I hate people who are not serious about their meals. -- Oscar Wilde

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Amor Amar Restaurante, Lima

Om Nomz Hero Note to Self: Stop taking the crappiest looking taxis. Splurge and pay the extra 4 soles for a nicer one

I am pretty sure that my taxi driver was trying to kill me when he made the most abrupt stop ever on Garcia y Garcia Street in Barranco. I was on my way to go eat at Amor Amar and when I told him, “para aqui” that apparently meant hit the brakes as hard as possible and attempt to fling me to the front seat. I guess for finagling the smooth price of 6 soles, I may have deserved it. Barranco is a working class area of Lima, at least this is how it was described to me but it is just a bit less residential than Miraflores. I was going to try out this new place called Amor Amar and walking down the street, there was absolutely no sign of a restaurant here. When I arrived at Amor Amar, it was just a sign and I almost had to force my way in through the heavy door. I guess they were trying to go for the Secret Garden or speakeasy theme because it worked I guess. Once you step in, you are completely transported to a swank, airy and sexy space. Sexy is the only way I can describe it, I expected there to be just hot women lounging around and given the way the hostess was dressed, my mind was not far off. Sorry, back to the restaurant. 
Amor Amar is fairly new and opened about the previous year. It is owned by the same folks that run Pescado Capitales and I was eager to try it. The start off, I got a complimentary shot of leche de tigre. Surprisingly, I think this the first time I actually had it given the amount of cevicherias I have eaten at. It is basically the run off juices of ceviche and it is suppose to get your appetite going. 
Tiger Milk
 This is obviously a more refined version but it was good nonetheless, acidic, slightly fishy (good thing in this case) and spicy I was ready and hungry. Rarely have I had a bread basket at any place I have eaten at here in Peru, I mean I guess if the majority of your travel diet is from street/market food you should not be really expecting one. The bread, a rosemary brioche, a wheat roll and grissini was hot, soft and tasty. The kicker was the “butter” that came with it. It was not just “butter” it was whipped butter with cheese, honey crumble, dehydrated olives and honey. I could have just eaten this butter concoction on its own, sweet, savory, salt and dare I say, unami? It hit ever taste bud.
I had a few tasty bites in the market that morning, and wanted something simple so I started out with a no shit ceviche of sole and octopus. The ceviche came out with of course, sweet potato and the huge mutant corn. The ceviche was the textbook example of what a ceviche should be. The octopus was sliced thin and the acidity tenderized it and did not have any gumminess to it. It paired nicely with the fish and slices of hot peppers added a nice spicy bite. Food after jump!

Awesome Bread and cheese-butter thing
The next dish was a rockfish cooked a la plancha, think of it as a stupidly hot flat top. The fish was covered in a traditional sauce called a lo macho which I am sorry to say, kicks the shit out of a bĂ©arnaise sauce.  The plancha it gave it a certain firmness that can only be achieved from this style of cooking. The skin was kept on and added a nice crispness to it. The sauce however was the winner, it was a concentrated creamy concoction that was rich and coated your mouth. The sauce incorporates the whole ocean, pieces of squid, shrimp and octopus. The fish was almost unnecessary, the sauce almost stole the whole show but it accentuated the delicate nature of the fish. The only downside of the dish was the rice; it was somewhat dry and a bit toothsome and just was “eh”. Luckily the deliciousness of the other components almost made this forgivable. 
Chita a lo Mancho
Petit Fours
The dessert is something that should not be skipped. First off, you get a set of petit fours. There is a truffle, alfajor and a coconut macaroon. All of them were perfectly sweet. I went with the Creamoso Choco, lucuma, nutella, pistachio y tiema cocoa. It was a long name and what I was presented reminded me of something from the WD~50 kitchen. The creamoso chocolate was fudge cubes that was sitting on top of a lucuma ganache and served with a cocoa crumble and pistachio ice cream. This was an incredibly rich dessert and even with the light pistachio ice cream was a bit heavy. But it was good, almost felt kind of guilty eating it.
The only thing that bothered me a bit was the service. It was a bit cold and uneven. Waiters did not work in sections as you see in many restaurants; instead all five of the waiters would individually serve every individual table. There was no runner system so it made service to be very slow when it started to fill up and often you would be neglected. After the end of the meal, it took a full half hour, and even with a wave down to get the check. Despite the service hiccups, I the food make up for it. The food at Amor Amar is on point and weeks later, I still remember that mancho sauce and the chita. Though next time, I think I will be sitting at the bar.

Amor Amar
Garcia y Garcia 181
Barranco, Lima 04, Peru

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