The team of Traveling and Living in Peru visited the pork-centric restaurant, Porcus, a couple of weeks ago and left feeling highly satisfied. Porcus is a true tribute to the pig and is the first restaurant in Peru specializing exclusively in pork. In Latin, the word “porcus” means pig, hog, tame swine. Porcus officially opened their doors in October 2019.
Why pork? Peruvians love pork. It’s eaten during special occasions, late at night, weekend breakfasts (pan con chicharron or butifarra sandwiches), etc. Any excuse is a good one to eat pork. Pork is also modestly priced in comparison to beef. Depending on what you read and who you listen to, it is estimated the average Peruvian consumes approximately 6 to 8 kilos of pork annually—and it’s on the rise.
A chef’s story
Chef Giacomo Bocchio’s Italian/Peruvian family originally hails from Tacna (the southernmost part of Peru). Cooking is in his blood. His grandfather had a restaurant in Tacna for 50 years. This Lima Cordon Bleu graduate held internships in his youth at the Ritz Carlton (Naples, Florida), Celler de Can Roca (Spain), and DOM (Brazil).
I first met the culinary talent in 2011 when the team of TLIP visited the restaurant, Manifiesto. He was just 27 years old at the time but his passion and extensive culinary knowledge impressed us. Over the years he remained active and involved in many other culinary projects: Wallqa (as executive chef); La Lucha Sangucheria (most recently, a short stint as the director of menu quality and cooking direction), projects with Kitchen Center Peru and even on national television sharing recipes and preparing dishes. When I first heard back in July 2019 that he was planning on opening up a restaurant dedicated to pork, I was elated because I have always been a big fan of his cooking. Giacomo has put together a cohesive team of people at Porcus that he has worked with in other projects.
Porcus is located in a unique location. Its premises once housed one of the first wineries in Lima over 50 years ago. It has a great angular corner spot on the street. Avenue Pardo is nearby and the restaurant is a short walk to the ocean. Porcus has maintained the spirit of a tavern as well as a comfortable vibe and without pretensions. There are many windows which offer an abundance of natural light inside. You can choose to sit at the intimate bar area on the left side of the restaurant or the front section of the restaurant with smaller tables. Further back are larger tables available for groups of four or more.
The rich cornflower blue color is found on the exterior of the front entrance doors, along the bar area and also accents all of the window sills (inside and out). And the pigs! They are tastefully displayed throughout the restaurant and are part of the decor. Pig figurines, vintage finds, piggy banks, ceramic, artwork on the walls, even down to the silver pig displayed on top of the silverware and napkin dispensers on every table.
Porcus has a small, but varied house cocktail list. We began with their Wild Porcus (S/ 35), a robust and delicious concoction of Wild Turkey Bourbon, Cynar (artichoke liqueur), Aperol (the classic, slightly bitter Italian orange-hued aperitif), a splash of orange juice, truffle and little pieces of Serrano ham. We also shared a refreshing Tacna Sour (S/ 25), prepared with Pisco Huamani and peach liquor. Classic cocktails and wines are available as well. On a return visit we had a classic Chilcano and a Moscow Mule, both very satisfying.
Currently there are two cohesive menus to order from on a daily basis: the official Porcus menu and their summer menu for some lighter options. Porcus exclusively uses Duroc pork (a breed developed in the U.S. and also raised in Peru) for all of their pork dishes. Duroc is a superior quality, rich flavored premium pork with a great reputation.
From the summer menu we shared three dishes. First out was the Taco de Lechuga con Panceta (S/ 22). A platter arrives with several Boston lettuce leaves, oriental chimichurri sauce, roasted pork belly, shari zu, sesame seeds, cilantro, pickled salad and a house hoisin sauce. The idea is to take a leaf of the lettuce and fill it with a bit of all the ingredients and top it off with a dollop of the hoisin sauce. This lettuce wrap is something special!
The Rollitos de Verano (S/ 18) are an ideal option, especially for the summer. Refreshing, crisp and flavorful. The rice paper is filled with julienned slices of carrot, roasted pork, cilantro, and accompanied by pickled turnips, and an addictive ponzu dipping sauce.
The Ensalada César con Pluma (S/ 33) is another dish we sampled from the summer menu. The cut of pork used is called “pluma,” which looks similar to a thinner version of pork tenderloin. It is a cut which comes from behind the neck/shoulder area and has a beautiful marbling of fat running through it. We found it to be tender and succulent. The pluma is grilled and served with a classic Caesar salad with romaine lettuce, crunchy croutons, Parmesan cheese and generous bits of homemade Porcus bacon with a Caesar vinaigrette.
The Butifarra (S/ 16) is one of the essential, traditional and iconic Peruvian sandwiches. It is part of Peruvian culinary culture and sold in every sangucheria. The star ingredient is the jamón del país, a special Peruvian country-style ham prepared by boiling a boned pork leg in a flavorful broth. Porcus prepares their jamón del país in-house, slices it and stacks it high inside a crispy pan frances bun along with salsa criollo (sliced red onions, aji amarillo peppers, lime juice, and chopped parsley) and Boston lettuce. Outstanding!
For something different and delicious, I suggest trying the Patacón Amazónico (S/ 24). This dish highlights some unique Peruvian ingredients from the Amazon. Three fried plantain “cups” arrive filled with a mixture of minced bondiola confitada (pork confit, meat from the neck area), sachatomate (“tree tomato” fruit) chutney, aji de cocona (acidic Amazon fruit mixed with peppers) and cecina (a robust, dried bacon similar to jerky). The perfect finger food.
Our table loved the Bao de Chasiu (S/ 22), two steamed buns filled with pork cooked for 12 hours with an Asian chasiu barbecue sauce at a low temperature. The buns are served along with a Sriracha hot sauce mayonnaise, a criollo pickled turnip salsa and fried sweet potato threads. This dish is all about delicious textures and was amazingly addictive!
If you have a hearty appetite, order the Caja China (S/ 42). Pork belly is prepared in the caja china (box-style roasting/grilling that uses charcoal heat) then served with homemade carapulcra stew (an old recipe which includes dehydrated potatoes, port wine, aji panca, garlic, peanuts, and chocolate as well as various spices). The pork and carapulcra are accompanied by rice mixed with corn. This is the perfect comfort food dish.
The Chuleton Charcutier (S/ 64) is 650 grams of Duroc pork chop porcine pleasure! A velvety charcuterie sauce is served with the pork chop and generously drizzled over the rustic mashed potatoes. The sauce is a savory veloute which is prepared with roux, a light stock, wine, pickles and mustard. Definitely a dish to be enjoyed by two people or a very hearty eater.
We somehow were able to polish off the decadent Choux con Helado (S/ 18), a large donut-shaped dessert made with profiterole dough accompanied by salted caramel ice cream and drizzled with fudge sauce.
On my return visit a week later with my husband, we dabbled in a few other plates that are worth trying: Siu Mai (S/ 26), five deliciously plump open-faced dumplings filled with a generous amount of minced pork and shrimp resting in a wonderful sweet hoisin sauce; an incredible Pastel de Choclo (S/ 25) from the summer menu, which is a meatless version and served nestled in a creamy huancaina sauce; Carbonara Porcus (S/ 30), a satisfying plate with an abundance of house-made Porcus ham and bacon, organic eggs, spaghetti and Parmesan.
Porcus offers a tasting menu for S/ 68 which includes smaller portions of seven of their star dishes. A very good value.
Porcus also offers a brunch menu every Sunday (9am-noon). The brunch currently serves 11 different selections, with some dishes changing periodically.
Congratulations to Giacomo, Alvaro, Brenda Dávila (the chef of cuisine), and the entire team of Porcus. The restaurant is still young, but it’s off to an excellent start.
Never underestimate the power of pork. Pork lovers unite!
Photos: Cesar Del Aguila Calle
Calle Comandante Juan G. Moore 176, Miraflores, Lima
Contact: 301-4726, [email protected]
Hours: Tuesday-Thursday, 12pm-11pm; Friday & Saturday, 12pm-11:30pm; Sunday, 9am-5pm; Sunday Brunch, 9am-12pm (closed Mondays)
Capacity: approximately 70
Valet parking & street parking
Toctos: S/ 5
Sandwiches: S/ 16-17
Starters: S/ 14-36
Main dishes: S/ 30-64
Menu Porcus: S/ 68
Desserts: S/ 12-18
Summer menu: S/ 16-33
House Cocktails: S/ 32-35
Gin & Tonics: S/ 30-38
Pisco Cocktails: S/ 22-35
Classic cocktails: S/ 25-30
Beer: S/ 12-16
Wines by the glass: S/ 16-18
Wines (bottle): S/ 75-130
Brunch menu: S/ 14-18
Desserts: S/ 12-18
Alcohol: Aperol Spritz, 2 X 32 soles
Wine by glass (selection of the day), 2 X 28 soles
Seasonal Juices: S/ 12
Infusions: S/ 10
Coffee: S/ 6.50-9