Mestizo Cocina Peruana - South American, South of Adelaide

Mestizo Cocina Peruana - 114 Partridge Street, Glenelg SA

I (Amanda) love to go out for lunch on a Saturday and always endeavour to try somewhere new.  On this occasion I made my way to Glenelg to try Peruvian food for the first time. Not really sure what to expect, we arrive at this fairly new establishment to see a modern but classic fit out. It looks like it may have been an old house that has had some modern changes. There is beautiful heritage ceiling detail, chandelier, wine rack and open fire place with clean lined solid wooden tables that are widely spaced throughout the medium sized room. The seating arrangements are varied with only two traditional tables for 4 people, then a few high bar type tables with high stools, a long communal table with low stools and a few tables with couches to relax on. There is also a bar along the back wall with stools to sit at and to one side is an open kitchen.

Mestizo opens at 1pm on Saturdays which I am notified at the time of booking. They also call the day before to confirm your booking which I find a nice touch. We are greeted on arrival and are able to select our own table. The waiter provides an explanation of the menu and answers our questions regarding Peruvian food. The menu is designed for sharing so we decide to select 2 small and 2 larger plates to share.

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Papa Rellena De Carne, Aji Amarillo Sauce $8.00
We begin with the Papa Rellena De Carne, Aji Amarillo Sauce which is described as fried stuffed potato with beef mince, botja olives and hard boiled egg. I loved this dish as the potato outer had a nice crunch but still kept a soft fluffy inner before reaching the well seasoned mince meat, olives and egg combination in the middle. The yellow sauce (aji amarillo) is made from yellow chilli and gives a wonderful spiciness to the sauce.

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Yuquita $7.00
We then try the Yuquita which is described as fried cassava balls, huancaina sauce and house made queso fresco. Cassava we are told is a starchy root vegetable native to South America and is similar to the yuca. The cassava is mixed with some flour to make these delightful doughy balls, a satisfying starter dish. The huancaina sauce is similar to the aji amarillo but it has been blitzed with cream cheese to bring creaminess to this slightly spicy sauce. The queso fresco which we discover is a type of cheese is smooth and adds some great saltiness to the dish. I thought this was another great dish to start my new love affair with Peruvian food!

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Lomo Saltado $18.00
Moving onto the larger plates we start with the Lomo Saltado described as wok fried beef fillet, aji amarillo and ginger sauce, tomato, onion and papas fritas (or fried potatoes). The waiter also suggested ordering a serve of garlic rice to accompany this dish, which was a great suggestion. The beef fillet was cooked to perfection. It was so soft I was sure it was going to melt in my mouth! The beef had a beautiful pink centre and combined with the delicious ginger flavours, bursts of fresh tomato and subtle garlic flavoured rice, I was in Peruvian heaven! The fried potatoes were lacking some crunch and colour and were rather paler and softer than I was expecting but it didn't let the dish down at all for me.

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Causa De Salmon $18.00
Our next large plate was the Causa De Salmon described as in house hot smoked salmon, pimento rojo, coriander salsa and chimichurri. When taking my first bite of this dish I receive a surprise, it's cold!  I was expecting a hot dish but after tasting all the different delicious components, I was not disappointed. The smoked salmon and flavoursome chimichurri was sitting atop of a mashed potato ball. The pimento rojo or red pepper salsa (is how I would describe it) was so refreshing it assisted with breaking up the starchy textures of the potato.

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Dessert Special
By this stage we were really full but when our waiter informs us they don't have a dessert menu but rather have one dessert special that changes often we couldn't refuse, so we decide to share. When the dessert arrives, it is presented so beautifully but we notice a lot of mango scattered across the plate.  My guest for the lunch is allergic to mango so we quickly alert the waiter and he liaises with the chef. Within minutes he returns with a smaller version of the dessert with no mango in sight, prepared compliments of the chef! My guest was most impressed with this thoughtful generosity.

This dessert had many different elements on the plate including a cherry flavoured pannacotta, a strawberry & mint mousse on top of a crisp buttery shortbread, and a golden berry granita, decorated with mango and watermelon cubes, biscuit crumbs and fresh mint. Overall it was a very refreshing dessert which was very enjoyable.

Service was attentive and friendly, with the food served promptly throughout our lunch. The only time the service wavered was once dessert was completed and we wanted to pay the bill and leave. All the waiters seemed to have disappeared, so a process that should only take a few minutes took about 10. On departure, the waiter did mention to return for dinner sometime as the ambiance is completely different. I would like to give this a try as today's lunch service only saw 3 other couples dine in, so it was a very intimate and quiet experience.

Overall I loved my first Peruvian experience!  All the food was plated beautifully and I loved trying all the intriguing Peruvian flavours, textures and combinations. I definitely recommend catching up with a couple of friends here over a cocktail and some shared dishes next time you are looking for something different on a night out.

Vegetarian/Vegan Friendly: A few small plate and a couple large plate options
Child Friendly: I would leave the kids at home for this one!

Ambiance: 2.5/5 - Beautiful interior but very quiet on this particular day
Service: 4/5 - Friendly and informative table service
Food: 9/10 - Loved all the different Peruvian flavours

In total OTCB gives Mestizo Cocina Peruana 15.5/20 chops on The Chopping Board

Mestizo Cocina Peruana on Urbanspoon



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