PERUVIAN BRUNCH EN FAMILLE
by Chené Koscielny
Forget about bacon and eggs or pancakes! There is a new brunch in town – this winter the Peruvian gastronomic restaurant Yakumanka at the Mandarin Oriental hotel in Geneva proposes something different to spice up your lazy Sunday morning: A typical Peruvian brunch.
We love our traditional family brunches and it took a bit of persuasion to get the children interested, but in the end everyone agreed to give it a try.
To read an earlier review of Yakumanka – click here.
CHILLED ATMOSPHERE OF A PERUVIAN CEBICHERIA
The atmosphere is relaxing imitating a traditional cebicheria where Peruvians gather to eat cebiches and where plates are meant for sharing among friends.
It’s never too early for a pisco sour – the traditional Peruvian cocktail …, particularly when it’s grey and miserable outside. The colourful green tables and blue walls with playful Peruvian touches also help to lift the spirits.
We nibble on the traditional snack: canchas – Peruvian choclo (big corn kernels) toasted in oil and served with a seriously addictive mayonnaise sauce featuring coriander, a feisty red Peruvian chili called rocoto, onions and tomatoes. The choclo have to be spooned into your plate and mixed with the spicy mayonnaise sauce.
FRESH FISH FOR STARTERS
Yakumanka is known for its ceviche and fresh fish, so it’s no surprise that the brunch menu kicks off with a series of fishy starters.
First up is the Nigiri Chifa – made from salmon bass with a Nikkei sauce comprising sesame oil, oyster sauce, and ginger, which has the texture of honey and bears testimony to the Japanese influence on the Peruvian cuisine. Japanese immigrants moved to Peru in the 19th century. Delicious!
This is followed by the most impressive Conchitas Parras – Saint Jaques scallops served on the shell with the popular leche de tigre sauce (made from stockfish, coriander, lemon, onion and garlic). The scallops are dotted with coriander oil.
Everyone loved this!
To conclude the fresh fish menu – we enjoy salmon tiradito – salmon with the same leche de tigre sauce, this time infused with coral from the scallop shell. Topped with a basil chimmichurri. Watch out for the red Peruvian chillies!
MOVING ONTO HEAVIER DISHES
Next up was the Papa Relenna is a funny-looking little submarine-shaped savoury cake arrived next, made from a manioc (a shrub native to South America) puree and filled with mince mixed with garlic, panca and a huancaine (cheesy pepperery) sauce – this reminded us of good old English cottage pie with a bit of a twist.
The main course consisted of 3 generous dishes to share –
a roast chicken, rich vegetable soup and fried fish.
The grilled chicken was served with a tari sauce and yummy roasted potatoes, a safe bet for fussy eaters.
The fried fish – tallarin saltado – was delicious with tomato and onion chunks.
The soup (El Chupe), my favourite, was a deliciously thick broth with huacatay – a green chilli sauce, corn and a drifting poached egg.
The dessert buffet table offers an interesting mix of typically Peruvian desserts, including a rice pudding, a tiramisu with a twist – the lucuma fruit, a deliciously rich chocolate cake and the Peruvian version of crème caramel with wait for it… quinoa – this was my favourite.
There is also a beautifully colourful fresh fruit salad.
The cost: CHF89 per person, excluding drinks.
Children: CHF34 per person (including drinks)
Children under the age of 6 don’t pay.
There is also a children’s room and entertainer for little ones, so you can enjoy your brunch uninterrupted.
I do sometimes get a bit bored with the hotel brunch concept, so this meal was refreshingly different and is a fabulous family experience because of the sharing plates and variety of food.
A great way to introduce the children to a different culture.
The fresh fish dishes are exceptionally good.
NOTE: Our meal was sponsored by Yakumanka – we work only with brands we believe would appeal to our audience and we tell it like it is.
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