Peruvian comfort food with a twist at Cosme
With 3 restaurants among the Worlds 50 Best restaurants Lima is an amazing fine dining destination. What most travelers don’t know about is the vast array of different cuisines represented in Lima and the additional series of restaurants that in Europe would be rated with a Michelin star or a Bib Gourmand.
Cosme is one these restaurants which I first dined at last week. James Berckemeyer who is the owner and head chef has a resume includes series of top restaurants in Spain (Arzak and El Celler de Roca) which always raises my expectations. By looking at the menu and their website it is however clear that the food is by no means molecular gastronomy and the menu covers some of the classic Peruvian dishes as well as own creations drawing in inspiration from the rest of the World.
To start with we had the most classic Peruvian dish a ceviche, but this time the fish was deep fried and some of the ingredients had been grilled giving a nice charcoal flavor to dish. The use of chili was not overwhelming so you could still taste each ingredient which I liked.
For the next dish the chef had gone to Asia for inspiration. Delicious pieces of raw salmon in an oriental sauce and small “sesame” like seeds. Fresh and I liked this dish.
This was also the case for the next dish which was probably the highlight of the meal for me. Sweetbread which had been prepared sous vide before being fried. It was served with a great pure of potatoes (choclo) and a reduction which had a great umami taste. Almost like a charcoaled redwinereduction if something like that would exist. A great dish.
Continuing from here we had corn with grated parmesan and chili. The combination of the umami rich parmesan, sweet corn and the chili off course worked. The chili was the essential part that lifted the dish from the ordinary.
Before moving to the main dish we made a short trip to France for a poached egg, “mash potato” and a bit of truffle. Off course these are flavors that go well together and if the ratio is right it can be an amazing “comfort food”. For this to happen a very generous amount of truffle is required which unfortunately was not the case here. I can only assume that truffles are very costly in Peru which would be a natural explanation for the small amount.
As a main dish this evening we again went to Asia for inspiration. This time to Thailand for green curry with prawns and fish. As was the case with the ceviche earlier I liked the spice balance. A nice dish.
One of the most classic peruvian dishes is the Chinese inspired dish “arroz con pato/rice and duck”. It is exactly that fried rice usually with peas and carrots served with braised duck in a chili sauce. My wife likes to order this this because of the combination of the rice and sauce. Me I will find any excuse to order a duck so it makes for a good dish for us.
Moving to desserts we had a “deconstructed” lemon tarte with a sugar sphere filled with lemon, in a “lake” of sweet foam and a bit of crumble to finish the lemon tarte “illusion”. A nice lemon tart but truth be told a prefer just a bit more lemon to it to balance the sweetness. Peruvians do however like very sweet desserts.
The last dessert was very good. A cake served fresh from the oven filled with a Lucama cream was served with a chocolate ice-cream. It is not often that restaurants these days will actually make cakes a la minute for you and not have them premade and not just warmed. A great touch in my opinion.
At the end of the meal my expectations had been met. I wasn’t blown away but neither did I expect to be. They serve great Peruvian food with a twist often to underpin either umami or quality of ingredients by letting them stand out by them self in dishes with few ingredients.
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