Showing posts with label red snapper. Show all posts
Showing posts with label red snapper. Show all posts

CLOSED: Kay Pacha (Toronto)

Even though I’ve had Peruvian cuisine previously, I’m still surprised by the seemingly varied choices available on a menu. Due to their proximity to other countries, their cuisine has European, Asian, and West African influences, aside from the traditional Inca-based dishes. Moreover, since Peru’s geography has many climates (mountains, rainforest, and access to water), dishes also range from light seafood to heartier grains and meat. This makes Peruvian restaurants an ideal gathering place for groups with varying tastes - there’s so much on the menu that you’re bound to find something that will satisfy picky eaters.

Kay Pacha’s menu is no different, our meal encompassed dishes often found in Argentinian, Mediterranean, Japanese, and Chinese restaurants… with a Peruvian twist of course. Their empanaditas ($12 for 3) are like empanadas but the pastry is not as flakey and a bit harder. The filling of ground sirloin, boiled egg, and olives was delicious. Plus, I’m glad the kitchen left the olives in big chunks, so they could be picked out if necessary. Accompanied by two condiments (rocoto cream and chimichurri), I found the rocoto cream goes well with the empanditas; the sauce has a faint chili taste and is mellower, adding a hint of richness and a wonderful aroma to the pastry.

When you see the ceviche classic ($24), you’ll notice it’s distinctly different from the Spanish and Mexican versions of the dish. Firstly, the ingredients (red snapper, red onion, toasted chulpe corn, boiled choclo, sweet potato puree, yam puree, and leche de tigre) arrive separated allowing someone to remove something they really don’t like. 

After mixing everything together, the sweet potato and yam purees cause the ceviche to turn a bright colour, the dish looks like halo halo but tastes like ceviche… it takes some getting used to. Overall, the ceviche is decent but needs more salt and there’s almost too many crunchy elements for my taste.

The antichucho grilled skewers of black tiger shrimp ($15) were done perfectly, the shrimp tasty on their own or with the hot sauce. It’d be even better if the ribbing on the sides of the sugar peas were removed as the vegetables were a little tough and sinewy.

While the final dishes took a while to prepare, they were worth the wait. The Miami ribs Nikkei ($28) is very flavourful, the short ribs marinated with Chicha and soy sauce, so the meat becomes sweet and salty. Some may find the ribs fatty and chewier, but this is expected with beef ribs and is also heartier than the pork version. Lining the bottom of the plate are “majaco” style plantains, which are deep fried and then stewed so while they’re not crunchy, they contain moisture.

An order of the chaufa de mariscos ($30) goes great with the ribs. The fried rice smells amazing and is filled with large pieces of tiger shrimp, squid, scallop, and mussels. Soy and “chifa sauce” are added to give the rice a sweet saltiness. Just a bowl of the rice would make a satisfying meal. It’s a dish that embodies things I love: fried rice, seafood, wok hay, and bursts of flavours. Ah… Peruvian cuisine, why are you not more readily available?

Overall mark - 7.5 out of 10

How To Find Them
 Location: Toronto, Canada
 Address: 744 St. Clair Avenue West

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Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • 6 - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!

Is That It? I Want More!

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CLOSED: Los Colibris (Toronto)

Location: Toronto, Canada
Address: 220 King Street West (2nd floor)
Type of Meal: Dinner

It’s about time Toronto has a restaurant that serves upscale Mexican cuisine. Don’t get me wrong, I love tacos, burritos and chips with guacamole. But, I’m also intrigued by what authentic culinary creations Mexico has that don’t involve refried beans and cheese. As it turns out, there’s plenty. Dishes tend to have a Spanish flare augmented with a spicier kick.

Unlike their sister restaurant downstairs, Los Colibris is not a tequila bar. Nonetheless, their cocktail list still includes a variety of delicious sounding drinks. I started with the Zona Rosa ($12) a beautifully presented hibiscus margarita. Despite its vibrant pink colour and rimmed glass, it was thankfully not a sweet “girly” drink. Made with Tromba white rum, flor de Jamaica (a hibiscus tea), basil, mint and lime juice the cocktail was refreshing and light, great for the summer months.

Sharing the pulpo a la parrilla ($16) as an appetizer, it was a great start to the meal. Succulent pieces of plump grilled octopus were served with a refreshing basil, jalapeno & coriander oil sauce on the side. It was tender and meaty, tasting great by itself or wrapped into a fresh warm corn tortilla. With four tortillas and plenty of pieces of octopus, this is an excellent dish for sharing.

At first when the huachinango a la veracruzana ($24) arrived I was a little nervous. Sitting on top of the red snapper were tons of green olives and capers – two ingredients that are okay but I generally avoid. Little did I know that the spicy veracruz sauce was one made with tomatoes, olive oil, capers and olives. After taking a bite, I was pleasantly surprised as it was nicely balanced with salty, sweet and spicy elements. The olives and capers must have been soaked to rid it of the powerful briny taste. The sauce complimented the tender and flaky red snapper quite nicely and was also delicious at flavouring the poblano rice.

Sitting near the open kitchen, we were treated with the most intoxicating smells throughout our meal. Chef Elia Herrera didn’t seem present during our visit, but someone else was at the helm artfully plating the dishes in front of us. Many of the creations looked delicious, so much so that a return visit may be warranted to try some of their meatier offerings.

Overall mark - 8 out of 10

Follow me on twitter to chat, be notified about new posts and more -

Gastro World's Grading System

  • Anything under 5 - I really disliked and will never go back
  • - decent restaurant but I likely won't return
  • 7 - decent restaurant and I will likely return
  • 8 - great restaurant that I'd be happy to recommend
  • 9 - fantastic restaurant that I would love to visit regularly and highly recommend
  • 10 - absolute perfection!