The food of Peru is one that in recent years has been popularized in both restaurants and food media. From Pisco Sours to causa and ceviche, Peruvian cuisine is one of zingy, punchy flavours and fresh zesty combinations of sweet, savoury and sour.
In London, Peruvian cuisine has been reinvigorated with the very instagram-worthy ‘Chicama’. Bringing the humble food to the tables of the Made in Chelsea crowd saw a recent spike in passion for all things Peru. Manchester is about to get it’s own sexy Peruvian food spot. To get you excited, here’s a rundown of one of Peru’s most famous dishes; ‘ceviche’.
In the UK, Peruvian food has followed many other cuisines, making it both exciting and slightly unknown to a lot of us. The success of Chicama and others alike has seen an increase in Peruvian restaurants, elevating the humble cuisine to high-end ceviche and cocktails.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the classic dishes of Peru, ceviche is the process of cooking raw seafood and fish like seabass, tuna, salmon, prawn and crab with the acid of lime. Traditionally, ceviche is made solely with lime and salt. However, over time this dish has been elaborated regionally to create some amazing interpretations, mostly with additions such as coriander, red onion, chilli and fruits like pomelo, mango or pineappple.
Classic ceviche however, is made by liberally salting raw, skinned and chopped seabass. The salt allows the fish’s ‘pores’ to open to the introduction of flavour. Next, a lot of lime juice to ‘cook’ the fish. Traditionally, the fish should only be in the lime and salt for around 60 seconds before the addition of fish stock. This fish stock slows down the curing process and gives you the textural difference of the cooked outside and raw middle. Plus, the combination of the lime and fish-stock creates ‘Tiger Milk’, the name given to the absolutely delicious ceviche liquid.
If you haven’t tried ceviche, you should. It’s both zingy and fresh, and due to the curing from the acid is less ‘raw’ than sashimi or tartar which is what puts some people off.
If this has made you feel the urge to give Peruvian cuisine a go, you’re in luck! Manchester’s very own Cotton Factory in Whitworth Locke has just opened it’s doors to Peru Perdu, a six-month residency restaurant. Peru Perdu boasts a colourful and vibrant Peruvian-inspired restaurant in the heart of central Manchester, offering all the right ingredients for a memorable culinary experience.
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C E V I C H E This is our salmon ceviche. It’s served with herb mayo, mango salsa, sesame & rice crackers. Enjoy as a beautiful starter to a large plate main, part of a sharing selection of plates or simply a luxury snack with a glass of chilled Torrontes at the Ceviche bar
Online, it’s menu is divided into four main provisions: Cocteles, Ceviche, U.W.A Steak and Plant-based. U.W.A refers to Uruguayan Wet-aged steak which can be bought in three different sizes of the three traditional cuts; fillet, rib eye and rump. Considering the menu is relatively small, there are six plant-based small plates, including a green papaya salad, and three different types of quinoa bowl. ‘Red’ with avocado, pomelo, roast aubergine and spinach. ‘White’ with roast corn, orange, yam, coriander and seeds. And, ‘Black’ with peas, broad beans, asparagus, prune and pomegranate.
They also offer five different kinds of ceviche with tuna, seabass, salmon, salt cod and crab. The two that sound the most delicious to me are the sebass with samphire, asparagus, tomato and macadamia nuts and the crab with rice noodles, pomelo, chilli, sweet potato and coriander.
You’re looking at around £8 for a small plate of ceviche, which is pricey but not dissimilar to the standard restaurant prices around Spinningfields and Deansgate. And, if the fish is fresh and the ceviche is good that’s certainly worth it.
I’m very excited to see how this restaurant is enjoyed by Mancunians and whether it’s six-month residency introduces the beautiful cuisine of Peru to Manchester in a way that makes it unforgettable. Stay tuned for the next issue of The Mancunion where I’ll be visiting Peru Perdu and letting you know what I think of it’s food and decor.
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R E D P R A W N S cooked on the charcoal grill with lime, chilli & chips. Red prawns are a brilliant deep red colour when raw and, unusually, this colour hardly changes during cooking. They are found in the South Atlantic off the coast of Argentina. These are particularly delicious with chunky chips & creamed corn 🌽