by guest reviewer Nyree (@eerynnyree)
A few weeks ago, while procrastinating on Facebook, I saw a post about a new pop-up Peruvian restaurant in Peterborough. With a brother living in Peru’s bustling capital Lima, and having just returned from two weeks there myself, it caught my eye.
I booked for the first pop-up Peru evening on 9th May. The venue was Club Caliente at Parnwell Centre, an unusual choice but it actually worked well on the night with plenty of space to accommodate all attendees. The Peruvian music and decorations helped create the right atmosphere.
I’m glad to say that I managed to persuade a few people to come along with me for the first evening, including commuter Laura whose PR colleagues in London assumed the pop-up Peruvian restaurant she was visiting must be in some trendy London location. She was delighted to be able to tell them it was infact taking place in her home town.
Laura, I and the nine others in our party joined the rest of the diners on the night – around 45 guests altogether. The menu incorporated Peruvian classics like delicious and refreshing ceviche (raw fish cured in lime juice with chilli, corn and sweet potato), lomo saltado (Tender strips of pan prime beef, onions, tomatoes, and cassava chips), alfajor (traditional Peruvian soft biscuit dessert) and a complimentary pisco sour (cocktail frequently served in Peru).
The food was delicious. One of the diners in my party posted her resoundingly positive review on Facebook after the meal – “the best meal out I have had all year”. The highlight for me was the sea-bass ceviche which I’d been looking forward to having sampled plenty of it in Lima. The lomo saltado was cooked perfectly and presented beautifully.
If this was Come Dine with Me, points would be lost for a slight delay between courses, the lack of veggie options, plus jugs of water on the tables would have been nice. However these are all teething problems which I am assured will be ironed out for the next pop-up Peru evening. At the end of the meal the chef came round to take feedback and meet the diners. The friendliness of the team behind Rico Peru and the personal touch made all the difference on the night.
Set up by Christian Castillo and his partner Kristina, the eventual aim is to establish a permanent Peruvian restaurant in Peterborough, probably in the city centre. But the monthly pop-up helps create a buzz in the city and allows as many people as possible to enjoy the considerable charms of Peruvian food and culture.
Kristina was previously a head chef in a high profile Italian restaurant, whilst Christian runs a successful, global, business selling Peruvian sauces. He supplies Fortnum and Mason, Selfridges, and Van Hage in Peterborough amongst others (see www.ricopicante.co.uk)
Billed by the BBC as ‘the next big thing’ Peruvian food is set to become a common sight in the UK – I’m so glad Peterborough is getting in on the act early. I wish Rico Peru every success and recommend you book immediately for the next pop up evening on 13th June 2013.