I could never profess to be a food critic. Indeed, the subtleties of certain flavours could be said to be lost on me. What I can say, however, is that despite the deficiencies of my palette, I do like food and I do like good food and this is, generally, what I found at Tierra Peru.
The most famous (or infamous, depending on your views of offal) dish is the cow's heart. Fortunately, this writer was not to be put off by the aortic offerings and ordered one portion, to go with a slightly less PG, although no less delicious, dish called 'papa a la Huancaina' (a potato dish in a 'Huancaina sauce', which was very pleasantly surprising). Anyway, returning to the cow's heart, holding my breath and wondering why I had ordered this starter, I took my first mouthful, bit down and waited for the unfamiliar flavour of cow's heart to descend my oesophagus. This never came into fruition. Instead, I was met with a tender, slightly more delicate beefy taste. I shan't dwell on what flavours were actually there for the aforementioned reasons concerning my palette but suffice to say the dish was delicious and I would heartily recommend it.
The main courses arrived and, reassured that the kitchen was able to cook cow's heart satisfactorily, not that I can profess to know the ins and outs on how to serve up a well- cooked ticker, I was confident that my South American seafood risotto would not disappoint and certainly, flavour wise, it hit the mark, although there was rather too much squid (I think!) for my liking. My esteemed companion, ordered 'Chicharrones de cerdo con chifles de camote frito y salsa criolla', or deep fried pork to those whose Spanish is in need of some brushing up. Again, very tasty, although, a word of warning would be to make sure that you have lots of fluids to wash this one down. Though pleasantly flavoured, it did become somewhat dry, particularly towards the end!
In the break between the main course and dessert, I think that the service probably needs some mention and whilst we give the deep fried pork and cow's heart time to digest, this seems like the optimal time. Friendly but inefficient would be the best way to describe it, I think and it is because of the friendliness and warmth of the staff that one is able to overlook having to order drinks twice and other minor details that could prove irritating in other establishments.
And so to dessert. The phrase 'I'm not much of dessert person but this was really tasty' is often bandied about these days and it does make me wonder that if a dessert is pleasing someone who is 'not normally a dessert person', are those dessert lovers out there receiving the sugary, sweet ending to a meal that they so crave? Well, I am a dessert person and this was really tasty. Pumpkin and sweet potato doughnuts sound nearly as foul as cow's heart but they were superb, especially with the accompanying cinnamon ice cream. Though they were the undoubted victor in the battle of the desserts, the apple and almond tart with hazelnut ice cream does deserve a mention as a worthy runner up.
I've never had the good fortune to have been to be able to travel to Peru thus far in my life, so I could not comment on the meal's authenticity but what I can say is that this meal gave me the chance to sample dishes I otherwise would not have imagined existed and all at quite reasonable prices. A must visit.