My familiarity of Peru and its food doesn’t go *far beyond knowing that the capital is called Lima, they like their ceviche and that Paddington Bear was a fervent fan of marmalade sandwiches.
(*I also know a scant amount of knowledge about Machu Picchu, the Incas and Claudio Pizzaro. Beyond ceviche, my experience of the country’s cuisine is limited to one meal at Nobu London (here), which as subtle Peruvian influences.)
As such, when I saw that the Catalan restaurant royalty, the Adrià brothers (mostly Albert), had launched PAKTA, specialising in ‘Nikkei Cuisine’ - a Peruvian / Nippon fusion influenced by Japanese immigration - it went straight to the top of my “must do” list.
Open barely a couple of months, I didn’t quite know what to expect (although, when the Adriàs are involved, it’s perhaps best to expect the unexpected) - a few fancy techniques and flourishes aside, the majority of the dishes seemingly drew largely upon artistic Japanese kaiseki style presentations, with the added ‘interest’ of many Peruvian ingredients and influences.
We opted for the Fukiyama Menu.
“Honzen Ryori” - Soy Milk Yuba with Rio Frío Caviar & Dashishoyu Veil; Tiger’s Eye Pickles with Salmon & Sumiso Sauce; Avocado Tofu with Salmon Roe & Wasabi; Broad Beans & Edamame Salad with Kimchi Sauce & Gomaiso and Ocopa of Potato with Olluco & Mentaiko.
Mortared Chalaca with Mussels & Yucca Chips.
Tuna Temaki with Puffed Quinoa and Shichimi.
“The Causas” - Salmon Makicausa with Aburi Sauce and Fried Causa with Chicken & Tarragon Mayonnaise.
“The Nigiris” - Squid Nigiri with Huacatay Salt; Tuna Nigiri with Soy Sauce Tapioca Pearls and Hamachi Nigiri “Acevichado”. (Ginger gel cubes to cleanse the palate.)
Sea Bass Ceviche with Kumquats “Leche de Tigre”.
Eel Nigiri and Grilled Iberian Pork Jowl Nigiri with Siu Panka.
Soba with ‘Huancayo Style’ Dashi with Garlic (made fresh in-house every day by Chef Kyoko Ii.)
Grilled Suckling Pig Gyōza with Tempura Kumquats.
Grilled Black Cod marinated in Black Garlic.
Lomo Saltado (stir fried tenderloin) with Peppers, Quail Eggs & Crisp “Potato Pillows”.
“Dessert” - Sikuasa Suri and Golden Meringues with “Ducle de Leche” Ice Cream & Pisco.
Sweet Potatoes Picarones with Dried Fig & Cinnamon Honey.
“Peruvian Chocolates” White Chocolate with Té & Sakura (imprinted with images of head chefs Kyoko Ii & Jorge Muñoz) and Lio Corn Rock with Quinoa. With these, I selected a quality Genmaicha Green Tea.
The food, ambience and service at PAKTA were all excellent (the delightful Sussie Villarico deserves a special mention) – the best dining experience of the trip for us!