Restaurant Review: Cafe A Bistro

Restaurant Review: Cafe A Bistro

Sheila Christensen Jeanneau

A new, home-style restaurant is an unexpected pleasure when Living in Peru visits the border of districts Magdalena del Mar and San Isidro.

Located on the corner of Ejercito and Salaverry in San Isidro and wedged in-between a gas station, both a chifa and a well-known chicken restaurant, you could easily miss this quaint, charming and laid-back restaurant which opened up about 11 months ago.

The head chef and owner of Cafe A Bistro is Ashton Mullikin, who studied at the Cordon Bleu in San Francisco, California and worked in various San Francisco restaurants for several years before deciding to move to Peru to reconnect with some of his Peruvian family. I thoroughly enjoyed speaking with him, and his enthusiasm for his food and restaurant was contagious.

There has been much buzz about the amazing burgers at Cafe A Bistro, but this bistro is much more than burgers. The food is about home-style, healthy cooking and so much more.

(Photo: Living in Peru/Erick Andia)

The hamburger buns, breads, pickles, French fries, pesto (prepared with habas, or Lima beans), marmalade, mustard, ketchup, flavored butters, hummus, granola, yogurt, iced teas and lemonades are all made on the premises. These extra touches that go the extra mile always charm me. I stopped drinking soda years ago and so I am always looking for alternatives. The bistro offers both a house-made lemonade (mixture of strawberries, spearmint and muña on the day of our visit) as well as a house iced tea which had oranges and limes. The ingredients vary depending on the day.

I really enjoyed Cafe A Bistro’s version of salmon tartare (tartar de salmón, S/. 22) which had a whimsical flair to it. The pieces of fresh salmon mixed with radish, quinoa pop, herbs, olive oil and green onions were served on top of ultra-crispy crackers that were prepared with quinoa and beer. This was a light and delicious starter.

(Photo: Living in Peru/Erick Andia)

The alcachofa confitadas (S/. 19), was a flavorful salad consisting of artichokes, red onion, baby potatoes, arugula, radish, baby potatoes, and shavings of manchego cheese, accented with a sherry vinegar. This is a great vegetarian option.

The pollo thai (S/. 22) is one of four salads that the bistro serves and a great option if you are in the mood for salad with an Asian touch. This salad can easily satisfy one diner or be shared by two as a side. The salad consists of chicken, shredded purple cabbage, chinese cabbage and carrot, as well as chopped green onion, radish, cilantro, peanuts and tossed together in a light sesame dressing.

(Photo: Living in Peru/Erick Andia)

The salmon filet (S/. 35) was moist and cooked slightly rare, accompanied by a generous portion of multi-color quinoa mixed with carrots, onion, Andean herbs and drizzled with yogurt. This was a perfectly executed treatment of salmon.

One of the surprise entrees was Cafe A Bistro’s chicken dish, pollo bebe (S/. 29). Normally I do not order chicken at restaurants since I tend to eat it at home quite often. This dish would be the exception for me. This roasted chicken was amazingly succulent and accompanied by potatoes, aji Amarillo and watercress with a rich, flavor-packed romesco sauce.

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And last but not least, the hamburgers. I had many friends who had previously recommended I try the burgers here. The burger did not disappoint. I believe it has garnered the justifiable buzz and definitely lived up to my expectations. Cafe A Bistro uses national short rib beef and the meat that is used in the burgers is a coarse-grind which enables you to really taste the meat. I am a “texture” person so I really enjoyed this. The burgers are 170 grams.

Another component of the burgers here are the homemade buns. In my opinion, it totally enhances the burger. The buns are thick, plump and support the burger and do not fall apart like many others do. Our rare burger was cooked to perfection. All burgers come with caramelized onions, a cheese similar in texture to a melted American cheese or Velveeta cheese, and their secret sauce. A dill pickle accompanied the burger. This was definitely one of the more decadent burgers I have sampled in Lima.

I highly recommend the Ashton’s original creation PapaAsh (S/. 17), to accompany your burger or just as a starter to share. These French fries are cut with the skin on and are tossed with ricotta cheese, herbs and the house romesco sauce.

We shared the French toast with syrup, pecans and bananas (S/.23) to end our dining experience at Cafe A Bistro. These were quite decadent and satisfying.

(Photo: Living in Peru/Erick Andia)

On my return visit to Cafe A Bistro, I returned with my husband on a Sunday for some breakfast/brunch food. We had the quinoa pancakes (S/. 21) and the fruit salad with yogurt (S/. 24). The pancakes were hearty and full of flavor. There was quite a bit of syrup on it and I should have requested that “on the side”. The fruit salad comes with natural yogurt, house-made granola, seasonal fruits and drizzled with organic honey. I felt the fruit salad should be substantially larger for the price. There should have been been more yogurt and much more fruit.

If you desire a larger breakfast, I would suggest the American breakfast which comes with eggs, house-made potatoes, sausage and toast. That was quite popular the day we were there. We also ordered one of their four house sandwiches (tostadas a la plancha, S/. 21) for carryout. We chose the roast beef because you rarely find a decent roast beef sandwich in Peru. It was excellent; the beef was rare and piled high atop cheese, tomato, watercress, mayo and mustard. All of the sandwiches are served with your choice of house potatoes, French fries or salad.

The menu at Cafe A Bistro is approachable, well-executed and not overwhelming. There are approximately twelve items on their regular menu and approximately twelve options on their brunch menu. There is enough variety I believe to satisfy most diners and the prices are comfortable. The presentations of all the dishes were visually pleasing and the flavors were delicious as well. I definitely will be returning often to explore more of the menu.

Cafe A Bistro
Av. Del Ejército 2193
San Isidro
Phone: 264-5856
Monday-Friday: 12:30 p.m.-4:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
Saturday: 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
7:00 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
Sunday: 9:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Capacity: 33 people

Starters: S/. 17-22
Salads: S/. 19-22
Main dishes: S/. 25-35
Brunch: S/. 9-24
Sandwiches: S/. 21
Desserts: S/. 25
Coffees: S/. 5-7
Non-alcoholic beverages: S/. 8-12
Limited beer & wine selection

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1 Comment

  1. marebg2700
    January 14, 16:09 Reply
    Cafe A Bistro looks like the place to be! Great photos and review!

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