Inspired by his travellings, Chef Kiko Martins, who acquired his cooking skills at the famous Cordon Bleu Cooking School in Paris, created A Cevicheria, his second restaurant in Portugal’s capital which pays tribute to Peruvian cuisine and in particular to ceviche – a traditional Peruvian dish of raw fish in a citrusy sauce. This small and unpretentious gem of a restaurant is situated in the trendy Príncipe Real neighborhood of Lisbon – well-decorated in blue & white hues, reflecting the sea and overlooked by a giant octopus – it is an inviting place with a modern fish market ambiance.
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This small and very popular restaurant does not take reservations so the only way to secure a table is to come early. Queues form rather quickly in front of the restaurant – a window opening towards the outdoors serves pisco sour (a typical Peruvian drink consisting of Peruvian pisco, lime juice, syrup, egg whites and a dash of Angostura bitter) to sweeten people’s waiting time and some of their most popular dishes are even available to order to go as well. Arriving early for lunch I was able to secure a counter seat from where I watched the careful selection of ingredients, precise measuring, and dedication that goes into the detailed presentation of each dish by chef Sandro Farinho (image above on the left). To start with I was served a selection of homemade bread, seaweed butter, and a spicy yogurt dip and of course a glass of pisco sour!
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I opted for A Cevicheria’s Tasting Menu for lunch, starting with Green Gazpacho and scallop with celery, green apple, ginger, and tapioca – the celery and green apple gave this dish a beautiful freshness with some spice coming through from the ginger and I just loved the presentation!
My absolute favourite dish was the “Ceviche Puro” – seasonal white fish, mashed sweet potato, onion, seaweed and tiger milk. All the individual components worked so well together and, as a serious Peruvian cuisine, and in particular ceviche fan, it doesn’t come much better than that – it was a delight to eat!
The Tuna Ceviche served with grated foie gras, lychees, hazelnuts, tiger milk and beetroot was a lovely twist on the traditional ceviche with the earthiness and sweetness of the beetroot.
Next, I was served the BBQ Octopus causa with black mashed potato, roasted onion, pepper, pork rind and bbq sauce. The roasted octopus was soft and tender, cooked to perfection and the black mash that got its colour from squid ink was a nice touch. To me personally, bbq sauce and octopus was a flavour combination that did not wow me, however, when I asked Ana, who together with João provided a nice and friendly service, about her favourite dish she immediately mentioned how much she loves the unique flavour combination of this dish.
The Sea Quinoto – quinoa, shrimp, cockle, mussels, white fish, seaweed, oysters foam and kombu was a lovely comforting dish with nice sweet components.
For my last dish, I opted for the quinoa, passion fruit and guava with banana cream, guava sorbet and cashew powder which was a fantastic dessert that wasn’t too sweet nor too heavy.
After lunch, I walked to nearby Praça do Príncipe Real with its main garden only a few steps away, where I enjoyed listing to fado music (traditional Portuguese folk music) by Gonçalo Pires and his friend – two amazing musicians that I could have listened to all afternoon and whilst you are in the area don’t miss the gorgeous viewpoint at Miradouro de São Pedro de Alcântara!