Latin American cuisine – or Latin American-style chicken, more precisely – may be one of the “in” things in dining out these days, but Chef Luis Higa has been bringing a taste of Peru to Quezon City regulars for more than two years now, first by way of Don Andres restaurant, and later, when Don Andres moved to a new location, through Mantaro.
Named after the valley in Peru, Mantaro offers traditional Peruvian dishes like in Don Andres. Diners especially enjoy the huge portions (almost every dish is plentiful enough to be shared) and modest prices. Plus, the short menu is a good sign that the chef sets his focus on a few, select dishes.
On a recent weekend visit, JM and I find ourselves with another group of diners, but despite the small space, it seems like we have the place to ourselves. We sit at the veranda area to enjoy the quiet surroundings.
We start with Ceviche de Pescado, an old South American dish where fish is “cooked” by the acid of citrus juice instead of heat. Believed to have originated from the ancient Inca civilization, the ceviche has been one of South America’s most traditional recipes, but is becoming very popular among serious food fans lately. Here, as in Peru, it’s served with slices of sweet potatoes and cancha (roasted corn kernels).
For the main dish, we have a quarter of the popular Pollo con Arroz (chicken with rice), the sight of which has our mouth watering and the size surprisingly able to fill up both me and JM.
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