C and I have just returned from what is most probably one of the most enjoyable lunches we have had in a long time here in Mexico City. So much so, that Osaka has immediately stormed into first place as one of favourite spots in Mexico!
Situated in Polanco on one of the main avenues called Masaryk it is rather inconspicuous compared to its neighbours, in fact I have driven past this place countless times not realising it was a Oriental Peruvian restaurant. However, when I did realise it was with great excitement as there is not that many Peruvian restaurants to choose from in D.F, and since our favourite one closed down in Santa Fey a few months ago, we haven’t really found anywhere else that does a good cebiche –aside from Astrid & Gaston of course (and no, Mexican cebiche is not a good cebiche (sorry guys!)
The location is perfect for us, as it is literally a 20 minute walk from our apartment – which turns out to be a double bonus considering how blooming amazing their cocktails are! If you were casually strolling by Osaka, I think it would be very easy to mistake this place for a high-end Japanese sake bar. However, the Peruvian influences here are very strong which can be particularly noted in their menu.
The decor has a modern Asian feel, with clean structures, dark wood and bamboo furnishings. They also have a lovely outdoor area which is where C and I sat this afternoon, making for a very pleasant couple of hours. As soon as you sit down, you are given their cocktail menu which upon immediate inspection you realise that these are no ordinary beverages, and if like me you are not so keen on cocktails – I guarantee there will be something on this list that will perk your interest. How can you choose between their Caipi Osaka which is vodka, passion fruit juice, macerated strawberries and a touch of lime? Or what about a short drink with tequila, jalapeno and cucumbers? I couldn’t, so I had both – and what an experience.
While we were enjoying our cocktails we started to read through their menu which is well organised although awkwardly large in size. Once I started making my way through each item, I only then appreciated the Peruvian elements of this restaurant, as alongside the oriental dishes were the Peruvian favourites such as cebiches, tiraditos, causas and anticuchos (although I was slightly disappointed that there was no beef heart on the menu). Like their cocktail menu – the food menu did not disappoint, filled with equally exciting and unexpected combinations – you just wanted to try them all!
We started off with the Degustacion de Cebiches which you could choose between three out of the five flavours. We went with the Clasico, the Aji Amarilla and the Wasabi.
Although all good, my favourite out of all of them was the Aji Amarillo – it had an unexpected kick of sesame which really made this dish pop. The Clasico needed a touch more salt to accentuate the lime and the Wasabi cebiche was made with a cream, giving it a thicker texture which I wasn’t in love with (although that did not stop us from finishing it!)
We continued with another dish from their tapas selection which sounded rather intriguing to us, the Inkagyozas, which is Japanese style gyoza stuffed with duck confit, caramelized onion and shitake mushrooms on top of a Huancaina sauce (a Peruvian sauce from the city of Huancayo).
What is really interesting about this dish, is that it looks incredibly Asian, but when you take that first bite, you realise that the flavours do not match the appearance (in a good way). The duck confit is soft and subtle, and is complimented very well with the huancaina sauce which is essentially comprised of aji amarillo, cheese, milk and crackers. I enjoyed this dish immensely, but C was not overly enthralled. He felt that the dumplings could have been a little bit more crispier as the edges were in his words ‘gummy’ and not a very appetizing texture.
However, the real star of our meal was the main course which we also shared, the Lechoncito Nikkei (translated into Nikkei style suckling pig).
Lovely cuts of meat with incredibly crispy and lightly salted skin served with a semi-sweet sauce reminiscent of plum sauce. Although they called it Nikkei, this for me had a far more Chinese quality than Japanese influence (but when it taste that good..you can call it what you want!) Its not often that I order pork but in my opinion when Pork is done well, it over-rides all other types of meat – and this was definitely the case with this dish.
Neither C nor myself are big on deserts when we go out and eat, but as everything we tired had been so good, we just had to continue! We ordered the Suspiro Trilogy, which is a play on a classic Peruvian desert called Suspiro Limeño (the Limenian Sigh) which ultimately is condensed milk with a soft port infused meringue and is truely a heavenly dish. They served three little pots with different flavours: Traditional, Lemon Grass and Coconut – it was the perfect way to end a brilliant meal (so much so I forgot to take a picture!)
As you have probably realised by now, both C and I loved this place, the staff were friendly, our waiter was professional and attentive and the ambiance for lunch was laid back and inviting – however, the prices definitely rival those of Astrid & Gaston. For our meal which consisted of 2 cocktails each, shared 2 starters, a main and a desert our bill came to roughly MEX 1,300 (US$100) which for Mexico standard is pricey, but we will definitely be going back!
Osaka – Peruano Oriental Ceviche & Sushi Bar
Presidente Masaryk 275