Disclosure: I attended courtesy of Nobu and Media Moguls.
Peru is awesome. Peru is good. Peru is definitely worth a visit.
But it’s also very, very far from Australia. So if you can’t make it to the actual country, you could instead head to Nobu for a Taste of Peru.
But what does a Japanese restaurant have to do with Peruvian cuisine? Well the menu at Nobu has South American influences, which comes from Nobu Matsuhisa’s years in Lima after he moved there when he was 24 to open a restaurant.
Nobu Melbourne’s Executive Chef, Christopher Shane, is paying homage to Nobu’s history on Thursday nights with a special menu of 16 Peruvian style tapas and nine cocktails, and I was invited there late last year for a preview of the menu.
Let’s talk drinks first. Naturally, if we’re going to talk about alcohol and Peru, the drink that comes to mind is pisco, a grape brandy. The Taste of Peru cocktail menu includes pisco in the classic Pisco Sour ($20) and also in a Pisco Punch ($22) – a tasting version is pictured here.
For those with a palate geared more towards sour and fruit, the Machu Picchu Smash ($22) is very refreshing. Made with Brazilian Sagatiba Pura Cachaca, Elderflower cordial, lemon juice and fresh apples, it was my favourite cocktail of the night.
For those who like things sweet and romantic, the La Rosa Valha ($22) contains cachaca, plum pisco liqueur, plus cranberry, vanilla and lime.
And for those who are just plain indecisive, there’s always a cocktail flight ($35) – a selection of three more experimental cocktails. We had a spicy and savoury tomato based cocktail, an Elderflower cocktail, and an orange based cocktail.
At first taste, I didn’t like the tomato one at all, but then I found I kept going back to it. It was strangely moreish and it left my lips tingling thanks to the chilli powder on the rim.
As mentioned previously, there’s 16 food dishes, and the prices range from $21 – $35.
This scallop tiradito ($21) is one of the smaller dishes. Tiradito is a Peruvian dish of raw fish, similar to sashimi, and the scallops were sweet and fresh.
The seafood theme continues with grilled scallops that had a great aji amarilo salsa (basically a spicy sauce), as well as King Crab ceviche on butter lettuce ($24 for 4 pieces) which was an interesting take on ceviche.
The meatier part of the menu includes some rather good skewers – beef, chicken and salmon ($12-$14) and Peruvian spice poussin ($30).
One of my favourite dishes we tried was the short rib with aji panca tomato gastrique and couscous salsa ($35 for 4 pieces). Having been cooked for 48 hours, the beef rib was lovely and tender.
(Just don’t be a dumb dumb and eat the lime slice on the bottom like MAYBE I did.)
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