It started with my quest for ceviche, a must have dish in Lima. I had been told to head to Punto Azul for the best ceviche but when I found the casual restaurant closed I thought I would do a walk by of Astrid y Gamon, as I had read about the restaurant back in Melbourne. On wandering past the mysterious closed grey doors, a passerby told me that it was open at 12:30.
It was 12:20 and I was starving.
Lima is not only the food capital of Peru, it boosts to be the food capital of South America. It has two restaurants in the Top 50, the same as Brazil and Australia.
With my Spanish phrasebook opened at the Eating chapter, I wandered in past the Peruvian suits of wealthy Miraflores, and asked in my best es-pan-yol if they had una mesa por favor? They did indeed have a table for one and I was asked if I would like to do the Tasting Menu.
Si. You only live once right?
The Tasting Menu for Winter 2013 is El Viaje. It consists of 25 dishes divided into five acts. These acts tell a story of an Italian immigrant and his journey to Peru. As expected, the menu is an Italian and Peruvian fusion. There is a leather bound wallet given to me to keep which contains the story, a passport and letter from home, as well a CD of the music which is playing in the restaurant. I feel overwhelmed. And underdressed.
It takes me three hours to get through the experience which features alpaca tortellini, guinea pig terrine, ceviche and five out of this world desserts. I was full by the 16th dish. But with pisco sour in hand I completed the best food experience I have ever had (sorry Argentina).
Although this meal didn't cost me anything near what it would cost in Melbourne, Sao Paulo or Europe, it was three days worth of budget. But at least I didn't need dinner.