Twenty years since it first opened, the world-renowned Astrid & Gastón restaurant is set to move from its traditional Miraflores home to a historic mansion in Lima’s San Isidro neighborhood. The restaurant is the “jewel in the crown” of Gastón Acurio, widely acclaimed as the international face of Peruvian gourmet cuisine, and the move marks a change in perspective for the country’s most famous chef. It was in 1994 that Gastón opened an upscale French restaurant on the quiet Calle Cantuarias in Lima’s Miraflores district, still freshly returned to Peru after studying gastronomy in Paris with his wife, Astrid Gutsche. Together, they made the bold decision to open their own restaurant, Astrid & Gastón. Two decades later, a complete change of menu (from French to Peruvian international cuisine) and worldwide recognition (winning the award for best Latin American Restaurant and making the San Pellegrino list of top 50 in the world) have marked the incredible transformation of the restaurant, a backdrop to the burgeoning popularity of chef Gastón and Peruvian gastronomy.
The whole story has unfolded in the original location. But this March Astrid & Gastón will bid farewell to its Miraflores locale and open its doors at La Casa Moreyra in San Isidro. The move is a big one, literally, La Casa Moreyra is significantly more spacious than the modest mansion on Calle Cantuarias. More importantly, Gastón has ambitious plans for the new estate, where he intends to create a space fit for the Peruvian “avant-garde”, mixing modernity and tradition in the hacienda. His cutting-edge restaurant will maintain the history of the building, while styling the decoration and ambiance according to contemporary taste. In the central gardens of the estate will be the main dining area with seating for about sixty patrons and the bar, which will have a more casual atmosphere. The terrace on the second floor will be reserved for private events, and there will also be rooms for private gatherings that accommodate about twenty-five guests. Along with chefs and servers, the restaurant will employ producers of various products like award-winning coffee and potatoes directly from the Andes.
Before the big move, however, the restaurant has prepared a special tasting menu for January 2014 that pays homage to its long history with a signature dish from each year, from 1994’s “Foie Gras Times” to 2005’s “From Peru to the World” showcasing “Street food ceviche” up until 2013’s aptly titled “The Farewell”, featuring the Amazon fruit camu camu.
In addition to this menu, Gastón, also known for his business and marketing prowess, released a rather heartfelt letter (featured on the website), which reflects on the journey that has brought Astid & Gastón to its new home in San Isidro.
As Peruvian (and Latin American) cuisine continues to evolve and rise in the international gastronomic ranks, there’s no doubt that Astrid&Gastón will be somewhere at the forefront, whether from a quiet street in Miraflores or a revamped estate in Lima’s commercial district. We will certainly keep an eye out for what’s next on Gastón’s plate!