Peruvian PerfectionAlthough it’s the birthplace of the potato, a decidedly worldly vegetable, Peru’s cuisine was, until recently, so underrepresented in international dining rooms that is was barely distinguishable from that of neighbouring Mexico to the culinary layperson.
But the zesty South American country is finally the receiving the kudos it deserves, most recently by way of Los Angeles’ own Picca, named one of GQ Magazine’s 10 Best New US Restaurants.
Picca’s menu of more than 50 small share plates is, as Peruvian food traditionally tends to be, subtly influenced by European, African and Asian flavours – the tuna tartare with avocado and lemon-soy dressing being a perfectly seasoned, light and fresh example.
Classic ceviche is served in the form of time-honoured favourite citrus-cured seabass, with halibut and mixed seafood variations also on offer. Potato cakes called causas are topped with everything from snow crab to spicy yellowtail, and the anticuchos selection sees scallops, quail eggs, beef hearts and more skewered and seared to perfection.
Add ‘mod cantina’ décor with rustic wood accents, a dangerously more-ish, Pisco-heavy cocktail list and sweet lucuma-filled churros (donuts) you’d walk to Lima and back for, and the result has been a runaway success. They say ‘eat your beef heart out’... well, don’t mind if we do!