Monday, May 13, 2013
Hong Kong had its first Peruvian restaurant last year with Chicha and now there's a new one in Lan Kwai Fong. Replacing Blue Smoke, MAYTA Peruvian Kitchen & Pisco Bar creates a warm atmosphere with lots of wood and a casual laid-back atmosphere.
Start off with some piscos ($68), a colourless grape brandy. Here the restaurant infuses it with 18 different flavours and combinations, such as purple corn, coffee, coconut, green tea, thyme, ginger and chamomile.
The purple corn flavoured one is dark purple in colour, but just all sweet, whereas the ginger one has more complexity and deceptively easy to drink...
So perhaps it's time to order some food. For the uninitiated, Peruvian cuisine is an interesting combination of various immigrants in the country, including the Spanish, Chinese, Japanese, Italian and German along with the indigenous Incas.
Each culture brought some of their own cooking styles and the adapted with the existing ingredients and it has since evolved (and continues to evolve) into a hearty cuisine that has layers of flavours that make it simultaneously rustic but also sophisticated.
One of the best known dishes is ceviche, and the classic one here (HK$148) is a delicious blend of sea bass mixed with lime and fish stock that creates a whitish liquid called leche de tigre, or tiger's milk, and the other ingredients include red onion, choclo, cancha and glazed sweet potato. It's a refreshing dish perfect for summer months.
An interesting take on ceviche is the Andean tiradito (HK$138) that uses salmon, chilli chimichurri, leche de tigre and topped with crispy black quinoa.
Peru is also known for its potatoes or causa, with thousands of varieties grown in the Latin American country. Here a trio (HK$158) of mashed potatoes is presented in various colours and flavours: a purple one topped with salmon ceviche tartar; yellow with octopus and rocoto chilli aoli; and then orange with shrimp escabeche. All are too scrumptious to pass up.
The skewers or anticucho are very Peruvian. MAYTA's menu offers skewers of beef (HK$118), chicken (HK$98) and octopus (HK$118). No explanations required -- just enjoy.
For mains, there are some amazing rice platters to choose from. The arroz con pato (HK$178) is divine, with 12-hour cooked duck leg confit sitting on a bed of flavourful rice, while the arroz con mariscos (HK$188) is a seafood yellow curry rice with shrimp, octopus, fried squid, red peppers and some chilli for a spicy kick.
To finish the meal try the suspiro de Limena (HK$68), a dulce de leche, a kind of custard that's not too sweet with a quinoa cookie, intriguingly a scoop of olive oil ice cream, almond oil and grilled pineapple.
MAYTA Peruvian Kitchen & Piscos Bar
3/F, Grand Progress Building
15 Lan Kwai Fong