IK, Ivan Kisic’s lasting memory.
IK, before anything else, has a story. Ivan Kisic had his tutelage in the most pristine kitchens in Europe, although his dream was to return to Peru and open a restaurant where he could share his talents with everybody. Sadly, though, he passed away shortly after opening the restaurant. His family in response, decided to take over the restaurant so that his dream would live on.
A little more than 3 years later, IK has expanded its focus to amore eco-friendly cause. They even opened their own farmhouse on which they harvest all the herbs that they use along with the beginnings of fruit & vegetable cultivation (The chef gossiped a little and told me about some multicolored carrots in the near future.) Upon entering the restaurant, I felt this wave of nature, soft wood, and green drape itself over me. The interior architecture was designed to look like the inside of a fruit box. It was puzzling how simple inspiration made such a casually prolific environment. There’s a nice view of the kitchen, adorned by small trees complemented by the large ekekos. In the far back there is a glass panel giving way to the small, adobe oven in which they cook bread, potatoes, and anything else that comes to mind. Their wine list is quite diverse with an air-conditioned compartment that is capable of storing up to 430 bottles of their 164 different labels.
It started out with a cocktail, as all great things do. All their signature cocktails were something to marvel at. The Semilla bar was quaint and out of the way, spacious for what it’s worth and the menu is very adventurous. My absolute favorite drink was “La Naturaleza Muerta” or “Dead Nature” a drink composed of aged rum, kombucha fermented apple juice with shadows of lavender, placed along side a tree that, when served at the table fennel flowers would fall from the tree into the drink. The flavor took me to a dry mountain in the Andes, where only the occasional smell of eucalyptus would refresh the otherwise empty medley of varied dehydrated plant cellulose, breathtaking.
The tasting menu started soon after. Jesus Garcia, the head chef of the IK kitchen, makes sure that everything is en point. There was a lot of seafood on the menu, which is tricky from a technical standpoint, but everything came out juicy, tender, and full of flavor. The plating is designed by Argentinian chef Sebastian Mazzola who visits only a handful of times a year to help the team out. The favorites (and perhaps, the best) dishes though, were those that Ivan made. “La Comunidad del Tomate” was a refreshing ode to tomatoes in varied textures. The absolute hands down group favorite was, “Entre el choclo y las mostazas” which came with a teriyaki braised pancetta with different textures of Andean corn. It all just dissolved in your mouth, coating the palate with a thick layer of sweet umami that was evened out with hints of mustard. The desserts were beautiful, although some technical points could’ve been worked on. A few dishes they served at temperatures that didn’t do them kindly, and the house toffee was so buttery it was barely palatable (and slightly burnt). Yet the extravagance of it all along with the way it was presented allows for some flaws.
The menu is also coupled with a delightful wine pairing. Iuse the word delightful to express the variety of wines used in the menu, but not so much as to how successful the pairings are. All the wines they use are marvels of their own accord, but for example, with their razor clam ceviche, the wine (a Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand) had a very volcanic taste to it with iron and salt notes; while the ceviche was very citric with whole cilantro/mint leaves giving a more chlorophylic taste to it. They also had star pairings, their dessert wine was a “noble late harvest” which went well if not great with almost every dessert we sampled. Their fresh fish with oriental vapor p aired marvelously with the dry Riesling they offered. Overall, their wine pairings left me in a sort of grey area.
While the tasting group was discussing the sensations we were experiencing, it came to us that this is where we would suggest people to go, if they don’t have much time in Lima. Chef Jesus gave me his word that by the end of March the menu will be different, more Peruvian. They change the menu about every 3 to 4 months. Lets just see where it goes from here but so far, I’m happy with their results.
Originally posted on: www.livinginperu.com