Saturday, May 16, 2015


It would seem, after the amazing dinner that we had at Astrid y Gaston, that everything else would be rather anti-climactic.  We did however, come across several articles/TV shows mentioning s restaurant in Lima that focused on Amazon cuisine.  This sounded really interesting and while there may have been a few things on the Astrid y Gaston menu that may have come from the Amazon region, it was not explicitly focused there.  This restaurant was called ámaZ and we decided that it was a place we were interested in trying out.  It helped that we happened to wander past the place when we were exploring near our apartment, so we made a reservation and went the following evening.  The place is located in an office building and there is just a sign in the window, so it was kind of a wonder that we noticed it.  The dining area comprises two levels, the lower level, where the entrance is located has tile floors and turquoise walls with banquette seating and a bar in the center of the room with hanging lights over it.  The upper dining room very much had a jungle hut motif.  It had wooden floors and round booths around the edges with wicker "roofs".  The round tables in the center of the room used black lounge chairs around inlaid wooden tables.  The menu had a lot of stuff that looked potentially interesting, it took a little bit of time to decide what we wanted to order.  I say what we wanted to order, because everything on the menu was designed for two or four people.  An odd numbered party would have to plan accordingly and a single diner would be eating a lot or bringing something home.  We started things out with Giant Amazon Snails which were sliced up, mixed with Chorizo and Quinoa with a Camu Camu Sauce (Camu Camu is an Amazonian fruit plant similar to Guavaberry), and returned to their shells, which were about the size of my fist.  We were given wooden spoons with which to eat the mixture.  The snail was cooked perfectly and was very tender and had a very savory taste with spice provided by the chorizo.  It was unusual and very good.
We then proceeded to a Jar of Pickles.  What this means in a lot of finer restaurants is a jar of mixed pickled vegetables and possibly fruit (which this one had).  The jar contained Starfruit, Red and Green Peppers, Onions, and Potatoes and used a sweet and sour pickling liquid similar to that used with sweet pickles.  I like pickled vegetables and this was a plus because it had the starfruit, which I had never had.
For our main course, we had Barbecued Ham with Fried and Mashed Plantains and a Side Salsa of Red Peppers and Onions.  This was a fairly simple course, but it was good.  The ham was well cooked and the barbecue was both sweet and spicy.  The plantains reminded me of slightly sweet mashed potatoes and the salsa provided some textural variety with a nice crunch and some spiciness.
We also got a side of Turmeric Rice with Brazil Nuts.  This was also very simple but very flavorful and good.  The turmeric provided a light mustard/curry flavor and the Brazil nuts added crunch.
While everything up to this point was really good and we enjoyed it a lot, dessert was something else.  It was called a Jungle of Chocolate and was served in a cacao bean shell.  It had an amazing variety of textures and colors and started with a very creamy Chocolate Mousse on the bottom with Albaquilla Sponge Cake (an Amazonian Basil), Cilantro Meringue, Cocona (an Amazonian fruit with a flavor between a lemon and a tomato), Bitter Orange, and Macambo (White Cacao, a lesser cousin of the Cacao tree that grows in the Amazon).

Dinner at ámaZ was amazing even if it was slightly annoying to have to coordinate with someone else what we would order.  The flavors were great and I definitely had several things that I have never had before and likely may never be able to have again.  I would happily recommend this to others and would happily return if I were to be in Lima again. 

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