U.A.E. has introduced many cuisines to its dining scene these past five years. Entering the crowd are some like Ethiopian and Peruvian. The latter has been peaking my interest from quite some time now. Already offering this are some well-known places such as Coya, Tesoro, and Toro Toro.
From my first experience, I can deduce that food from Peru bears many similarities to Spanish and Mexican cuisines. My experience was when I visited JW Marriott Marquis for a late dinner at Garden Peruvian Restaurant. The Garden, which is like a garden itself has a fountain and pot plants taking the centre stage. The walls are adorned with different colours which gave the place a funky vibe. Practically empty since it was a weekday, the servers paid good attention to our table.
The menu was kept simple and short with about six drinks to choose from. We decided to order a Clasico Ceviche, Solterito and Papitas Rellenas for appetisers along with drinks. The Ceviche was a bowl of fish with sweet potato tempura. I don’t have a liking for sweet potatoes, but the tempura tasted good enough.
Our next dish was some beautifully plated amuse bouche presented with a layer of purple potato, (I didn’t know these existed really) cherry tomatoes, beans, olives, and topped with goat cheese. There was also a taste of lemon dressing in there. Oh! And can you see the avocado mousse there? Our second dish and my favourite from the first course was the Papitas Rellenas. We make something similar at home, it’s basically a deep fried mixture of pulled beef tenderloin and potatoes. Served hot with a mayo sauce.
After a brief wait, our mains arrived. Frankly, we couldn’t decide what we liked more. The Aji De Gallina Hualpa served a tender chicken breast with grilled Criolla potatoes and a special aji Amarillo sauce. My guest also enjoyed her dish; a stir fried beef cooked in soy sauce and red vinegar presented in a skillet. The beef was a little tough, but manageable though nothing compared to the former main course according to me. Lastly, served along with these dishes was a very pretty looking Quinotto. A quinoa bowl with oh so creamy cheese and mushrooms with a hint of truffle. I couldn’t stop devouring this dish!
Drinks, check. Starters, check. Main course, check. The last course was the desserts. And mind you, things can get a little too sweet here. The menu has four dessert options of which, we chose the Tres Leches and Chocolate Fondant. Now, I am a big fan of Tres Leches Cake. A cake made of three different kinds of milk; evaporated, condensed and heavy cream, which is what gives it the soft and light texture. One bite and you are in heaven. Topped with yoghurt ice cream, this is a must try!
The chocolate fondant was well, a mediocre dish. The purple corn ice cream on the side was great, but the chocolate cake, not so much. I felt the chocolate inside could have been a bit warmer and a little runny.
If I’m coming back: The vibe here is great. Not too hush hush and not noisy like a bar. The music is lively, and the service is timely. This place is definitely going to see me again. I’d have the Papitas Rellenas, Aji De Gallina Hualpa with a side of Quinotto and end the meal with Tres Leches Cake. The portions are good enough for two and are made with the purpose of sharing.