|Inside Pachamama House, Goulburn Street, Surry Hills|
Spaces under apartments like this are often a design challenge but restaurant owner Tony Maia has done an amazing job injecting warmth and a genuine atmosphere into the just-above-street-level venue.
|Exterior of Pachamama House|
He's almost like an alter-universe Nobu Matsuhisa who, alternatively, incorporates Peruvian influences into his high-end, global chain of Nobu Japanese restaurants.
|Adega de Monaco wine|
Listing a single Portuguese wine, Adega de Monaco, the wine is made of young grapes and has a slight, pleasant effervescence and a greenness to its white wine colouring. It's meant to be served ice cold, done so at Pachamama House with the addition of an ice cube.
|Classic cebiche: Snapper, lime, green chilli, coriander and sweet potato chips|
A great palate starter, the snapper cebiche was extremely zingy with loads of lime just 'cooking' the surface of the white fish flesh while the green chilli had a fair bit of bite. The garnish of sweet potato chips was a great twist on tradition as well as a textural contrast, and we would have loved more.
|Tiradito cebiche: Scallops, sesame, spring onions and aji Amarillo dressing|
|Salchipapas: Smoked frankfurt, roasted potatoes & Huacatay mayonnaise|
|Empanadas: Braised pork cheek & Chilean condiment|
Thinly layered, shortcrust-like pastry enveloped soft pulled pork cheek, an array of saucy spices and a segment of hard-boiled egg. The little parcels were served with a Chilean salsa condiment of fresh tomato, coriander and lime – a highlight of the dish.
|Pescado Frito: Pan fried sardines, green tomato and jalapeno salsa|
The small, oily sardine isn’t my fish of choice but I couldn’t help but use them and the sweet tomato segments to mop up all the green jalapeño salsa which was deliciously mild and creamy with a hint of smokiness.
|Sticky Duck: Coconut braised duck, crispy rice & chilli jam|
The softly braised duck was a delight atop the crisp-surfaced rice brick, matching well with the chilli jam and only just a little overpowered by the strong flavour of the coconut cream.
|Wagyu: Seared wagyu rump, roasted okra & Peruvian bbq sauce|
The trick is, as I learnt at Pachamama House, is to roast them with a bit of oil till they’re soft, not quite as sticky anymore and just deliciously earthy.
The house-made Peruvian barbeque sauce with the beef had an awakening chilli kick, elevating the perfectly cooked wagyu rump to something very special.
|Zapallito: Zucchini, mint, red radish & lemon dressing|
|Eschabeche: Chicken, fennel, kipflers & green olives|
Chunks of raw meat are marinated overnight in the acidic vinegar and chilli sauce, then cooked with fennel, kipfler potatoes, green olives and other vegetables as an epic, almost stir fry-like, dish.
|Seats at the bar|
|Picarones: Sweet potato doughnuts with spiced syrup|
|Tequila Sorbet, orange cream, baked meringues, cinnamon & caramel popcorn|
I wouldn't have expected all these components, plus crunchy white meringue, would work so well together but they sure did – and exceptionally so.
|The specials board at Pachamama House|
Food, booze and shoes dined at Pachamama House as a guest.