Chef’s Pisco Sour
Peruvian Celebrity Chef Eduardo Vargas, Qba Latin Bar and Grill
Peruvian cuisine has to be some of the most delicious in the world! Blessed with a vast range of climates from the high altitude Andes mountains to the bountiful Pacific Ocean, the South American country benefits from some of the most varied and finest produce available to any population in the world.
For a limited time only (27 November to 7 December, 2013), diners in Kuala Lumpur are treated to a very special tasting experience of this wonderful cocina at Qba Latin Bar and Grill at the Westin Kuala Lumpur.
Celebrity Chef, Eduardo Vargas, is the owner of a number of renowned restaurants of international acclaim in Shanghai, including Azul Tapas, Azul Urban, Ceviche and Chicha Lounge and, graces KL with his culinary skills sharing with guests some of the greatness from his South American roots for this week only. This is cuisine we adore and wouldn’t dream of missing the opportunity to indulge in it, so hubby and I make a date to revel in some of our favourite dishes.
Chef Abel and Chef EduardoAlthough the meal is paired with Miguel Torres wines, the only true way to begin is with a good strong Pisco based cocktail. The classic Pisco Sour is made well, but Chef Eduardo is a perfectionist. It doesn’t have the right balance he says, so he struts to the bar to instruct on its preparation and returns with a much more refined libation. It starts with a creamy sweetness from the egg white and syrup and finishes with a palate tingling tang from lime and clear liquor. We like Chef’s version – another round please!
Pisco Sour Wine pairing is kept simple with a red and a white joining the meal. The Miguel Torres Santa Digna Reserve range is offered as a sauvignon blanc and a carmenere. The white brings a clean crisp finish smoothed over with a hint of lemongrass at the very end and makes the perfect friend for the seafood dishes. The red goes particularly well with the red meat courses with its touch of citrus on the nose and slightly peppery palate.
Miguel Torres Santa Digna WinesA set menu is a great way to experience a number of dishes in the one sitting. A range of a la carte and tapas items though allow for a bit more choice. We ask Chef Eduardo to take the lead in ordering and end up with delectable dishes from each menu.
Crab Causa(RM18++) is shredded crab meat with an avocado sauce, rocoto (Peruvian capsicum) emulsion and black caviar. A zig zag of orange huancaina sauce (sauce from Huancayo made from Peruvian yellow pepper and soft white cheese) stripes the plate with small chunks of avocado and oversized plump kernels of dried corn adding texture.
Crab CausaBeef Heart Anticucho(RM18++) is a classic skewer dish in Peru. Chef Eduardo’s version is marinated with cumin, chili, garlic and red wine vinegar. It comes with huancaina sauce, crispy potato, corn salt and chimichurri (fresh herbs, oil and vinegar) sauce. The spice is not an aggressive punch in the mouth like a Malaysian sambal. It’s similar in strength to local chili but glides in like a true Latino, softening the palate before it shows its full strength.
Beef Heart AnticuchoLamb Anticucho(RM48++) is the lamb version of the skewers. Yoghurt, cumin and honey sauce is a flawless dip alongside the mint mojo. Red quinoa tabouleh is a refreshing side mix of nutty grain-like seeds with a firm texture. In the seesaw of flavours, tart lime outweighs the splash of extra virgin olive oil making it a lively companion.
Lamb Anticucho Classic Ceviche (RM32++), made from sea bass and leche de tigre (tiger’s milk – lime, onion, chili and other seasonings that cure the raw fish) is a MUST order. Sweet potato, and dried and steamed corn add interest, while the tangy lime-y dressing is so more-ish we want to drink up every last drop.
Classic Ceviche Duck Escaveche(RM18++) features full flavoured strips of braised duck leg piled in mounds between panca sauce and sweet potato. It’s well cooked and meaty.
Duck EscavecheTiradito de Langostinos (from the set menu) is next with a citrus vinaigrette and prawn sashimi, of course done Peruvian style. Served in a sloping black bowl, it’s not only pretty but also decadently delicious.
Tiradito de LangostinosScallops a la Parmesena (RM18++) are presented on two fan shells with aji amarillo (yellow pepper sauce), grilled Parmesan, Pisco and lime wedges. It’s recommended to first squeeze some lime on top then indulge in the fleshy scallops, finally picking the rest of the chewy grilled cheese off the edges of the shell.
Scallops a la Parmesena Of the starters, every one is slurpable, gulpable and clean-your-plate worthy. The signature spice and generous use of lime juice create irresistible combinations that make you want to guzzle, suck, and lick your way through each one.
Red Snapper “Chupe Style”(from the set menu) comes on a pond of red and green chupe and pea sauces providing the first in ascending layers from rich and creamy to refreshingly tart. Ricotta ravioli is next in the stratum supporting a juicy thick fish fillet. It’s topped with an onion salsa finishing the strands with in a peak of sharpness. Again the spice is initially deceiving. It creeps up on you and ends with a good nostril cleansing. We both love the flavours in this dish but find the fish could be a touch flakier to suit our personal preferences.
Red Snapper “Chupe Style”The most rave-worthy dish for the night is the spectacularly tender Lomo Saltado (RM108++). This Peruvian extravagance showcases succulent beef tenderloin stir fried with a soy-garlic jus and sided with rice. The meat is soft and melts in our mouths – not because it’s fatty but because it’s perfectly cooked. It’s not greasy. It’s all flesh. It is the most fall-off-the-fork-beef I’ve had in months. The sauce is rich and mouth filling. Yellow capsicum, spring onions, and potato are also luxuriously coated in the beef jus. The rice is nothing ordinary either. Full of herbs, dotted with white beans and, fried on the outside, it’s textured and hearty.
Lomo SaltadoArroz con Mariscos(RM68++), spicy seafood rice, is mixed with piquillo pepper, peas, corn, rice and tomato. It mistakenly looks like a Spanish paella with its fluffy rice and crustaceans served in a flat black paellera (paella pan). It’s not though. This dish is wetter than a paella, has chili and, no saffron. Big pieces of fresh seafood – octopus, prawns, scallops, mussels and squid – grandly muscle up the veges and grains.
Arroz con Mariscos Chicha Sour Sorbet is not just a palate cleanser but an intriguing ‘in-between’ twist. It’s slightly creamier than a sorbet, gentle but still cleaning. Mauve in colour, it’s served in a martini glass and could easily be enjoyed as a dessert.
Chicha Sour Sorbet All desserts on the Peruvian menu cost RM18++. We try them all!
Suspiro a la Lima Style nearly gives hubby an orgasm with its smooth, sweet creaminess. Slightly fluid dulce de leche (caramel) and uncooked thick decadent swirls of meringue, will throw any sweet tooth into gasps of sugar ecstasy. This one is too sweet for our local friends, but decadently delicious for both hubby and I. Our spoons fight over the last drops and, I have to remind hubby that it’s not polite to lick the edges of the glass with his tongue (even though my thoughts mimic his actions).
Suspiro a la Lima Style Peruvian Flansounds like a humble homey dish, but the presentation is far from it. A woven toffee cylinder circles a profoundly creamy middle mound of flan. Hubby’s orgasmic murmurs continue as he declares it the best flan he has ever tasted.
Peruvian Flan Cacao Three Waysis topped with luscious waves of velvety mousse. Digging to the bottom gifts us with jelly cubes and cake, making it highly desirable to our local dinner dates. Personally I thought the extras were unnecessary and would have happily taken a bowl of just the mousse home with me.
Cacao Three Ways Peruvian Lime Piefinishes the meal with a lovely contrast of tang and sweet. A coat of chocolate paints the interior of a thin crisp case. A tart lime curd is crowned with a thick textured uncooked meringue that is velvety smooth. Dried lime adorns the top but too should be eaten as it gives a sharp tang that cuts through the saccharine filling.
Peruvian Lime Pie The Peruvian dinner experience with celebrity chef Eduardo Vargas is available from 28 November to the 7 December, 2013. The five-course set menu is valued at RM248++ per person with wine pairing, or RM168++ for food only. A la carte dishes and tapas are available from RM18++ throughout the promotional period.
Guests wanting to try their hand at making a few Peruvian dishes themselves can participate in a hands-on cooking class with Chef Eduardo Vargas on 7 December for RM148++ per person. Please note that seats are limited and prior reservations are required.
Reasons to visit: A rare opportunity to sample authentic Peruvian food on this side of the world and perhaps too a chance to learn how to make some for yourself. Our DON’T MISS list: Peruvian Flan, Lomo Saltado, Crab Causa
Qba Latin Bar and Grill
The Westin Kuala Lumpur
199 Jalan Bukit Bintang
55100 Kuala Lumpur
+6 03 2731 8333
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Food Blog by: THe Yum List