The other week, I was invited to dinner at Cocina Peruvia. It’s on the fifth level of the Podium Mall. They have been open since June and have become popular with the office crowd in the area. Cocina Peruvia also has branches in BGC and in Ayala Vertis.
The interiors are very Latin American – colorful and vibrant, like you just stepped into an actual Peruvian cantina.
Cocina Peruvia introduced new cocktails, and they are potent! I finished a Dark Mojito and started on the Mango Margarita and I was already feeling the effects. If you like your cocktails on the strong side, that’s how they make them here 🙂
Both the Dark Mojito and the Mango Margarita that I had were delicious. And traitors! (Traydor) 😀 The Dark Mojito had me sipping it like it was some sweet, minty soda tea, and the Mango Margarita was like drinking mango juice. I didn’t expect to get hit so quickly 😀
These are some of the cocktails:
Cocina Peruvia sports a new menu by Chef Him Uy de Baron. We were told that they fly in their spices from Peru, and try to make the dishes as authentic as they can.
Peru has a long coastline, which provides the country with abundant seafood. Peru also has the rich Andes mountains, which provide unique spices and plants. Peruvian cooking takes influences from Spanish, Italian, Chinese, Japanese and African settlers, and combined with their native Incan heritage, has developed into a particularly unique cuisine.
First, we started with appetizers, the Ceviche Mixto (P290) – Octopus, Squid, Shrimp and Mussel pieces in aji ricoto and citrus. It was a nice, appetizing start to our meal. The bright and sharp acidity of the ceviche whets the appetite for what’s next. Make sure to mix everything!
Next was the Nachos Peruanos – nachos topped with chicken marinated in lomo sauce and aji panca, onions, tomato, cucumber, and drizzled with purple olive mayo. I also liked this and could not help but keep munching on it. It’s not your usual tomato-sauce based nachos. It is sweet and creamy from the lomo sauce and the mayo, while the raw onions and aji panca spice things up.
Mixto Anticuchos (P600 / P1,000) – grilled beef heart, salmon belly and chicken thigh in skewers, served with chimichurri and aji anticucho sauces on the side. This is something to try if you haven’t tried beef heart before. I didn’t think I would like it, but I actually did. It did not taste like liver. It just tasted like a more bloody regular beef chunk (it’s cooked thoroughly; it is not bloody at all, it just tastes a bit like a rare steak in flavor). The three different meats were marinated differently, so don’t think that they all taste the same.
Patacones Salmon (P320) – fried plantain bananas (saba) topped with salmon, mayo mix, parmesan, and sofrito sauce
Gambas con Saltado (P450) – marinated shrimp and bell pepper, sauteed in aji panca and oregano
Lomo Saltado (P450 / P1190 for grande size) – marinated beef tenderloin, sauteed with garlic, onions, tomatoes, fried potatoes and lomo sauce
Adobo Peruvia (P400 / P1190 for grande size) – slow-cooked pork belly in cream sauce, topped with salsa creole. This is not the same as our local brown adobo. This dish was light in color, salty, and just begged for some rice! The pork belly was tender, and most of the fat has been rendered out, leaving only small strips of tender belly fat.
Arroz Verde con Pollo (P320 / P790 for grande size) – rice, stir-fried with cilantro puree, marinated chicken pieces and vegetables. Best drizzled with some lemon 🙂 while it tastes of cilantro, the cilantro flavor is not that strong because it’s tamed by the cooking
Galera de Chocolate (P350) – this is a dessert from Chef Miko Aspiras; baked chocolate tart with dark chocolate ganache, topped with blue corn chips and dried figs in rehydrated syrup; this was really good. Make sure to order it.
The flavors are strong and bold at Cocina Peruvia, as expected. But my favorite dish of the whole dinner has to be dessert!
The Galera de Chocolate is a baked chocolate tart that has a creamy, dense chocolate filling. Eaten with a bit of the figs with each bite, it just gives a nice texture contrast – crystalline crunch vs. melting, chocolatey creaminess.
I also liked the Adobo Peruvia. In spite of it being pork belly, it was delicious with the cream sauce and salsa creole. Definitely order some rice with this!
Other notable dishes were the Ceviche Mixto, which I liked for its punchy, bright acidity and abundance of chunky seafood. I also liked the Nachos Peruanos, which is a different take on the usual tomato-sauce based nachos. I just found myself munching on these non-stop.
The Mixed Anticuchos is something you might want to try, just because it’s a rare thing to find grilled beef heart! At first, I thought it would taste like organ meat and be liver-y, but it actually tasted very close to regular beef, with a slightly more pronounced beefiness and iron. The chicken thigh skewer was flavorful with spices like cumin, etc…
Their cocktails are good, but hella strong! If you love strong drinks, give Cocina Peruvia a try.
L5, Podium Mall, Ortigas Center
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