Monday, October 23, 2017

Second Bite: Cocina Peruvia

Cocina Peruvia is no stranger to me. I've tried it last year in its BGC branch and it was not technically love at first bite. However, I loved its Galera de Chocolate and that was good enough reason for me to go back for more.
Hello, Cucina Peruvia.
This Peruvian restaurant has been around for two years and after spoiling the Bonifacio Global City crowd, it has finally made its way to the north, Vertis North to be exact. 
Its newest branch gives a similar vibe with its blue and orange interiors and cute accents. 
We started with a refreshing glass of Iced Tea (PHP90) and it deserved to be called a house blend as it definitely did not taste like your usual glass of iced tea. It had a nice blend of tangy and sweet taste. 
First dish served was Ceviche Nikkei (PHP290) and I couldn't think of a better way to start our meal with than this. Salmon chunks swimming in coconut milk and citrus juice was great! Its tangy taste definitely whet my appetite. (Note: I'm a fan of ceviche or kilawin so I'm biased with this one.)
Next served was Anticuchos de Corazon (PHP320) and I wasn't very excited to eat it after finding out that it's skewered beef heart. 
But its mouthwatering aroma was just too much for me not to give it a try. And surprisingly, it was tasty with its salty and slight spicy flavor from the chimichurri and aji amarillo sauce. I wasn't too crazy though with its tough texture.
I got scared when Rocoto Chicken Wings (PHP200) was introduced as a spicy dish. Rocoto, or the Peruvian red pepper powder was described to be similar to Sriracha. 
I was surprised though that it was very mild for a spicy dish. Considering that I have very low spice tolerance, for me to claim that the dish wasn't spicy says something. 

Three pasta dishes were served next namely Pasta a la Huancaina (PHP250), Chorizo con Pasta (PHP250) and Pasta Verde (PHP250). 
I sampled Pasta Verde first and it was awesome! I loved the lovely taste of cilantro which was well complemented by garlic, onions, lemon and Parmesan cheese. I might be a bit biased though as I love pasta dishes with a nice herbal flavor. 
Pasta a la Huancaina reminded me of carbonara with its creamy taste from the huancaina sauce which is the Peruvian cheese sauce made by blending aji peppers, cheese and onions. 
Though the pasta itself had a nice light flavor, the chicken chunks were very salty. Best to eat the chunks with a forkful of linguine.
Chorizo con Pasta was described to be hot with chili too but it also lacked the heat we were looking for after hearing that this dish is spicy. Taste-wise though, it was good. It was like your usual Pomodoro pasta but with a bit of herb taste from the cilantro oil.

For mains, we had Lomo Saltado (PHP450 | PHP1,190, grande), Adobo Peruvia (PHP400 | PHP1,190, grande), Arroz con Mariscos (PHP450 | PHP1,190, grande) and Pollo a la Brasa (PHP380 | PHP750, grande).
The Lomo Saltado was extremely salty. Though I understand that the  
meat should go with the fried potatoes, it was just too salty for my liking. The beef tenderloin strips were not as tender as I wanted it to be too. Needless to say, I didn't fancy this dish.
As a chicken lover, I was excited to try Pollo a la Brasa. Also, I only equate Peruvian dish with chicken. Peru = Peruvian Chicken. Its golden brown skin paired with what looked like perfectly seasoned fries made me drool. But it was dry and a bit on the bland side. The skin was packed with flavor but the marinate didn't go all the way to the white meat. I guess you have to put a generous serving of chimichurri or aji cilantro for taste. The fries were good though.
Cocina Peruvia's version of Seafood Paella, Arroz con Mariscos had generous serving of shrimps, mussels and squids. However, the flavor was not properly mixed. Some parts were too flavorful while some were on the bland side. Best to mix this before scooping a portion. Drizzle it with lemon juice for a lovely contrast of flavors. 
My favorite entree was Adobo Peruvia. The pork belly was very tender and the cream sauce made it not your usual adobo. It didn't use vinegar or soy sauce like how we Filipinos do it but this creamy version was spectacular. The dish could be too flavorful though so it is best to pair this with rice.
To cap our feast, we indulged in Galera de Chocolate (PHP350) which was an instant hit with everyone. Its rich dark chocolate tart was definitely hard to hate. The corn and potato crisps added texture to the divine treat (though unnecessary) and the figs gave it a bit of fruity taste.

We all left full and ready to hit the sack. Overall, it was a fun night. I have some favorites I would love to go back to. But given the misses as well during the night, I'd give it 3 out of 5 stars. 

Cocina Peruvia is located at 2nd Floor, Vertis North, Quezon City.

Cocina Peruvia Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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