While Vancouver has finally made some progress in the Mexican food department, the Latin food scene had tended to drag well behind. Enter Chicha Restaurant to tempt our taste buds by serving up all things Peruvian.
Chicha is named after the beverage Chicha Morado, a drink made from purple corn, spices, pineapple, and citrus that is crafted fresh at Chicha, just like everything else at the restaurant.
Friends Shelome Bouvette (previously the chef at Davie Street’s Lolita’s) and Allison Fluke (most recently at Gudrun in Steveston) make up the Executive Chef team, and partner Kumiko Umeno looks after the front of house. After a trip through Peru to fine-tune their Peruvian cooking techniques, the restaurant opened in May 2013.
So what is modern Peruvian food all about? The kitchen uses the freshest of vegetables, fruit, and local meats to create dishes flavoured with Peruvian spices and chilies. The quinoa salad is a must with mango, avocado, roasted pepper, red onion, and a jalepeno-hucatay (Peruvian mint) dressing; be sure to add the flavourful chicken skewers if you are feeling particularly hungry.
Pemberton beef stars in the Lomo Saltado, a steak served up with fries and a pepper, onion, rice and tomato stir-fry and whipped potato salad topped with veggies or BC tuna and crab – it’s great for sharing. Round out the meal with small bites such as meat skewers, empanadas, and their famous Fraser Valley pork sliders.
And always leave room for the Picarones (sweet potato and pumpkin Peruvian donuts with spiced honey and raspberry sauce) as they are superb.
Recently, the team at Chicha fancied up their cocktail program to incorporate a few patio-worthy gems we’re betting will be a hit this season. For starters, the Pisco Sour is the star: a well shaken drink with pisco (grape brandy), fresh lime, egg whites, sugar and bitters; be sure to try the Earl Grey version.
Next up, sip their take on sangria and margaritas this summer. Both are so tasty and well-balanced that it’d be all too easy to indulge in a few too many over a leisurely Friday lunch (you might just get in a wee bit of trouble). Local beer on tap, imports by the bottle, and an interesting wine program complete the sips menu.
Open for dinner seven days a week, Fridays for lunch and Saturdays/Sundays for brunch, the lengthy menu, vibrant room, spot-on service, and very reasonable prices give you all sort of reasons to return frequently. Check out Double Pisco Tuesdays ($5 for two) and head in on Monday nights for sliders and 20 oz. pints for just $10.
Will you be checking out Chicha anytime soon? Let us know in the comments below or tweet us @ViewTheVibe.