Restaurant Review: Matria offers new, fresh dishes

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Lima, Guayaquil, Barcelona, London, and Sao Paolo are all familiar cities to young Peruvian chef Arlette Eulert Checa, as she spent time studying, working, and improving her culinary techniques in each of them. She worked alongside famous international chefs of Michelin-star restaurants, such as the Gaig in Barcelona, the archi-famous Nobu in London, and the Brazilian DOM, considered the sixth best restaurant in the world and number one in Latin America, as well as Peruvian chefs like Rafael Osterling and Gastón Acurio.

Last year, Arlette together with her boyfriend, decided to test new waters and use all the skills, experience, and creativity gained throughout all these years, and open their own restaurant in Lima. After all, the rich variety of fresh products that Peru has to offer was certainly a big incentive to go on this new adventure.

Their restaurant is called Matria, in recognition of what mother earth has to offer. It defines the concept behind the restaurant as that of respect for mother nature and her laws, and the use of fresh products and ingredients at the base of their cuisine. In fact, several of the ingredients and products that Matria uses in their cuisine, originate from their own cultivated lands.

The food they offer is inspired by Peruvian, Japanese, Thai, Indian, and Mediterranean cuisines, but it is one of these gourmet restaurants better known as serving ‘cocina de autor.’

As it was time to sit and order the food, we chose a table on the terrace next to a lovely wall covered from top to bottom with old wooden fruit boxes and stemming out from them, a variety of lively green plants. We noticed how comfortable the chairs were, made by a local artisan, and were very ready to start our food experience in Matria.

We ordered a couple of cocktail drinks: a classic Pisco Sour, small in size but with an excellent taste, and a ginger Chilcano. We also noted the wide variety of drinks the restaurant had to offer and the generous wine list consisting of 128 different brands from all five continents. A basket with soft, warm rye bread and garlic butter, both made at the restaurant, announced that the food was ready to be served.

Our first dish was the ‘Grilled sea scallops with yellow curry butter & quinoa, pop Indo-China style;’ these were six huge scallops, as I had never seen before, warm and tender and with a delicious smoky BBQ taste topped with delicate yet crunchy black and white quinoa pops and bathed in a soft Asian style sauce. They were a treat. We also had the ‘Tosa-mi of tuna with avocado, kiuri, and jalapeño chalaca samurai style,’ which consisted of five pieces of tuna fish topped with avocado and black sesame seeds, and bathed in a delicate miso sauce. The dish was refreshing and had a spicy touch.

For the main dishes, they brought us a ‘Crispy suckling pig, smoked in its own juices and roasted apple delight purée.’ The meat was very tender and tasty, with a pure, warm, and soft cinnamon flavor. We also had the ‘Grilled skirt Angus-steak and creamy orzo, kinuwa with funghi, oyster mushrooms, zucchini and pomodoro sauce,’ a fabulous mix of flavors that was a treat for our palates; definitely a favorite.

Other dishes you may find are the ‘Grilled octopus marinated in barley with a tender beans salad steamed with smoky flavors of the Mediterranean and mix of wild shoots,’ ‘the creamy polenta, truffled with ragú, ossobuco, green pesto and mild mushroom sauce,’ the ‘duck confit Malai-Massala with vegetables and Thai rice with a hierba-luisa scent,’ to name a few. For the vegetarians, you may find a few options such as the ‘Sour curry vegetable stew from the south of India and tzatziki yogurt sauce,’ the ‘Penne al pommodori, baby corn, zucchini, roasted cherry tomato, and mascarpone cream,’ or the ‘Green-pizza’ with pesto, zucchini, mozzarella, caramelized onion, and roquette.

Then came the desserts. We had the ‘warm spiced carrot muffin stuffed with mascarpone cheese, greek yogurt ice cream and miso sauce,’ which was beautifully topped with delicate blueberry flowers, and the ‘bloody yana-cacao – bitter 70% – with coconut ice cream, toasted pistachios, pomegranate sauce, and wild berries.’ Both desserts were a treat for the eyes and stomach, and a testimony of the chef’s artistic and culinary skills. Other desserts you may find are cheesecakes, lemon pie tarts, panna cotta, and a range of ice-cream flavors and sorbets, all certainly with a sophisticated and particular twist.

The experience was a favorable one and one that can be expected from a gourmet restaurant: small to medium sized portions, good service, beautifully presented dishes, and top quality flavors, both familiar and new. If you want to try this new restaurant, don’t miss their six-course special menu offer with wine and porto for s/180 per person this coming 31st October.

*Where:*
Calle General Mendiburu 823, Urb. Santa Cruz, Miraflores

*When:*
Open – Tuesday to Saturday – lunch (1 to 4) and dinner (8 to 11) and Sundays, only open for lunch

*Price range:*
Aperitifs: s/ 18 -30; starters: s./ 28 – 40; main dishes: s/ 35 – 58; desserts: S/. 15-28

Parking space available.

*For more information visit their “website”:www.matriarestaurante.com.*

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Roxana Garmendia

Being well-traveled and living in many parts of the world, gives Roxana great leverage when it comes to food tasting and her love for food is well expressed in her articles