Address: 3/F, Grand Progress Building, 15 Lan Kwai Fong, Central中環蘭桂坊15號協興大廈3樓
Telephone: 2790 0928
After the success of Chicha, the Peruvian restaurant on Peel Street, a new Peruvian restaurant has recently sprung up in Lan Kwai Fong in Central. MAYTA Peruvian Kitchen & Pisco Bar is Dining Concepts‘ new baby. Taking over the space of Blue Smoke Bar-B-Que in Grand Progress Building, Mayta is a spacious and stylish eatery where you can enjoy a selection of house-infused Peruvian cocktails and innovative Spanish-, Japanese- and Chinese-inspired Peruvian dishes for sharing, designed by celebrated Peruvian chef, Jamie Pesaque.
I came with my friend for lunch on a Saturday and was pleasantly surprised by how reasonably priced their lunch menu was. The set lunches ranged from $118 to $128, and came with four different taster-sized dishes.
(1) There were 4 options on the lunch menu, and each option was named after a city in Peru. We ordered one called “Puno” ($128), and the presentation of the dishes in this wooden tray reminded me of smart Japanese set lunches served in trays.
The Tuna ceviche, cucumber, candied ginger, avocado with Nikkei leche de tigre was a winner for me. The tuna and the avocado were cut into very appropriately sized chunks, and the Nikkei leche de tigre, which was sour, sweet and spicy at the same time, tasted bright and refreshing. Leche de tigre, which means “tiger’s milk”, is a Peruvian citrus-based marinade that is used to cure seafood in a ceviche. I am not sure what a “Nikkei” leche de tigre is, but presumably the marinade was Japanese-inspired and hence a little bit sweet.
The “Beef anticucho”, panca chili marinade, confit potato, choclo and huancaína sauce was delicious too. The huancaína (pronounced “wan-kay-eena”) sauce, a very popular sauce in Peruvian dishes, was complementary with the beef, and the beef anticucho, touched by the taste of herbs, was beautifully grilled on the surface while still raw and tender on the inside.
Another Asian-infused dish was the Stir fried beef, red onion, tomato, potato chips and soy sauce. While the dish was quite pleasant, the beef was a tad chewy and it also tasted too salty for me.
The Quinoa salad with miso dressing was vibrant, and the seasoning was lovely. Quinoa, pronounced as “keen-wah”, is originated from Latin America and is seen in recent years as a vegetarian superfood as it contains many essential amino acids and minerals and is very rich in fibre and proteins. I always love quinoa salads, as quinoa has an interesting texture and slightly pops in the mouth.
(2) The second set lunch we ordered was called “Cusco” ($118).
The Sea bass ceviche, red onions, Peruvian corn and classic leche de tigre had a seasoning that was spot-on, with the sourness and spiciness being completely balanced. The Peruvian corn (the white, round things in the photo below) was slightly sticky and chewy and added an additional type of texture to the ceviche.
The “Chicken anticucho”, chifa marinade, confit potato, choclo and rocoto sauce tasted marvellously tangy, but the chicken was too veiny and chewy.
Aji de gallina is a traditional Peruvian chicken stew cooked a spicy cheese sauce. The “Aji de gallina” chicken breast, yellow chili sauce, potato, organic egg was satisfyingly creamy and was excellent to go with some rice.
(3) Desserts could be ordered at an additional $30, and we tried the “Suspiro de limena” dulce de leche, quinoa cookie, olive oil ice cream, almond oil, grilled pineapple and fell in love with it. The olive oil ice cream had a rustically coarse texture and tasted fabulous, and the grilled pineapple and quinoa cookie were also scrumptious. These were held together nicely by the dulce de leche, which was enticingly thick and sweet.
(4) The Picarones, peruvian doughnut balls, chocolate sauce, eucalyptus honey, picked berries, on the other hand, was left unfinished by us. The doughnut balls were deliciously crispy, but unfortunately had a rather greasy taste. We were quite full by then, so we found this dessert too filling for us!
(5) I had a brief chat with the bartender at Mayta and apparently their Pisco Sour, a typical South American cocktail made with the liquor Pisco, was pretty authentic and awesome. I could not handle alcoholic drinks at lunch that day, so I just ordered a Passion Fruit Refresco ($48) (“refresco” meaning “soft drink”), which was fruity and refreshing.
Conclusion: The ambience at Mayta is sleek and laid-back and the set lunches are very budget-friendly. My friends who have visited the restaurant for dinner told me that their meal only cost around $400 per head, which was very reasonable for a restaurant in Central. The innovative, contemporary dishes here may not be the most authentic Peruvian food, but they are surely tasty enough to be able to tickle some of Hong Kong’s curious tongues.