Awicha – Contempory Peruvian Cuisine at its Finest!

On our last night in Lima we decided to leave the boys at home with the grandparents and enjoy a much needed adults only evening. We met up with C’s close friend Lucho who is the BEST person to go eating with. His knowledge of food is excellent, his enthusiasm is infectious and his appetite – endless.  

He suggested that we go to Awicha which currently is one of his favourite spots in town. Located in an old colonial house in Barranco, Awicha has a homely yet sophisticated vibe to it. It is a small and intimate restaurant specialising in contemporary Peruvian cuisine. Apart from the warm and welcoming décor, the most striking feature of the restaurant is its central kitchen which dominates the dining room – jutting out, a bit like a Captain’s wheelhouse – and allows the chefs to be part of your dining experience.

From the moment I entered Awicha- which means Grandmother in Quecheua- I felt welcomed. The atmosphere in the restaurant was very relaxed and the wait staff were polite, friendly and knowledgeable.

I started off the evening with an exceptionally good passionfruit pisco sour – which I drank far too quickly as A) it was delicious, and B) I had just spent the previous 2 hours trying to placate a feral child (my youngest) from the most epic of public meltdowns – I really needed something to take the edge off! I think every mother can relate…

Due to the aforementioned public meltdown, I had little headspace left to make any decisions – and was very happy when C and Lucho decided they would take charge of the ordering. They ordered multiple starters and main courses which we shared over the course of the evening.

We kicked off the evening with the chef’s fish tartare, which was fresh, light and zingy and probably my favourite dish of the evening, followed by the Mexican inspired Aguachile of scallops and then the perfectly grilled and tender squid.

For the mains we had the Chinese style steamed fish, the curried risotto with scallops, the duck ceviche (which is not raw duck but in fact cooked duck that has been marinated in various citrus fruits beforehand), and the braised short ribs with mashed potatoes and strawberry. Apart from the last dish which felt a bit clumsy compared to the others, they were all delicious. It is obvious that the chef has put a lot of thought into his ingredient combinations – not just in terms of flavour but texture too. There were wonderful bursts of sweetness or unexpected pops of crunch ensuring a very multi-layered and dynamic meal.

This was all paired with a naturally sparkling or Pet-Nat wine from Peru which was introduced to us by our very knowledgeable sommelier. Bodega Murga is a winery based in Pisco (a region of Peru) which makes Pet-Nat wines from grapes traditionally used to make pisco (the drink). I found these Pet-Nat wines particularly exciting as I had never tried anything like them before. With their slightly earthier flavours and lighter tones, this effervescent wine pairs really well with Peruvian food.

All the dishes were presented beautifully – elegant yet not fussy. The mismatched crockery in various blue and white hues, as well as the graceful pressed glasses that would not be out of place in your grandmother’s house, makes you feel right at home. Coupled with the friendly service, Awicha is the sort of place you want to have a long leisurely meal in.

We loved our evening at Awicha and I would highly recommend to book a table if you find yourself in Lima! My top tip would be to order multiple dishes and share them as we did so you are able to sample the breadth of their dishes and experience the abundance of fantastic Peruvian produce– but please remember to order the Chef’s fish tartare for me!

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