New Restaurant Alert: Cocina Peruvia at Rizal Drive, Bonifacio Global City
This multi-faceted cuisine adds color to the local palate.
G/F Bonifacio One Technology Tower, 3030 Rizal Drive corner 31st Street, Bonifacio Global City
Contact: 955-9975, 623-7504, 0917-315-5727
(SPOT.ph) The Manila dining scene has become a melting pot of cuisines and flavors. Cocina Peruvia adds to the mix by introducing what Eric Teng, CEO of Mother Spice Food Corporation calls “Peruvian cuisine 101”—the must-try dishes of this fascinating South American country. “Peru has a huge coastline facing the Pacific Ocean on one side and mountainous regions as well as part of the Andean mountains on the other,” Mr. Teng says. “Because of their unique geography, there are a lot of things that come out of Peru that is unique to Peru. The secret is also the multicultural society. There’s a lot of influence from the Spanish the Italians, the Africans, but also unique are the Japanese and the Chinese influences. Apart from that, there’s the Incan culture.”
Festive color palette
Outside seating, perfect for breezy evenings
Where you will enjoy your churrasco
With Chef Him Uy de Baron as Head of Restaurant Development and Peruvian Chef Andres Higa as a consultant, Cocina Peruvia offers Manileños a chance to sample dishes such as ceviche, tiradito (Peruvian-style sashimi), antichucho (skewers), and various desserts. “We have a very small menu. We’re not putting anything there that we don’t know well,” Mr. Teng says.
Some words will be immediately familiar: escabeche, ceviche, adobo. “It’s quite familiar to our palate because we eat the same way,” he adds. “It never seemed foreign to me. It just seemed quite special and quite familiar at the same time.”
First, of course, there are the ceviches (P290/each), marinated in citrus juice, lime, lemons, and oranges.
The Ceviche Mixto, or mixed ceviche, is composed of shrimp, mussels, squid, and octopus in aji amarillo, leche de tigre (Peruvian ceviche marinating liquid), and lemon.
The Ceviche Nikkei, like its name says, is Japanese-inspired—salmon and jackfish are marinated in leche de tigre, soy, coconut milk, and lemon.
Then, there is the Apertivo y Ensalada (Appetizer and Salad). The Quinoa Salad (P450) is composed of mixed greens, quinoa, arugula, olives, and tomatoes in aji amarillo dressing. It’s quite delicious, the leaves giving everything a bitter tang.
Avocado and Tofu Salad
The Avocado and Tofu Salad (P290) may sound strange, but it is worth trying. Avocado, raw tofu, edamame, sesame oil, and lemon make for an interesting juxtaposition of taste and texture.
Arroz con Mariscos
“We eat a lot of beans and rice. Peruvians also do the same thing,” Mr. Teng says. The Arroz con Mariscos (P450), or seafood rice, is amarillo spiced rice with shrimp, mussels, and squid—very much like paella.
Anticucho de Corazon de Vaca
The restaurant, of course, prides itself on its Anticuchos (Peruvian-style barbeque), all of them served with aji amarillo and chimichurri sauces. There is the Anticucho de Corazon de Vaca (P320) or grilled beef heart, which is the most popular type of anticucho in Peru. “It may intimidate people, but once you try it, you’ll understand why people go for it,” he says.
Anticucho de Pollo
Anticucho de Lomo
There are other kinds of skewered meat: Anticucho de Lomo, or grilled beef tenderloin; Anticucho de Pollo (P280), grilled chicken; and Anticucho de Gindara, grilled gindara. All of them are tender, with subtle spicy and smoky flavor.
Among the Plato Principales (Main Dishes) are the Lomo Saltado (P450), or beef tenderloin stir-fry. It's a renowned Peruvian dish composed of stir-fried tenderloin, onions, tomatoes, with fried potatoes. “It’s kind of like the national dish of Peru,” Mr. Teng says. “It’s tenderloin sauteed with soy sauce, aji amarillo, and onions. It’s familiar but somehow exotic enough to keep it interesting.”
Pescado al Ajillo
Bistec a la Plancha
A must-try is the Pescado al Ajillo (P450) gindara cooked a la plancha, topped with shrimps, and drizzled with garlic-butter sauce and lemon. The fish is tender, almost buttery in texture and taste. The Pollo a la Parilla, grilled chicken served with grilled corn and chimichurri sauce, is a no-nonsense grilled chicken dish. The Bistec a la Plancha (P700), seared Kitayama flank steak topped with aji panca and chimichurri, will interest meat lovers, as will the Seco de Osobuco (P480), beef shank stewed with wine, aji amarillo, and cilantro, served with a tacu tacu rice ball.
Seco de Osobuco
Pollo a la Parilla
Cocina Peruvia will also be offering Peruvian desserts, as well as new menu items in the months to come.
A fruity finish
Their menu hasn’t been finalized as of this writing, but prices are sure to be affordable. “To be honest, Peruvian food is a very unique experience for me every time, and I’m doing only the very very basics now. I don’t know what we’ll be doing three months from now. It’s going to be a bit different every time. Such a huge, diverse pool of knowledge to draw from,” he says.
The one thing that's noticeably missing from the menu is cuy, or guinea pig, a delicacy in Peru. When asked if Cocina Peruvia plans to serve this in the future, Mr. Teng laughs and says, “To make it Peruvian, I really should, but I can’t eat those cute things. I’ve never eaten them and I don’t think I ever will. I have a few friends who keep asking me to bring cuy to the table. Come on, they’re too cute.”
Photos by Majoy Siason