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Metrô bus Maria Angelica
Apparently rather more keen on its historic Italian, Japanese and French connections, aside from the obvious Uruguyan and Argentine bovine imports, carioca cuisine remains largely in the dark when it comes to its Latin American neighbours. Step forward, then, La Carioca Cevicheria, one of the only Peruvian restaurants in town (Flamengo's excellent, if more expensive, Intihuasi the other notable example) where the pisco sours and seafood flow like chopp and feijoada, in a pleasing burst of out-of-the-ordinary flavours for Jardim Botânico.
Peru's national lunchtime staple ceviche, the ultra-fresh white fish 'cooked' in lime juice, is here served up in a multitude of styles, Brazil's kitchen-sink approach applied with a thick brush and leading to some interesting results. Thankfully the straight-up fish, lime, coriander and onion offering is freshness personified, but less authentic combinations come thick, fast and with varying results. The Tahiti is laden with ginger, coconut milk and lemongrass, using a time-honoured combination of flavours with a light hand and the onion-less tiraditos work well in the Thai - a straightforward combination of sesame oil and lemon juice - but the Mediterráneo couples truffle oil and tuna to disappointingly dry results.
The pulpo andino (Andean Octopus) may sound like something of a geographic anomoly but the tender, grilled tentacles with a salad of vegetables and side of crunchy garlic quinoa are every bit as dashing on the palette as they are to the eye. Order with the house beer, La Carioca, in pilsener and malted varieties, brewed to be the perfect foil to all the seafood guzzling, or go bold with the sparkling rosé sangria. To up the authenticity levels, however, you cannot go far wrong with Peru's own national drink, pisco (Peruvian grape-brandy) sour, even if it does come in a range of infusions from pepper to lemongrass that the average Lima native might not immediately recognise.
22 May 2013.