Malabar, giving the bourgeois a San Pellegrino top 100 experience.
This Wednesday I had the opportunity to dine in Malabar, which was partaking in Lima Food Week. This is a biannual event that started in other famous cities in the world such as New York. It’s a great opportunity for the humble food lover to have a San Pellegrino’s Top 100 gastronomic experience that fits his/her budget! It is also sponsored by the national food bank, allowing diners to contribute to a greater cause at th end of their meal
In my case, I dined in what was the 87th best restaurant in the world. I once had the opportunity to work under the chef, Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, in his other restaurant Amaz here in Lima. Using his intuition & intelligent exploitation of plants from the Peruvian amazon, he creates dishes of haute cuisine full of colorfully exotic ingredients.
The appetizers were smoked bonito, with a homemade botarga (a Mediterranean roe spread) in a caper gel with organic tomatoes. It was pretty but the grilled octopus in smoked panka with corn chips/puree/whole grains, took my heart away. The octopus was so tender it was like fish. The combination of artistic value with warm, from the hearth creation whet my appetite for more.
For the main course it was the braised tongue in red berry sauce served with legumes pickled in passion fruit for me, for him, braised pork thigh with an aguaje puree & roasted sweet ajis. With the tongue, you could cut it with your finger and it tasted like demi-glace with jelly, but the legumes were lacking in flavor. The pork was gorgeous though, and the aji that accompanied it reminded me of a smoked cherry blossom. The aguaje, which is normally presented sweet, found its spot in my soul as a savory additive to be used in dishes to come.
The desserts were smoked pineapple with a caramelized banana sorbet & masato (a traditional yucca drink from the jungle.) We also got the “Jungle merengue” which was an Italian merengue made acidic with arazá, served with a tonka bean cream & seasonal jungle fruit. By far the smoked pineapple was better but it didn’t stand out much more than a Bananas Foster with pineapple. The problem was that the other dessert was extremely insipid andleft a dry sensation in my mouth, I don’t know if that was the actual flavor of the fruit, or they just weren’t ripe.
The whole thing was finished off with the last glass of sauvignon blanc and a camu camu sorbet alfajor with cookies made from coca leaves & achiote, a dark chocolate truffle with a charapita aji shell and bits of 100% cacao chocolate bars. When leaving the restaurant, we left our respective 10 soles for the food bank (something is something!) and we left, with our eyesight foggy and our palates, impressed.