastronomes such as Denmark’s René Redzepi and Spain’s Ferran Adrià sing the praises of Peruvian food, and Peruvian restaurants are springing up across the Americas, Spain and London.”, marking just the latest in a series of commentaries charting the booming exportation of Peruvian cuisine.

At Aracari, being big fans of our country’s beautiful cuisine, we can’t help but oblige. Being a well-travelled bunch we thought we’d try out 2 brand new Peruvian restaurants in Europe: Tradición Moderna in Barcelona and Ceviche in London, to see if they matched up to the challenge of replicating Peruvian cuisine abroad.

Tradición Moderna
C/ Castillejos, 397.
Barcelona, Spain
Tel. 686 220 200

Travel Planner Cécile visited Tradición Moderna in Barcelona. She said that the restaurant was a modern and simple take on Peruvian cuisine, nothing too heavy, a mix of traditional and modern fusion, and with minimalist decor. She visited with her family, and emphasised that the food here is very child-friendly.

On whether Tradicion Moderna is a good representation of Peruvian cuisine, she said “it is becoming very well known in the Peruvian community in Barcelona, and everyone who comes here for lunch or dinner end up very happy” adding that the “service is very efficient”. They ate ceviche, lomo saltado and tamales, all of which retained the familiarity of Peruvian flavour, she told me.

Ceviche
17 Frith Street
SoHo
London W1D 4RG
http://cevicheuk.com

After being invited by owner Martin Morales, I myself visited Ceviche in London during a trip home to the UK. Ceviche has been receiving rave reviews in the press, the Wall Street Journal called it a “gastronomical dream” while positive reviews have also ran in the Financial Times and the Guardian. “I could be your worst critic” I jested to Martin over the phone, food being one of the key reasons that I live in Peru…

Now, I could go on about how the fish isn’t quite the same as Lima, the chilli just doesn’t have the same kick, the lime isn’t as fresh and zesty, but that wouldn’t be fair. The truth is that Ceviche has done a remarkable job of bringing authentic Peruvian food to the UK.

This starts with the atmosphere: a laid back and traditional interior with the walls sporting colourful posters of Peruvian popular musicians, theatre in Lima and an array of other Peru-evoking memorabilia. The cumbia and salsa music in the background added just the right rhythm to this ambience.

The menu was a welcome surprise, covering a wide range of Peruvian favourites, with a selection of ceviches, anticuchos, causas and other popular main dishes, as well as desserts. Martin told me that they have gone to great effort to import vital ingredients, such as the aji (yellow chilli), quinoa and yucca, to ensure that everything is as close as possible to Peru. The restaurant also adopts the very Peruvian idea of ordering a number of different plates and sharing them between friends.

So, as my friend John and I supped on our complimentary Pisco sours (thanks Martin) I chose a few familiar looking dishes so that we could put them to the test. And the taste was excellent, the ceviche had the same zing as can be found on in a limeño cevicheria, while the arroz con mariscos (rice with seafood, kind of like paella) melts in your mouth just as it does in Peru. The fried Yucca with huancaina sauce (mild and creamy cheese and chilli sauce) were also close representations as was the causa with prawns.

By 1.30pm this Soho hotspot was buzzing, riding on the wave of good publicity that Ceviche has received. We (I) couldn’t help but order one more plate, Pulpo al Olivo, chunks of octopus marinated in lime and topped with black olive sauce. Although I counted myself lucky to be on my way back to Lima where this type of delicacy is commonplace, this divine combination induced just the same tangy flavour as it does in Peru … with this quality of cuisine on offer part of me toyed with the idea of staying in the UK!


Although it is extremely difficult to export a culinary tradition that relies on fresh and unique ingredients, and that is firmly based on a quite unique mix of history, culture and tradition, both Tradición Moderna and Ceviche have done an excellent job of translating Peruvian classics in European cities. If you get the chance then these venues are more than worth a visit to sample what Peruvian cuisine is like. Also keep an eye out for new restaurants springing up, Lima London in Fitzrovia by chef Virgilio Martinez is set to be a hit while Gaston Acurio is rumoured to be opening one of his hit T’anta restaurants in Barcelona.

If you can’t handle anything other than the real thing then come to Peru and embark on one of our Peruvian culinary experiences.

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