Peruvian cuisine – Qba Latin Bar & Grill, Westin KL – Chef Eduardo Vargas

Becky’s 1 Minute Summary:
What: A special Peruvian menu by Peruvian Chef Eduardo for the period of  27 November to 7 December 2013. Expect authentically prepared dishes using imported ingredients.
What to order here: Go for the QBA Grill Menu which gives diners a good introduction of Peruvian cuisine starting from the starters til dessert. Otherwise, pick and choose from the ala-carte. I would personally advise you to select from the ala-carte if you have a group of 3 pax or more. Else the set meal is a more affordable bet.
Overall experience: An authentic Peruvian experience that everyone should try at least once especially so when Peruvian cuisine are so limited in KL.
Price: Standard hotel dining prices. Have you signed up for the SPG card yet?  If no, it’s time to do so –>  http://www.starwoodhotels.com/preferredguest/account/enroll/index.html 😀

For the long story, read on. :)

*************************************************************

From 27 November to 7 December 2013, The Westin Kuala Lumpur invites gastronomic connoisseurs to indulge in Peruvian specialties paired with fine wines by Shanghai’s revered celebrity star chef Eduardo Vargas.

poster

Celebrity Chef Eduardo is owner and chef at Azul Tapas, Azul Urban, Ceviche and Chicha Lounge, all becoming landmarks in Shanghai for serving amazing Peruvian specialties. His menus offer an eclectic mix from his home land cuisine to Mediterranean, South American, Southeast Asia and European flavours.

I stepped into Qba for a taste of his Peruvian specialties just yesterday.

chef eduardo vargas - Peruvian Qba Latin westin KL

Chef Eduardo bustled about in the kitchen, readying ingredients for service that evening. Unlike some surly celebrity chefs, Chef Eduardo is the total opposite, with his big stature making him look like a big hug-able teddy bear.
He said to me “You Malaysians really love to eat huh.. ” and started relying his dinner experience just the night before after being bought out by a fellow Malaysian media. He said they ate for 3 hours non-stop.
I chuckled, glad that Chef Eduardo was fed a myriad of our delicious Malaysian cuisine.
Just as I left the kitchen to be seated, Chef Eduardo promised me that for tonight, he will feed us (me and other diners for the night) well.

With such an assurance I took my seat, feeling relaxed in the dim, romantic alcove of Qba and waited for the scrumptious food Chef Eduardo had promised.

Nikkei Ceviche on spoons – Raw Tuna tartare, mirin-yuzu dressing & nori.

Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog

Beef heart antichucho – a classic in Peru, huancaina sauce, crispy potato, corn saltado.

Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog-002

Scallops ala Parmesan – gratined scallops with huacaina sauce.

Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog-001

This was not on the menu and the 2 coloured spheres are actually mash potatoes; with the purple one being sweet purple potato from Peru.

Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog-003

The above were starters for the night and came in quick succession. The tuna tartar, scallops and spheres of mashed potatoes bordered on familiarity yet with subtly differences; no doubt due the chilies, spices and sauces used.
For example the mashed potato dumpling (also known as causa, a popular cold starter) were paired with a 4 Peruvian chillies puree, which ignites the tongue and mildly sweet simultaneously.

While both me and Jo struggled with the beef hearts, we didn’t have any problem with these tender, tasty lamb skewers.

Lamb Anticucho (RM48++) – Yogurt sauce, quinoa tabouleh, mint mojo.

Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog-004

A familiar Peruvian classic is ceviche and I had expected to be served one at some point during dinner. Chef’s Eduardo’s version was the best out of the ones I had during the World Gourmet Summit 2012 by Chef Pedro Miguel and another by Chef Rafael Lopez of JW Marriot Lima.

Classic Ceviche (RM32++) – Seabass ceviche, “tiger’s milk”, corn & sweet potato.

Peruvian cuisine - Qba Latin Bar & Grill, Westin KL - Chef Eduardo Vargas

Leche de tigre, or tiger’s milk, is the Peruvian term for the citrus-based marinade that cures the seafood in a ceviche.
Also known as leche de pantera, this leftover fish runoff usually contains lime juice, sliced onion, chilies, salt, and pepper — along with a bit of fish juice
(says Chef Pedro Miguel during the World Gourmet Summit 2012).

Basically this is a dish where the seafood (can be squid, prawns, etc not just fish) are cooked by the acidity of the citrus juices. Needless to say, the freshness level of the seafood is of paramount importance, of which the coastal Peru are known to be abundant for.

Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog-005

Sea produce aside, repetitive elements of Peruvian food are root vegetables (potatoes), corn or maize and of course, chilies. When it comes to Peruvian potatoes, potatoes aren’t just potatoes. I find their potatoes creamier, sweet and soft in comparison to our local ones.
If you have noticed in the ceviche above, there are huge pieces of corn kennel looking a bit burnt, which in actual fact are giant maize kernels cooked in high heat. The exterior is hard and crunchy while the insides are powdery, almost airy.  All in all, almost like popcorn, but using real corn kennels!

Tiradito de Langostinos (RM38++) – Citrus vinaigrette prawn sashimi in Peruvian Style.

Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog-006

This was superb. We loved the sauce it came swimming in, though the prawns were no longer alive. It might be too, for that’s how fresh they were in the mouth, and incredibly briny sweet.

Stuffed, Chef Eduardo finally sent us our first main course.

Aji de Gallalina (RM52++)
Shredded chicken, aji amarrillo sauce, olives, quail egg, rice.

Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog-008

For the cooked variety, the shredded chicken in aji seems to be another Peruvian classic. This creamy recipe is made primarily from aji amarillo (Peruvian yellow chili peppers). Chicken meat are  shredded and cooked in (if my guess is correct) milk and nuts. For a local comparison, think of this as a thick, creamy non-spicy yellow curry.
This came with rice which was cooked to a dry and crispy texture on purpose.

Red Snapper “Chupe Style” – Red snapper, red snapper ricotta ravioli, chupe sauce and peas cream mash.

REVIEW Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog (2)

This is one of the mains if you ordered from the Qba Grill Menu, the other being a lamb rack. We wiped the green mash clean as well as the ravioli. The fish was kept simple, letting it’s natural flavours shone.  We found ours a tad overcooked though, and would have preferred it flakier.

REVIEW Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog (1)

Desserts are not to be missed.

Cacao 3 ways (RM18++), a showy piece with smoke rising from it as it was served. This dessert is is the most familiar, since it’s main ingredient is cocoa.

REVIEW Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog

From past Peruvian meals, I had more or less expected milk puddings and dulce de leche. The ‘milk pudding’ came in the form of the “Copon de Arroz con Leghe“; rice pudding, strawberry sorbet, champagne foam & almond cookies.

I love it. There’s texture, it’s not just blindly sweet and there’s alcohol in it! 😀

REVIEW Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog-002

I believe a lot of Peruvian desserts has a touch of alcohol. Again this is an observation from my past experiences and not a stated fact. The Cacao 3 ways had wine and this was crowned with champagne foam.

The Suspiro Limeno ala Lima Style (RM18++)  is as sweet dessert with an intriguing story. Also known as a “sigh of a woman“ and dating back to the 1800s, this is one of the best-loved traditional Peruvian desserts. The recipe’s slow cooking process results in a golden, silky smooth caramel-like base, which is then crowned with a light and creamy liqueur meringue.

REVIEW Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog-001

Peruvian Key Lime Pie (RM18++) which we both loved. I was surprised that despite the fact that most lime-based Peruvian dishes are pretty strong, the lime pie was pleasantly mild.

key lime pie

You can have the same Peruvian Experience as I did at Qba Latin Bar & Grill. Remember, it’s only from 28 November to 7 December 2013.

Qba Latin Bar & Grill
Five course set menu at RM 248++ per person including wine pairing
Five course set menu at RM 168++ per person (food only)

_DSC5453

Throughout the period, a special ala-carte menu will be available in Qba featuring signature dishes from Chef Eduardo’s restaurants.

Last but not least, a cooking Masterclass to learn the art of Peruvian cooking in a hands-on cooking class conducted by Chef Eduardo Vargas is available on Saturday 30 November & 7 December 2013 at  Qba Latin Bar & Grill at the cost of RM 148++ per person. Seats are limited and prior reservations are required.

For more information, please contact us on 60327738338 or email [email protected]

REVIEW Peruvian - menu at Qba Latin Bar & Grill - rebecca saw blog-003

My other Peruvian experiences:
World Gourmet Summit 2012 – Citibank Gastronomic Session – cooking demonstration by Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino, Restaurant & Bar Malabar, Lime Peru.
Peruvian restaurant in town – Ristretto at Mt Kiara by Chef Miguel (*Chef is now in Pisco Bar in Changkat Bukit Bintang).
Chef Rafael Lopez-Aliaga of the JW Marriott in Lima  – A Peruvian night at Ritz Carlton, Kuala Lumpur