Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Ceviche -- A Peruvian Gastropub along Sto. Domingo, Quezon City

Trivia: Did you know that Philippine passport holders can travel to Peru without the need of any visa provided you stay for only 183 days or roughly around 6 months. That's long enough for any average tourist and that means multiple visits to see the Machu Picchu and countless ceviches and more. 

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Anyway, I recently discovered how yummy Peruvian dishes are and since then, I've been on a hunt for the freshest ceviches and the tastiest, most tender lomo saltados available in town. For instance, a month ago, I got together with some of my favorite foodie friends as we checked out Ceviche. It's a cozy-looking gastropub located within a quiet residential area in Quezon City. I grew up in this neighborhood as Kongkong and Ama used to live here and back then, we would have to drive out to either Banawe or to Quezon Avenue in order to have a good restaurant meal. Today, you'd find interesting hole in a wall food spots in this area and it indeed is a good sign of the great, yummy things to come.

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The folks who opened Ceviche used to also operate a Peruvian restaurant called Don Andres along Pioneer street. They have closed that restaurant since and have called Quezon City their new home. A quick chat with one of the owners and fellow twin dad T, he told us of the close link of the Peruvian cuisine to that of the Japanese. In fact, their famous appetizer called ceviche makes use of raw, fresh slice of fish similar to the Japanese sashimi.



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Our meal began with Ceviche Pescado (Php. 420). One thing that I noticed with Peruvian food is how it's always so colorful. There's always a play of colors and textures making your dining experience even more exciting. This platter comes with a generous amount of corn kernels, canchas (Peruvian-style cornicks), fresh mahi-mahi fillet in citrus juice and sweet potato.

After all, looking at Peru's geography, one side is land-locked while the other side is surrounded by the Pacific Ocean. Thus, the Peruvians get to enjoy a good mix of root crops and grains as well as seafood which we can see in most of its dishes. Such as this refreshing ceviche which was very good. I had to skip the corn though but the fish itself was worth raving about.

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My dining companions also had the Choros ala Chalaca (Php. 380) which was beautifully presented in a soup spoon. You get a mix of mussels, corn and salsa. I chose to sit out on this one.

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Our last appetizer was the Chorizo Al Plato (Php. 380) which is a perfect beer match starter of two pieces of grilled sausage served with chimichurri, garlic aioli and side salad. I was told that Ceviche has a fine selection of alcoholic drinks so this would definitely go so well with it. Nonetheless, I enjoyed it with my very wholesome glass of ... iced water. Haha!

For our mains, oh boy were we in for a treat! The serving of Ceviche is quite big that it's good for sharing. Here are some of the dishes that we were able to try that day:

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Pollo Entero (Php. 790) -- one whole Peruvian roasted chicken served with your choice of 4 sides.
No Peruvian meal will ever be complete without enjoying their flavorful roasted chicken. One thing that I love about it are the sauces that's served with it. At Ceviche, it comes with chimichurri (chopped parsley with oil), aji green sauce (cilantro and celery blended with feta cheese), spicy orange mayo (one of their house specialty). Personally, I loved the chimichurri the most and I even love drizzling this onto my rice as well.

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The chicken was very tender and it goes so well with all the sides that we had namely batata chips, marbled potato salad, corn salsa, ensalada and mashed potato.

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Lomo Saltado (Php. 465) -- this is one of my favorite Peruvian dishes perhaps because I enjoy the tender beef tenderloin strips and the simplicity of it being cooked with tomatoes and onions yet bringing out such an impactful gastronomical effect. Served with sweet potato fries, this is like the ebi tempura to a Japanese restaurant or Sweet and Sour pork to the Chinese cuisine. The dish that can make or break any Peruvian restaurant. I'm happy to share that Ceviche has passed the Lomo Saltado's authenticity test and it's definitely one that's worth ordering too.

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Crispy Pata (Php. 690) -- Now, this is definitely not Peruvian at all but as I've mentioned earlier, a lot of Ceviche's local patrons would go there for a round of drinks (or two) so the owners decided to throw in their famous Crispy Pata which as we all know goes very well with beer. I love the crackling pork skin covering the juicy, collagen-filled tender pork meat inside. Believe me, you can never go wrong with Crispy Pata.

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Moving on to the carbs, we got Arroz con Mariscos (Php. 480) which is the Peruvian version of the Spanish paella. Very similar in taste and how it looks, the only difference is the use of spices as the Peruvian version normally has the inclusion of the aji amarillo which is a type of pepper giving it a good spicy kick. It comes with a generous portion of seafood such as mussells, shrimps and squid, anothe thing that makes it different from the Spanish paella is the absence of the tutung a.k.a. the soccarat which I love love love.

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Pasta lovers will rejoice over the Tallarin con Mejillones (Php. 440). If the Italians got the Vongole Pasta, then the Peruvians got the Tallarin con Mejillones which is a delicious and clean pasta dish cooked with huge mussels simmered in white wine and pasta cooked with chopped herbs similar to pesto. While I normally shy away from mussels, I really enjoyed this pasta a LOT! I liked it so much that I even went for seconds. It was so good and light, just the way I like it.

We surely had a feast but I made sure to save space for dessert.

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This is because I ordered Ceviche's much talked about Chocolate Dream Cake (Php. 500) and you might have noticed by now how crazy I am over it. Each of the versions that I've tried has its strengths and for Ceviche it's the dark chocolate used which even my Papa enjoyed very much. It has a nice gooey center and a moist chocolate base.

Stocks are very limited for this one so be sure to call in if you're planning to reserve a can or two.

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Meanwhile, they also got the Tres Leches Cake (Php. 185) which I enjoyed very much. Soft and spongey milky vanilla cake that sits on a pool of milk sauce. It's the kind that even kids will love and after all the super flavorful dishes that we have enjoyed, this made a good palate cleanser too.

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For those who wants it more citrus-y, the Pie de Limon (Php. 165) would make for a refreshing treat. Oh, this would go so perfectly with a cup of coffee, don't you agree?

In a place where people are more familiar with the Japanese, Chinese, Filipino, Italian and even Mexican cuisine, I hope that more and more patrons would be more adventurous and try Ceviche's Peruvian cuisine. I promise that it will not be a waste of effect and calories as everything was very well executed.

Check out Ceviche at 43 Tirad Pass Corner Santo Domingo Avenue, Santo Domingo, Banawe, Quezon City. Call them at +63-967-2310076.

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