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By JON DEAN
Thursday, July 5, 2012
It’s easy to become jaded when visiting some restaurants – an uninspiring menu with a formulaic wine list just don’t set the pulse racing.
But the prospect of eating Peruvian food for the first time had me genuinely excited and I really didn’t know what to expect.
Peruvian cuisine is becoming more popular in London, but there are still only three places that do it – the second to open was Tierra Peru, a sleek little joint on Essex Road.
I had a bit of a steer from friends who had walked the Inca trail that seafood would feature heavily in contrast to the very meat-based food from fellow south American countries Brazil and Argentina.
We also heard the cocktails were great, and heeding this advice, we eschewed the wine for a couple of pisco sours – delicious, crisp numbers made from Peruvian brandy, lime, egg and a dash of bitters, which were fantastic and vaguely reminiscent of a margarita.
Tierra Peru, 164 Essex Road, N1 8LY
Tube: Angel Tel: 0207 354 5586 Web: www.tierraperu.co.uk Mains: from £9 Wine: from £14.95 a bottle Disabled access: Yes Children welcome: Yes
To start we had the Cebiche Mixto, a collection of fresh fish, prawns, calamari and shellfish served raw, but marinated in lime and chillies which has a similar effect to cooking
It was an incredible dish – light, fresh, zingy and zesty with a bit of a kick – just enough to be invigorating rather than overpowering.
Alongside this we had marinated cow heart skewers, which were also lip-smackingly tasty.
Unlike chicken hearts, which can be quite irony, these bovine delicacies tasted like a very tender bit of steak.
Our main courses were the stewed lamb, which was pleasant without being exceptional, and the Picante de mariscos – fresh seafood cooked in a traditional sauce.
The latter was a cracker which tasted somewhere between a Thai and an Indian curry, with strong hints of coriander but a character all it’s own.
Finally, we had a moist and pleasing cheesecake flavoured with Lucuma – a fruit from the jungles of Peru.
Many of the recipes have been passed down the generations of proprietor Christian’s family, and you can see why they have stood the test of time.
And now the novelty of a trying a new type of food has worn off, the rainbow of flavours make it likely Peruvian food will continue to become more prevelant on these shores.