Chica presents unusual Peruvian dishes with style

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 23 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Thursday, 23 August, 2012, 9:18am

G/F, 26 Peel Street, Central

Tel: 2561 3336

Open: Monday-Saturday noon-3pm, 6pm-11pm

Cuisine: Peruvian

Price: about HK$400 without drinks. There's no service charge except for groups of eight or more, when 5 per cent is added to the bill.

Ambience: we sat near the entrance at a high table with a good view of the kitchen. There's a quieter back room.

Pros: the service. Our waiters were very good, with one in particular eager to give details about the unusual dishes and less familiar ingredients, including the many varieties of Peruvian chillies. Waiters made recommendations and prevented us from ordering too much.

Cons: although it sounds enticing, the ceviche of tuna with watermelon, basil, tarragon and orange leche de tigre (HK$148) was the least interesting dish, with the raw fish tasting as if it had been mixed only briefly with the tart, flavourful marinade. The sashimi-style fish in the kingfish tiradito (HK$168) was a little lost under its blanket of
aji amarillo (a type of chilli)
crema, with roughly mashed sweet potato and strands of fried sweet potato.

Recommended dishes: we enjoyed the
causa (whipped potatoes with seafood), which came as a selection of three for HK$165. The crab version tasted a little too much like seafood salad sandwich filling, but we liked the tuna with avocado, wasabi aioli and nori, and even better was the squid with avocado,
aji panca crema and quail egg. Black cod
anticuchos (grilled skewers) with ponzu miso sauce and rocoto aioli (HK$60) had four thick, moist pieces of fish, while the beef heart skewer (HK$50) were dense, meaty chunks cooked so they were still pink inside. The hot scallop ceviche (HK$225) was composed of five
mi-cuit (half-cooked) scallops served in the shell, with a flavourful but light sauce of aji amarillo butter, soy, honey and lime. The pan con chicharron (HK$40 each) was a small but flavour-packed sandwich made of pork belly drizzled with creamy aji amarillo sauce and served with a sliced sweet potato.

What else? Chicha is part of the Concept Creations stable, which also runs the Tapeo and Frites restaurants.

Susan Jung