New restaurants continue to open up on the busy La Mar area in Miraflores. This time it is Tribu, Cocina de Origen, a modern and casual restaurant owned by Alonso Villanueva who also happens to be the chef and creator.
About the owner, Alonso Villanueva
After pursuing studies abroad and working in restaurants in Puerto Rico and Seattle, Alonso decided to come back and open his first restaurant. Flavors and aromas from his childhood days spent in Tarapoto from (where his family comes from), are strongly reflected in the décor, especially at the bar and the bathroom door paintings. His childhood cultural influences are also reflected in the restaurant’s menu. Tribu, he explained, tries to capture memories of his family days, and that sense of belonging to the ‘tribe’.
We sit down for our meal
The courteous waiter immediately arrived with some chips and plantains. Now, these were not the usual ones you find in other establishments; these were homemade. They were super cruchy, and simply wonderful. They came along with an equally wonderful green creamy sauce made with cuñumbuque cheese from the Tarapoto region, and huacatay (an Andean herb) that I found delicious.
Despite their tastiness, I had to stop munching on the knick-knacks when our dishes started to arrive. We could not help but take notice of the lovely ceramic tableware made specially for Tribu by Taller Dos Ríos. We started with the Grandpa Empanadas (s./30), fried pies that Alonso used to prepare together with his grandpa back in Tarapoto. They were five pieces of golden fried pies filled with cuñumbuque cheese, ripe plantains and sausage from the jungle. The pies were topped with a mix of finely chopped mangoes, onions, rice vinegar, and lime, as well as a green sacha-cilantro creamy sauce. The pies were crunchy and full of flavor, and the sauce and chalaquita only enhanced the flavors even more. This was a certainly a promising start and remained one of our favorites.
We then had the Habla Causa (s./39) that consists of pieces of twisted rolled causa (smashed Peruvian potatoes with lime), chicken crusted in quinoa, turnips, cherry tomatoes, small boiled eggs, a chalaquita mix of cecina (Amazonian sausage), onions and spices, spicy huancaína sauce, and black olive powder. My colleague who is a fan of this traditional Peruvian starter liked it, but I found that it needed more work on the texture, and in my view, way too many products in the dish.
We continued with the Sassy Cebiche (s./57) that really caught our attention due to the cacao addition. The fish used was perico and due to the chocolate, the presentation was a pile of brown fish pieces, bathed in a red cactus fruit sauce. The flavors were quite particular with the chocolate coming out strongly. I guess it was not my kind of ceviche and I prefer to stick to the more traditional one which they seem to have as well.
Staying with the seafood dishes, we also ordered the Octopus Brasa (s./65 ). This was a good size grilled octopus with fried cassava and cassava puree, pickled cantaloupe, and huacatay aioli that I always enjoy. The octopus was pleasant to eat.
We switched to meat and we tried the Pituco Pork (s./59). This dish consists of a good-sized piece of pancetta cooked for twenty-four hours, and it comes with a small portion of sweet potato puree. The pork meat was super tender and enjoyable, and the puree, I certainly could have had more.
The last dish we had was the Lomo Asaltado (s./58), a generous plate of the classic mix of tenderloin stir-fry with potato fries and spices, but with additional ingredients such as Amazonian sausage, plantains, Chinese onions, and cherry onions. The plantains gave a slight taste of sweetness and change in texture while the sausage was of excellent quality making this dish a total success. We fully enjoyed it.
The first dessert we tried was The Meeting (s./33), a rice pudding mousse, with purple corn syrup and mango cream as it read on the menu. We were surprised to find that it was actually an arroz con leche, the Peruvian traditional dessert, presented in a novel and creative way. The creamy rice pudding was inside a tall purple cylinder-shape gallette, with purple corn syrup and mango cream coulis. Not only was the presentation unique, but the flavors were magnificent. It immediately became the table’s favorite.
We also had El de Antaño (s./34). The name comes from the ranfañote – a traditional dessert that dates back to colonial times, which is made of bread, cheese, orange, and lime peels, nuts and bathed in raw cane sugar honey. El Antaño consists of pieces of cheesecake made with Amazonian cheese, raspberry ice cream, toasted brioche and ranfañote bites. A sweet raspberry-passion coulis gives the final touch. I am no fan of ranfañote but did appreciate the ice-cream.
The drinks were another pleasant surprise. We had the Tribu Bamboo (s./38), a cocktail made with flavored eucalyptus pisco, mango, and passion fruit served in a bamboo recipient. We also tried the El Apache (s./37), pisco Italia, goldenberry, and pastis –the anise-based French liqueur-, and finally, the Tata Tiki (s./42), a rum-based cocktail mixed with pineapple and passion fruit served in a lovely Polynesian ceramic vase. All three drinks were savory, refreshing and worthwhile having. You can also opt for wine if you wish so.
Tribu opened up only this November, and the team is determined to continue presenting novelties and quality products that they bring from their discovery travels around Peru. The establishment is welcoming, the service is excellent, and we enjoyed some dishes more than others. Be aware that throughout the month of November they are still in ‘marcha blanca’ with a 10% discount in all their menu. And if you reserve online, you get a free cocktail.
Tribu, Cocina de Origen
Av. Mendiburu 1028 Miraflores
Opening hours – Tuesday to Thursday 12.30 – 11, Friday and Saturday 12.30 – 12, Sunday 12.30 -5 pm
Parking – yes
Cocktail drinks – s./ 28 -47
Wine by the glass – s./ 20
Starters – s./ 30-44
Main dishes – s./ 48 – 69