A great experience for foodies looking for a fine-dining tour of gourmet Peruvian cuisine.
Astrid y Gaston is the fine dining arm of the Acurio restaurant group. Located in the stunning Casa Moreyra in the district of San Isidro, the restaurant is now under the management of Chef Diego Muñoz. Muñoz worked as Gaston Acurio’s sous-chef and a few years ago was named chef and owner of this iconic Lima restaurant.
Named after Gaston Acurio and his wife Astrid, this has long been a firm fixture on the Lima restaurant scene and is currently ranked 14th on the San Pellegrino World’s 50 Best Restaurants. It definitely makes sense to pay a visit if food is one of the key reasons that you travel.
The tasting menu changes every 6 months and is currently based around the theme ‘Lima’, show casing ingredients and traditions from the province of Lima and is a nice way to try some of Peru’s best and most interesting ingredients like lucuma, custard apple and native potatoes.
The first few dishes are bite-sized finger-food style dishes that are served on the terrace. We enjoyed the tangy sea urchin on a seafood crisp with nasturtium which was visually stunning with a nice mix of flavours and textures as was the cacao with anchovy, lime and ginger which while sounding surprising worked perfectly together.
Some of the 30 courses were stunning like the traditional pisco sour with a twist that came served in a bowl with a spoon and features lemon sorbet, foamed egg whites and pisco to cleanse the palate. The catch of the day breaded with crunchy kañiwa and served with baby green peas was also cooked to perfection and melted in the mouth.
We loved the pigeon served with cacao foam, cacao cream and cacao nibs which was a journey of texture but were less keen on the green soup which had a somewhat gelatinous texture that was a touch too creamy in flavor.
Desserts include a nice selection of Peruvian fruits like pacae, tumbo, cacao and custard apple and the traditional ‘ranfañote’ desert was a beautiful blend of coconut, rum ice-cream, and raw sugar. The ‘huevo chumbo’ was a technical dish that looked like a beautifully presented raw egg but was in fact a passion fruit jelly covering a sponge cake and as far as flavours go was a little disappointing.
Astrid y Gaston boast the largest tasting menu in the city with 30 courses. We did wonder however, whether so many courses meant that some suffered slightly like the tomato, sea scallop and parmesan or the sweet potato with pine nut and red cabbage which lacked a strong identity.
We really enjoyed the presence of sommelier Jose Carrera whose passion for his trade shone through with every wine he brought to the table. Their focus is on pairing the menu with interesting bio-dynamic and organic wines from around the world. Gems included the Bill Pinot Noir 2012 and some of his interesting pairings like the Momokawa sake paired with the seaweed, rice and cucumber dish that was a perfect match.
Service is impeccable and friendly but formal with a minimum of one server to each diner. It was a quiet lunch time when we visited so it did feel at one point like we were surrounded by wait staff. The kitchen is open-plan and appeared laid-back and you can ask to go downstairs and visit the ‘workshop’ where research is carried out and new menus are created by Diego and his team.
Gaston Acurio is Peru’s original celebrity chef who now has over 40 restaurants around the country. We haven’t always had good experiences in his establishments but were pleased to see that his flagship restaurant Astrid y Gaston still remains a world apart from his mainstream eateries and that under the keen eye of Chef Muñoz remains one of the top fine dining experiences in Peru and indeed South America.
Best of Peru Travel Recommends:
- Astrid y Gaston offers the tasting menu only but ‘La Barra’ next door does an a-la-carte menu in a bright airy space with a more relaxed atmosphere. (Book one week in advance)
- Remember to book a month in advance for a reservation at Astrid y Gaston.
- Check out the herb garden in the front of the restaurant. It was lovely to see so much space in the heart of the busy san Isidro district dedicated to the herbs and plants that are used in the kitchen.