We wanted to show off, says Jan Van Nes, then he thinks about it and decides to drop the off. We wanted to show that our menu can go far beyond Ceviche and Aji de Gallinia, and showcase the amazing richness of the Peruvian kitchen that goes from comfort food and classic recipes to world class gastronomy.
Jan van Nes and his wife of 26 years Roxana Salinas – I won the lottery when I met her, he often declares, hosted an evening affair in honor of Peru’s 198 Independence Day at their Asi Es mi Peru Restaurant at Paradise Beach Villas.
They opened their restaurant in 2017, then added Las Brasas Peruanas, an authentic Peruvian Roast Chicken Rotisserie and an Ice Cream Kiosk, and were ready for the next challenge.
They enclosed the upper floor of their restaurant in glass, and created a private dining room, with a community table seating sixteen. They outfitted a small kitchen and unveiled the Fina Estampa, the Fine Impression, a five-course dinner menu, available for groups of up to 16, in the colorfully decorated, fully air-conditioned space.
Peruvian cuisine was born when indigenous cooks met European immigrants, Spanish, Italian, German, Chinese and Japanese, mixing in local ingredients such as corn, potatoes — growing more than 3800 potato varieties – and quinoa.
And according to Roxana, the whole world is now interested in native Peruvian foods and culinary techniques, adding exotic potatoes, red and black quinoa to menus, around the globe.
The Fina Estampa by Chef David Lizano started with three bite-size amuse, Ceviche, Causa Limena and a tiny fish ball, all beautifully garnished, each sitting in their own perfect dollop of sauce.
The amuse was chased by a stuffed Aji pepper, nestled on a cushion of the world’s creamiest, fluffiest quinoa.
A layered masterful soup followed starring a quinoa crusted shrimp with a quail egg crown, floating mid rich, velvety shrimp broth, perched on a crescent of puree, complemented by green lima beans and diced Peruvian potatoes.
The first main course, Seco de Pescado under a cloud of alfalfa sprouts, presented delicately grilled and seasoned fresh fish, surrounded by a medley of typical, multi-colored Peruvian potatoes. The second main course, the Estofado de Carne con Majao de Yuca en salsa de Aji Amarillo, was off-the-chart delicious. The mashed yucca, flavored with Aji Amarillo, sans heat, was incredible.
For dessert, a trio of world-wonders, Lucuma ice cream – the Lucuma fruit is often referred to as the Gold of the Incas — tiny twin macaroons, and a Picaron, a sweet potato and pumpkin, typical Peruvian donut with honey glaze.
Peruvian Wines, Vinos Intipalka, from the Valle Del Sol, really surprising top wines from Peru, especially the Malbec, were responsible for the festive mood and chatty, grateful guests around the community table.
Roxana invited some of her young compatriots to introduce the guests to Peruvian folklore coming together from African, Spanish & Peruvian sources, with two dances, one from the highlands and Andes, and one from the Amazon Jungle, both stylized, beautiful courtship stories of a man and a woman, and a harvest dance from the coastal areas, all in striking brightly colored costumes.
Great for birthday parties or family gatherings, good time guaranteed.