Monday, January 5, 2015

El Popular

On the 30th of Dec., wanting to go out, and to satisfy Liz's desire to spend some more time by the sea, we sought out somewhere to head to in the evening along the coastline.

One of our usual spots, Cala restaurant and bar, was out due to roadwork along the Costa Verde's seafront road, and Barranco seemed too far to go, so we headed toward the Larcomar mall, where we knew there were several restaurants overlooking the cliffs along the Costa Verde and the beaches below.

Along with Jacho, Jose and Carla --and later joined by Mito--, we sought out a new place that one of Jacho's friends has recommended: Popular.

As it turned out, his friend had attended a private event there, and we happened not only to arrive at the start of their soft opening but we were their very first customers ever!

Because of the soft opening, the restaurant and bar were not yet fully stocked nor all the way in gear, so the menu was limited but in compensation all cocktails were just s/. 5 each!

We ordered appetizers of octopus in olive sauce and crab cakes, followed by their version of lomo saltado.

It was clear that the kitchen and wait staff were not yet fully up to snuff.  Even though the restaurant was pretty empty the food took a while to arrive --but that gave us guys time to have several pisco sours  apiece (which were quite good, actually).

The staff was quite interested in our feedback and, as requested, we were happy to oblige.  

The octopus --not exactly a throwaway of a dish, but one that is done so well by so many in Lima that if it were at all chewy or tough it would not speak well for the kitchen-- was great, and the arugula salad that came with it was a great touch.  Arugula is not much used in Peru, but its sharpness made a great contrast to the richness of the olive sauce.

The crab cakes were underseasoned although basically alright.   They should have been the star of the plate, but instead it was the salad  of baby lettuce, arugula, onion, and cherry tomatoes that stole the show.

The saltado, was interesting but good.  Quite good, actually, and we did praise it highly for its flavor and the tenderness of the meat.  However, it wasn't a saltado (i.e. sautee) per se, but given artistic license, that was neither here nor there. What was an issue that we mentioned was that the meat was overcooked in relation to what we had asked for.  Eventually, the kitchen will surely get it down pat.

Overall, we were impressed with the locale, the decor, and the table settings.  We definitely enjoyed the drinks!  And, despite our critiques, we did in fact like the food quite a bit.

It was a fun night, and it will be nice to go back and see what they can do with a bit more time under their belts.

Larcomar shopping center
Malecon de la Reserva N° 610
Miraflores - Lima

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