Bread – Red Pepper Butter
Dried Corn Lawa – Chicharrones, Cheese, Broad Beans, Ollucos
Alpaca Carpaccio – Borraja Flowers, Cipriani Sauce, Potato Chips, Andean Pesto
Peking Guinea Pig – Purple Corn Crepe, Rocoto Hoisin, Pickled Turnip, Carrot
Chicha Platter – Chicharrones, Beef Tequenos, Beef Heart Anticucho, Stuffed Potatoes, Uchucuta Sauce, Onion Sara Criolla, Gigante Corn
Coca Fried Milk – Vanilla Cream, Quinoa Ice Cream
Chocolate Balloon – Crunchy Broad Bean Bomb, Clay Oven Apple Filling, Cinnamon Foam, Loche Ice Cream, Toffee Sauce with Maras Salt
Although his name might not be as well-known as many celebrity Chefs there is no doubt Peruvian food would not be where it is today without Gaston Acurio, he and wife Astrid Gutsche making their mark at Lima’s Astrid & Gaston before opening several other Restaurants including Chicha in Cusco.
Considered by many to be a more casual entry point to the couple’s globally-influenced Cuisine, the website’s proclamation that “Chicha is about regional food: the produce, traditions and culture from each location elevated with good culinary techniques” doing a fair job of describing local ingredients prepared in a variety of manner that embrace lands as far off as China, it is quickly upon entering the second floor space that guests are led to tables between Bar and Kitchen in a room decorated with dried vegetation.
Open from noon to 10:30pm daily, a bilingual staff essential as the vast majority of diners are travelers en route to Machu Picchu, it was without uttering a word that menus written in English were provided with sections labeled “Starters, Main Dishes and Desserts,” a basket featuring two styles of Bread soon brought out alongside balls of Butter blended with vibrant Red Peppers.
Not planning on a large meal after a full day of eating and traveling plus an early wake-up call to the Incan Citadel upcoming, the decision to partake in only Appetizers and Desserts allowing for a wide variety of tastes without being overwhelming, it was with the room less than 1/4 full that the kitchen quickly sent forth a creamy Corn Soup afloat with Pork Belly and Beans divided into two bowls, the flavors subtle but pleasant and a good lead-in to thinly shaved Alpaca Flesh dressed in traditional Cipriani Dressing plus local Potatoes, Herbs and Flowers.
Taking a second look at Cuy to follow, the Peruvian delicacy in this instance cooked crisp and served with housemade Pancakes plus Condiments akin to what one might receive with Peking Duck, those looking for something a bit less exotic would do well to request the “Chicha Platter,” an Appetizer suggested for sharing that includes traditional grilled Cow’s Heart, Crispy Pork and Potatoes plus Pastries stuffed with Beef.
Offering a wide variety of local Coffee drinks to finish, a Double Espresso over Ice apparently novel to the server, it was keeping in mind an advisory that the Chocolate Balloon “takes a while to prepare” that it plus another Dessert were requested, the tableside pour of Chocolate and melting dome that gives way to a treasure-trove of flavors and textures expectedly drawing the eyes of spectators but the fried Cream infused with Coca Leaves and complimentary Alfajors both holding their own with the former particularly delicate and the Ice Cream atop flavored a lot like toasted Oats with just a hint of sweetness.