After asking for my mandatory drink, I walked up to the buffet spread and saw a bowl of ceviche in front of me.
Fresh fish, cut into pieces, and marinated with lime juice and strips of purple onions. The lime ‘cooks’ the fish, and adds freshness. The onions lend crunch.
I was always in love with ceviche. And this reinforced my faith.
There was also a bowl of fresh octopus, white and pure, and they begged to be dipped into one of the assorted dips. I forego most of them, and attacked the rather delicate pico de gallo, and the sour snap was just what was needed to lift up the flavours of fresh, raw seafood.
And there was octopus and squid aplenty. The potato salad I picked up sported a couple of tentacles, artfully decorated on top, and there was a little huddle of the cephalopod at the bottom, which I discovered when I worked my way down there. The freshness of the seafood was what made this work, and, at this point, I was happy with the way the meal had started.
Chef Erika Santa Maria dished up a set of barbecue for me, and given my proclivity towards everything bovine, I decided on the beef. The meat was slightly more well-done than I would have liked it – this was medium to well done, rather than medium-rare, but the flavours from the smoky grill were spot on, enhanced by a slick of sweet barbecue sauce slathered on top.
After being invaded by the Conquistadors, Peru’s golden Inca civilization fell from its height, and the Spanish invasion was a brutal, bloody episode in the World history. Consequently, the most-spoken language of Peru is now Spanish, followed by Quechua and Aymara. Apart from the fact that this land cooks extensively with potatoes, quinoa, corn, and different kinds of chillies, they are also the witness to an assortment of dishes which have Spanish, Portuguese, Incan, Middle-Eastern influences among other. A great example would be this soup, consisting of pieces of juicy, tender corn, chicken, and rice. Simple and nourishing, this soup was soothing and delicate, and just what I needed to prepare my palate for the next course.
I picked the Arroz Con Pollo from the assorted main courses available. The rice was moist and cooked till soft, but not mushy. I was not a very big fan of the slightly mushy peas, but this dish was, again, an example of simple, comforting fare. I would like to recreate this.
The Lomo Saltado was my favourite from the lot – strips of sirloin cut across the grain and tossed with fried potato batons and a mildly tangy sauce. The meat was not soft – it had a chew which made one want to sit and eat it slowly, chewing well to draw out the juices from the meat, and occasionally finding a soft strip of potato in between.
I decided to forego desserts mostly, and picked a glass of Jacob’s Creek Sparkling Chardonnay Pinot Noir, with a light citrus note, and a off-dry finish, which was rather perfect with my slice of Brie, which I selected in lieu of the assortment of desserts. But well, there was a rather nice Tiramisu which I picked, and a rather uninspiring Crème Bruleè. But there was also a huge platter of Crème Caramel which others in my group claimed was delicious. The Peruvian brunch is no longer available, but watch out for more such cool brunches and other festivals at Cafe Swiss, Swissotel.
Disclaimer: Poorna Banerjee dined at Cafe Swiss at the kind invitation of the management.