Malabar | Lima, Peru | Jan ’14 | “Amazonian”

18 Mar
  • Address: Av Camino Real 110, San Isidro 15073, Peru
  • Phone: +51 1 4405200
  • Price (after tax + tip, excl. drinks): $140
  • Courses: (10 main/ 13 total): 1 amuse/1 bread/8 savory/ 2 desserts/ 1 mignardise.
  • Price/Main Course:  $14
  • Rating: 13.5/20
  • Value: 1/5
  • Dining Time: 97 minutes
  • Time/Course (total): 11 minutes
  • Chef: Pedro Miguel Schiaffano
  • Style: Peruvian / Amazonian

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2014-01-06 14.20.52

Malabar is a bit different from 3 other renowned restaurants I visited in Lima (Astrid y Gastón, Maido, and Central). Strangely, none of the waitstaff speak English, so it was off to the races with my halting Spanish to comprehend the dish explanations. One can only imagine that this is a deliberate choice on the part of chef-owner Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, since during my lunch at Amaz (his more casual twist on the Amazonian concept, located in the upmarket Miraflores district) two days earlier, there were plenty of waitstaff who could speak English.

Another difference about Malabar was that it was the only one of the four in the San Isidro financial district, about 5km away from the Miraflores district.

While Malabar’s food was pleasant enough, I have to confess that reflecting on the meal 2 months later, no tastes really stick with me. It was nicely plated, but no one dish grabbed the stomach or made me remember the food besides that it was quite pleasant. Having had no immersion at all in this cuisine and its ingredients, I was running based purely on taste and smell. If one could eat with one’s eyes, this would be great cuisine. I have faith that the ingredients sourced here from the Amazon (which Chef Schiaffano leads a vanguard) are all very rare, but the concept of this restaurant seems to be first a showcase parade of unfamiliar ingredients brought into elegant visual forms, presented to the diner experimentally, to see which Amazonian ingredients are a hit with gourmands. I ended up appreciating Schiaffano’s gastronomic project to support conserving the Amazon ecosystem and culture, much more than the direct gastronomic results themselves.

For a better version of this type of Peruvian terroir cuisine, I would recommend Central over Malabar, which had at least 3 very memorable dishes.

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Menu

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2014-01-06 14.45.47

‘Mugaritz-style’ stone potatoes.

This is a very labour-intensive carnival piece. Each potato is baked with flour water brushed on top, 3-4 times each to get the desired stoney effect. For pure whimsy this dish was a home-run. This dish is the infamous stone potato of Mugaritz restaurant in Spain. – my Tapas Molecular Bar write-up.

2014-01-06 14.46.03 2014-01-06 14.47.13

Pisco Sour

Malabar is known for its Pisco cocktails. This was a great afternoon drink. The most memorable part of the meal for me.

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Bread

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Queso de castaña: Flores de jengibre, tomates confitados y congonilla (4.25/5)

2014-01-06 14.58.51

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Taidai de pescado con jugo de tumbo, mastuerzos y tobiko (4/5)

2014-01-06 14.59.342014-01-06 15.09.172014-01-06 15.09.12

Yuca: Mojo de naranja agria, fariña, tapioca y masato (4.25/5)

[Cassava: Mojo sour orange, farina, tapioca and masato ]

2014-01-06 15.16.54

Huatia de papa: Papa cocida en su tierra, charqui de alpaca y quinua negra (4/5)

[Huatia Potato: Potato, their land, jerky alpaca and black quinoa]

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Octopus, Pepper, Seaweed (4.5/5)

2014-01-06 15.25.50 2014-01-06 15.26.54 2014-01-06 15.31.49

Paiche en aji negro: Habitas regionales guisadas y maduros (3.75/5)

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Escolar en adobo: Cebollas de trenza y camotes crujientes (4.75/5)

The most remembered dish of that lunch – a spicy sambal-like covering around the escolar fish. I feel it is a bit facetious to serve the escolar in such meagre portions, but such is the tyranny of the tasting menu – would it not have been better served in a large portion, family-style? (I’m going off my experience with sambal stingray in Singapore, best served in hearty portions).

2014-01-06 15.42.06

2014-01-06 15.48.15

Puca picante de costillar de res (4.5/5)

Tasty and pliable to the knife.

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Chirimoya, plátanos manzanos y yogurt orgánico (4/5)

2014-01-06 15.58.402014-01-06 15.58.222014-01-06 16.04.09

Cacao: chocolates nacionales (4.5/5)

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Dulcecitos

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A spicy sweet.

4 Responses to “Malabar | Lima, Peru | Jan ’14 | “Amazonian””

  1. Michael January 28, 2015 at 3:56 pm #

    Any comments on Amaz? Planning to do Central and was thinking of Amaz for a counterpoint. Looks like you went but didn’t do the full review.

    Anything else from a street food perspective worth looking into?

    • kentiong January 28, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

      Hi Michael, can’t comment on street food in Lima – but I found Amaz generally good, especially a fish carpaccio with cashew oil (“tiradito”, but I might be mistaken) and their signature giant snails. Central and Malabar play up the Amazonian exoticism, at Amaz it seems just a twist on good cooking. worth trying.

      • Michael January 28, 2015 at 11:43 pm #

        Thanks Ken. Great site, great reviews. As a fellow consultant, I had a feeling you might be one as well.

        I’ll check out Amaz and Central. I think trying to do Central and Maido is too much for the time I’ll be there.

      • kentiong January 29, 2015 at 5:50 pm #

        Hi Michael, thanks for your kind words. Hope you enjoy yourself there and would love to hear your thoughts.

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