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Mayta Peruvian Cuisine, Lan Kwai Fong, Central

Mayta is the latest edition to the Dining Concept Chain, which has taken over the space formerly occupied by Blue Smoke BBQ. Mayta is located in the heart of Lan Kwai Fong, the restaurant is quite spacious, the vibe is very laid back and when we were there for lunch they had pretty cool music in the background.

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We went for lunch, the set menu is quite a good deal to be honest. Chef’s buffet section for HKD118 which consists of soup of the day, ceviche station, salads and desserts. For an extra HKD50 you can order some mains. We however, wanted a la carte.

The boys started with the ceviche – classic – sea bass, red onion, choclo, cancha, glazed sweet potato with classic leche de tigre (HKD158). The boys absolutely loved it, it was light, refreshing and they absolutely adored the sauce!

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I couldn’t go past the pan con chicharron – steamed buns, crispy pork, rococo chill aioli, fried sweet potato and pickles (HKD138) – OH MY! These babies were incredibly, soft steamed buns, the crispy pork was to die for – it was just heavenly! Pretty sure I could have eaten all of them at once!

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We really enjoyed the Aji De Gallina (HKD198) – crispy pan chicken breast, yellow chili sauce, baby potatoes, sautéed spinach, quail egg and black olives. The chicken was incredibly tender, the hello chili sauce was delicious. One of my favourite mains I have to say.

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The cazuela criolla (HKD178) – veal cheek stew, red wine, yellow chili beans, baby carrots, piquillo peppers, crispy potato and pickles were also good but bit on the heavy side. It’s definitely a winters dish. The veal cheeks were tender that it melted in your mouth.

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Being the greedy diners that we are, we thought we would order one more thing. In hindsight we should have probably ordered another serving of the pork buns, however, A could not stop suggesting the Arroz Con Pato (HKD188) – beer cilantro rice, duck leg confit, choclo, piquillo peppers and baby carrots. The confit duck was not as tender as we had hoped. It was a little dry unfortunately. However, the duck breast was tender and delicious. The cilantro rice was nice but not for me. It was a very colourful dish though!

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Service was polite and friendly and our waitress knew all the dishes on the menu which was good! ‘The Mother’ came back with his colleagues a week later to have the buffet and he said that it was definitely good value.

GA’s ratings: 8 / 10

Mayta Peruvian Cuisine

3/F Grand Progress Building

15 – 16 Lan Kwai Fong,

Central, Hong Kong

Ph: +852 2790 0928

Chicha, Central, Hong Kong

Chicha is the new Peruvian restaurant from the Concept Creation’s Group which also owns Frites and Tapeo. I have never had Peruvian food before so wasn’t sure what to expect. All I knew is that the food was tapas like, i.e to share and that was pretty much it. Chicha can be found in the old location of Chez Patrick which is tucked away at the bottom of Peel Street just off Hollywood Road. It’s a rather small restaurant and can be extremely loud at times making it hard to hear the conversation with your fellow diners.

We were a little overwhelmed with the menu, so many choices we weren’t sure what to order so we decided to have the tasting plate and asked the chef to order for us.

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We started with the sea bass ceviche – it was deliciously fresh and fragrant and the sauce was absolutely delightful that SK cleaned it right up. I am pretty sure if no one was looking, she would have picked up the plate and licked it! The colour is quite striking also!

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Next came the seared scallops, cooked to perfection.

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The fried chicken we absolutely adored! So much that we asked for another serving. Deliciously crunchy and tender and soft on the inside.

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The miniature buns stuffed with pork belly was another favourite. Juicy, melt-in-your mouth pork perfectly ‘sandwiched’ between the soft buns, the tangy spicy sauce was a wonderful complement. I would have happily eaten half a dozen on my own.

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The Japanese inspired skewers – chicken and cod. The grilled cod with ponzu and rocoto chili aioli was to die for! Silky smooth and incredible. The Chicken with aji panca was good but the cod was definitely the winner out of the two.

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The crab claw I didn’t have, but I was told that it was a little underwhelming.

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The tacos were probably one of the best tacos I have had in Hong Kong. Crispy light taco shells filled with lots of meat or fish with crunchy vegetables and spicy citrus y salsas – YUM!

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Last but not least – the moment of truth – Spanish style roast suckling pig – OMG! Two serving of this and boy, we were stuffed! Some thought that the skin was really tough and hard to eat, but the pieces that I ate seemed ok and was actually quite tasty. The pork itself was good albeit FATTY! Some of the fat to meat ratio was just unbelievable – I had a mini heart attack just looking at it. With it came some lovely shredded cabbage and fried potato balls.

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We were all too full for dessert – I would have liked some but my eyes would have been bigger than my stomach. The food overall I thought was delicious, especially the pork buns, loved the fish skewers and the roast suckling pig. I can see what all the fuss is about – readers of Timeout Hong Kong voted Chicha to be the ‘Best New Restaurant of 2012’. The food is good and tasty, what I don’t like about it is the tightness and cramp-ness of the restaurant, but I guess this is Hong Kong and the noise… the noise… it was so hard to hear peoples conversation without yelling at the same time!

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It was fun and they had some yummy sounding cocktails which I can’t wait to try for next time. It was definitely lovely catching up with all of you – let’s do it again soon!

GA’s ratings: 7.5 / 10

Chicha

G/F, 26 Peel Street

Central, Hong Kong

Ph; +852 2561 3336

Morena, Surry Hills

Morena is a relatively new restaurant in Surry Hills, where the old Battery Seafood used to be. It serves Latin America food with a strong Peruvian influence. Now I have never had Peruvian food before, so wasn’t quite sure what to expect. Head chef and co-owner is Alejandro Saravia, who used to run his own company ‘A taste of Peru’ which is a demonstration / cooking class of Peruvian Cuisine. Alejandro has also worked at Heston Blumenthal’s Fat Duck and Les Ambassadeurs (Paris), Pier Restaurant, Salon Blanc, Opera Bar and Sails Restaurant at Lavender (Lavender Bay) in Sydney.

The place was empty when we arrived for dinner at 7.30pm, we were the only customers there but by 8.30pm, there were other diners in the room, three other tables perhaps?

There’s a six course degustation on offer but we both opt for a la carte.

We started with amuse bouche, mandarin ceviche, it was deliciously light and refreshing.

The bread is baked on premises daily, a warm round roll with quinoa with coriander seed and black pepper infused Italian olive oil. It was tasty and so hard to stop at just one.

M started with Tamal Verde, Peruvian style green tamal with confit duck Maryland and shallot and coriander salsa. The duck was tender and succulent, the vegetarian tamal was quite lovely and complemented the duck well.

I opt for the Andean Garden, desiree potato and huacatay gnocchi, poached royal blue potato and kestrel potato crisps on lima bean puree with quinoa soil, broad beans and heirloom carrots.

Oh my, what a pretty dish! Three different types of potatoes are used here. The deisree and huacatay gnocchi was soft and pillow-y. The slices of royal blue potato and kestrel chips all had different flavours and textures. I certainly enjoyed the quinoa salad, the yellow heirloom carrots gave it a nice sweetness to the dish.

For mains, M had the Trigo Andino, Andean style barley with queso fresco, baby peas and heirloom carrots. Very similar to risotto, this dish was quite heavy and very filling.

I couldn’t go past the Lomo saltado a lo Morena, 300 grams fed charcoal beef striploin served lomo saltado style with baked Peruvian yellow potatoes and huancaina sauce.

I did ask for my beef to be cooked slightly longer, but it was a little tough and dry. The huancaina sauce, I didn’t enjoy as much, it was rich and too creamy for my liking. The potatoes were great though, crunchy on the outside and soft on the inside. It was a relatively large serving, unfortunately I didn’t finish this. I still do think Porteno does the best meat and that chimichurri sauce is excellent.

We were both getting quite full at this stage, we shared a dessert, marshmallow de incaberry, incaberry marshmallow, strawberry gel, purple corn jelly, incaberry dust with white chocolate mousse. I loved the marshmallow, and the white chocolate mousse was a wonderful complement. The soft jelly however was incredibly sour that it was over powering!

Service was definitely friendly, our waitress knew everything on the menu and explained each dish to us. The food was nice overall but not sure if I would return any time soon. Each dish was beautifully presented and plated but it just lacked something for me, no wow factor or punch. The beef was definitely let down, and the dessert was so so. I did enjoy my entrée though, the different types of potatoes and quinoa salad was definitely a hit.

I do love the front entrance, the hydroponic lights, think it would look pretty cool at home!

GA’s ratings: 6 / 10

Morena

425 Bourke Street

Surry Hills 2010

Ph: +61 405 902 896

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