Astrid Y Gaston, Lima, Peru

Ask me to pick my favorite meal of 2017? Well, that would be too difficult. We have eaten so well over the last 12 months we are really spoiled for choice.

One particular restaurant really blew me away and went straight to my mind. And it’s a restaurant I almost never go to! I have rescheduled our booking three times. I was debating whether we should cancel when a friend told me some locals thought it was overrated… and then Doc happened to book a departure flight. just a few hours after our meal.

“Should we cancel?” I asked, a few weeks before our meal. “It would be a logistical nightmare to get there, wouldn’t it?”

Doc knows how important food is to me and he is also excellent at making things happen. He took control of the situation, revised some of the plans and everything fell into place and before I knew it, we were booked for lunch at a restaurant that I was going to love. . We went to lunch at Astrid y Gastón, the iconic, internationally renowned modern Peruvian restaurant in Lima, Peru.

We arrived in Astrid y Gastón in our taxi, and strangely enough, I had butterflies. I’m so excited and thrilled to dine at somewhere I want to eat as it took the #1 spot in the 50 Best Restaurants in Latin America in 2013. Those of you who have been following for a while. will know me’ I’m trying to get through 50 best restaurants in the worldand I highly recommend their list of top restaurants!

The location itself is amazing, in a beautiful part of Lima called San Isidro. In an area lined with beautiful villas and shops is Casa Moreyra, a quaint building renovated as the home of Astrid y Gaston. Climb the steps, pass through archways, white columns and beaded screens, and you’ll be greeted by hostesses and taken into the indoor dining room or the more casual seating outside

We chose the tasting menu, 15 contemporary courses with influences from all over Peru and more. Helped by cocktails!

Our first delightful dish apparently known as “Indecent Bed, Forbidden Love” – ​​a fisherman’s empanada served with a blue potato stuffed with meat lamb and sea urchin toast. Although it is described as indecent, it is, in fact, unbelievably good. Potato stuffed into the mouth is soft and melts, has a lemony, earthy taste with a slight sweetness. The little empanada was soft and spongy, almost mushy, and the sea urchin was a revelation.

The second is said to be “from the frozen waters of the Pacific Ocean” and it is a magical combination. Topped with dry ice with fresh scallops and vibrant green sauce. It was finished at the table with powdered freeze-dried apples. The sauce is rich and fresh and I really had to refrain from licking the rind off to avoid scaring the surrounding guests, which seems to be mostly on business lunches! The doctor’s allergy meant he couldn’t try this but we were super impressed with the alternative. He was served a dish with different textures of apples.

People always talk about Ceviche when they think of Peruvian food, and honestly, this is one of the best we’ve tried in all of Peru (and seriously, we ate a whole mountain. This dish!) Astrid y Gaston’s version includes cured sea bass, aji limon, coriander flowers, onions, and corn cobs. The sauce is red “tiger milk” with red chili. We agree that this is possibly the best piece either of us has ever had. It has a spicy, chewy, fresh taste with crunchy corn kernels and a sweet taste from the giant cob with a finely cut golden potato. Surprisingly all these flavors are perfectly balanced with the spicy citrus sauce – divine!

The next dish is described as “Coming from Lima, the city that loves everyone” – it is a particularly fresh tiradito made with thinly sliced ​​scallops and schezuan pepper in a tofu sauce. Beautifully decorated with a Jamaican flower from the garden, we admired it before plugging in. They are the best scallops I have tasted in my life – no! Doc’s came up with a shellfish-free alternative with different tomatoes instead of scallops. It is richly spiced with tiny purple onion nibs in the most delicious sauce.

Surprisingly they didn’t bring out the bread in the first place, instead five dishes came out in a generous portion of bread. It’s basically a bread basket. The sandwiches are served with regular salted butter, an avocado mixed with black smoked tomato paste, a rich, non-dairy avocado with chimichurri and red peppers and a portion of sweetened lard. with honey. The spreads are perfect with a range of breads from Astrid y Gaston’s kitchen. Focaccia, croissants, bread made with local mixed corn and my favorite is purple corn. The smoky tomato butter is as light as the air and has a nutty aroma that reminds us of the charcoal dip we loved at the Clove Club. The purple cornbread is topped with dried Peruvian fruit and is delightful. It has a scent of cinnamon and reminds me of apple pie.

Peruvian cuisine is known for two things: Ceviche and Cuy. Cuy is a delicious local dish – pack pork meet. I never expected to try this and I didn’t think to check if it was on the menu but sure enough, Cuy is next. Astrid y Gaston drew on its Cantonese heritage with its follow-up dish Peking Cuy.

Peru has a large population of Chinese immigrants and a small cuisine called Chifa – this is a mix of Cantonese and Peruvian food. The Beijing cuy is succulent and served in a small purple corn tacos. Although reluctant to try it, it is undeniably delicious.

I like the menu that combines flavors from outside of Lima and even outside of Peru. You may remember that one of my favorite dishes in Colombia is arepa. I didn’t like them when I visited Venezuela in 2010, finding them rather greasy. Astrid y Gaston made an exquisite version with a filling of suckling pig and Peruvian cheese. It was presented beautifully on an oven – a tribute to the way it was served on the street, but as I am not a fan of Venezuelan wasps it was not surprising that I saw it’s a bit too greasy. Doc absolutely loves it so obviously this is more of a reflection of my taste buds and I’m sure the majority will enjoy this dish.

I was surprised because the next dish was Waygu beef dumplings. This Nikkei dish is inspired by Okinawa. The dumplings are cooked to perfection, succulent and flavored with cilantro and onions along with the meaty Waygu and savory flavors of oyster sauce.

Doc’s shellfish-free option is a mix of chia seeds, quinoa, and grains topped with grilled octopus. It is served with orange sauce of potatoes and adobo with butter sauce. Chia seeds thicken sauces and create crunch.

The next course brought us back to Lima firmly. This bright yellow soup is said to be the signature dish of the local mother and grandmother. This soup consists of pumpkin, hot peppers, green beans, eggs and toast. We stir to crack the yolks to find small chunks of cheese, broad beans and giant Peruvian corn. It was delicious and at this point we were pretty full.

I absolutely love the scallops with caramelized almond crust, pesto sauce, parmesan juice, lucuma fruit. It was complex and delicious and although I was served lots of scallops, I was impressed.

Those of you who’ve been reading for a while will know I’m obsessed with all things Mexican, and especially the food! The next course was a twist on Mexican tacos. Coriander tacos are filled with sea bass, pumpkin, cubed Peruvian cheese, reduced fish and served on a sweet mole. The tacos and fish were cooked to perfection, with the fish the way I like it. The flavors were delightful and we agreed we would never try anything quite like it.

At this point, we were too full so we skipped the two main courses (rabbit and grilled ribs stew) and moved on to dessert.

The first is a light and refreshing dessert made from custard-apple cream (locally called Chirimoya). The slightly sweet custard-apple sorbet is balanced with toned-down basil, orange slices and white wine. On top are the edible flowers, which are almost too pretty to eat.

The two best dishes of the entire meal have yet to arrive. I don’t know how they are on top of this…

“Well, you know, we eat a lot of corn here in Peru” Can you guess what they serve next? A ceramic corn on the cob appears. Inside was a packet of steamed chocolate and cocoa-stuffed corn; a peppery ice cream; Frozen orange flakes and the most divine honey sauce.

This dessert, for me, is up there on the bucket list of “foods to try before you die”! It’s incredibly delicious, richer, and possibly the best dessert I’ve ever eaten.

Our meal ended with a wonderful cocoa mousse with chocolate from Tumbes in Peru. It is served in a thin layer of cocoa on top of a layer of dried cocoa beans. This dish is served on a whole cocoa pod. Each slice is equally light and rich, broken up with popping candy and lightly whipped in the middle with a hint of basil and lemon gel. It’s really unbelievable.

We brought our four little ones to go with the never-ending basket of bread (which we enjoyed later that day on our flight!)

It’s a chilling restaurant with high ceilings, dark blue tones, mosaic tiles, and minimalist decor. Even Astrid y Gaston’s bathroom is cool, with a toilet rivaling the one in Sketch in London, in that you can barely find the door!

Service was warm and professional and it put Astrid y Gaston up there as one of the best restaurants I’ve been to!

I can’t believe we almost didn’t go. If you go to Lima, promise me you’ll try to make a reservation.

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Our wonderful meal at Astrid y Gaston was free, but my opinion is my own (and I can’t recommend it enough!!)


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