Restaurant Review: Jeronimo

Restaurant Review: Jeronimo

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Sheila Christensen JeanneauA perfectly painted picture of what to expect from this unpretentious yet sophisticated culinary restaurant.

Jeronimo opened its doors in September of 2016 and quickly became one of the new darlings and the buzz-worthy restaurant of the moment. It is currently one of my new personal favorites as well and a restaurant I recommend when friends ask me where to go to eat in Lima. I keep returning to Jeronimo for their variety of dishes, well-executed menu and their excellent customer service. The staff is friendly, energetic and passionate about what they do. The vibe at Jeronimo is unpretentious and informal, yet sophisticated. Eclectic art is displayed here and there as well as many plants (suspended from the exposed ceilings and throughout the premises). The interior decor is a bit of modern, eclectic and rustic fusion with wonderful natural lighting. You have the option of dining at a table or perhaps at their huge bar. I feel relaxed and comfortable every time I dine here.

Chef Moma Adrianzen is not a newcomer in the culinary world. At the age of 40, Moma finds himself back in Lima and the leader of the culinary team at Jeronimo. Chef Moma has been traveling and cooking in distant lands well outside of Peru for the past 19 years or so. This has taken him to exotic destinations such as Thailand, India, Vietnam, Malaysia, Indochina, México and Australia, just to name a few. He attended culinary school during his time in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Many of the dishes served at Jeronimo are partly in homage to the various places Moma has lived and worked. Moma has also previously worked with other Peruvian heavy-hitter chefs such as Rafael Osterling and Pedro Miguel Schiaffino as well as for the Osaka brand in Buenos Aires and Mexico. Moma also participated in several Osaka openings in Santiago, Chile, two in Mexico, the second Lima location and in Sao Paolo, Brazil.

Restaurant work requires discipline and sacrifices…lots of them. This concept is not lost on Moma. He is involved in all aspects at his restaurant and works right alongside his team. One of the things I really like about Chef Moma is his positive attitude and energy. His endearing smile is infectious and he wears his heart on his sleeve. He is spiritual, humble and confident all at the same time. Besides Moma’s dedication to the restaurant, he is also a very involved and dedicated father to his two young children. Moma is a serious and devoted practitioner of the martial art of Muay Thai. This helps to ground and center him as well as disconnect him temporarily. It’s his therapy. Moma earnestly strives towards keeping an equilibrium between his private family life, his sport, as well as his dedication to Jeronimo and other creative culinary ventures. Moma strives to be a better cook and to be a better person.

The dedication and work ethic that Chef Moma exudes is also reflected in the Jeronimo staff. Customer service is one of the main reasons to dine at this restaurant. The entire Jeronimo staff is friendly, enthusiastic and attentive. The team is like a well-oiled machine…..all the gears functioning together and well-maintained. There is obvious respect, love, and camaraderie between Moma and the “family” team. Prior to Jeronimo, Moma worked with several of his current staff previously. One of his sous chefs, Cristian Ruiz, is one of those. They worked together over the past 8 years in Argentina, Mexico, and Peru.

A special mention and shout-out need to be given to the bar manager, Andy Valderrama. His extensive cocktail menu is diverse, creative and adventurous. The house specialty craft cocktails are the rage at Jeronimo. There is a wide variety to choose from…be it a mix of classic cocktails or inventive and modern concoctions. I had previously sampled a La Mulita (their version with a couple twists of a classic Moscow Mule) as well as a couple selections from their varied gin and tonic menu. All excellent and refreshing.

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)

During my recent visit with the team of Living in Peru, we were amazed by the four house cocktails that we sampled. Each one was unique and inspired. The most unique of them was la ultima chupada del mango (S/. 36), a combination of pisco quebranta, mezcal, mango, jalapeño, passionfruit juice, chipotle sauce and sal de guisano. Sipping this beverage was an experience in itself. Andy came over to our table to advise us on how to enjoy this cocktail. There was a method or ritual to enjoy and savor every ingredient. You taste a myriad of flavors such as smokiness, sweetness, citrus, salty, and hot and spicy. The first sip awakens the senses and with every sip afterward, it becomes a bit addictive.

The negroni de la muerte arrived at our table in a glass beaker that looked like it came out of a laboratory class. This concoction consisted of one ounce each of mezcal, vermouth rosso, and campari, a few drops of cacao bitters and a generous splash of tonic water. It was topped off with orange and lime slices and the extra special accent of the burnt incense stick.

Our last cocktail was the master of puppets (S/. 32)…..a flavorful blend of banana liqueur, a splash of pomegranate and watermelon juices, lime, spearmint and jamaica soda (a Mexican hibiscus soda). It was colorful, delicious and absolutely refreshing on this balmy day.

Behind one area of the bar, you will most likely notice the Josper oven which is an invaluable investment at Jeronimo. This cutting-edge, multitasking novelty oven is used in a multitude of dishes at Jerí³nimo. It sears, smokes and grills all at the same time and imparts a smoky touch to many of the food dishes as well as creating a desirable char and crispy surface. The Josper is a combination of a grill and oven in a single machine and works 100% with charcoal. This oven can reach temperatures up to 500 degrees Celsius. It also has a vent system for temperature control. The oven can accommodate many pieces of meat, fish, and vegetables at the same time and cooks everything in a significantly shorter amount of time.

If I had to describe the food at Jeronimo, I would not call it “fusion” like many people have nor would I call it Peruvian. I would call Moma’s cuisine, “worldly food” because he has highlighted the cuisine from his travels and interpreted these dishes into his own style with his signature touches. Food may not be all that fussy at Jeronimo, but there is a keen effort and attention to detail in everything prepared and the dishes are balanced and thoughtfully composed. If variety is important to you, it can be found at Jeronimo. Options are varied enough to satisfy vegetarians and carnivores. There are 39 dishes on the Jeronimo menu, not including the six desserts. I have personally sampled 13 dishes during my various visits. Now on to the food that the team of Living in Peru shared a couple weeks ago.

I was pleasantly surprised by the whimsical sashimi mixto platter (S/. 53), which arrived at our table. Inside the blue bowl filled with ice rested four slices each of flounder, salmon (topped off with salmon roe) and tuna, accompanied by wasabi and ginger slices. Besides the incredible freshness and high quality of the fish, I enjoyed the sea treasures that were also nestled into this bowl such as the mythological half-man-half-fish king caricature, the white coral rock, and the copper plate. It added an extra touch, this “treasure” from the sea. This sashimi platter is available in 9 or 12 slices.

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)

Next up were the infamous Conos (S/. 49). Practically every table orders these five large artisanal wonton cones filled first with an avocado cream and then generous amounts of tuna tartare. The presentation is unique and the cones are held in place by rustic wire molds which rest on top of platters filled with small stones. It’s almost a “must” to order these.

The tiradito ahumado (S/. 56) was exquisite. Razor-thin, translucent slices of fresh flounder arranged in a circular pattern and accompanied by pieces of octopus that are grilled in the Josper oven along with a panamito bean salad and accompanied by a delectable smoky ají­ amarillo sauce. This was most definitely one of our table favorites.

The hits kept coming with the arrival of another very popular Jeronimo dish and one I order every time I dine here…..the tacos ensenada (S/. 51). Eating these fish tacos brings me back to the area of Baja, California where I ate fish tacos for the first time many years (30) ago. These tacos are addictive! The fish used at Jerí³nimo for their tacos is Robayo. They lightly fry the fish which has been dipped in a tempura batter. The fish is prepared to perfection….both crunchy and airy in texture. The fish is served on a homemade grilled corn tortilla and topped off with slices of purple cabbage, pico de gallo, small cubes of avocado and a very light drizzle of sour cream. Every order comes with five tacos. Jeronimo also serves tacos pastor, their version with pork and grilled pineapple….also an excellent rendition.

The St. Louis costillar de cerdo asado (S/. 84) was a generous slab (6 ribs) of St. Louis USA pork served with artisanal tortillas and accompanied by guacamole, a chipotle sauce and pico de gallo. This dish can easily be shared.

The arroz bomba calamar (S/. 69) was prepared and served in a black cast iron pan. The bomba rice from Spain was used in this dish and was infused with calamari ink. Pieces of fried calamari, slices of artichoke, salsa criolla and an incredible creamy aioli sauce elevated this rich-flavored dish. Another dish ideal for sharing.

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)

The desserts did not disappoint! The torrijas (S/. 28)….. French toast prepared with a thick slice of brioche bread dipped in batter and grilled to a golden crunch. Blueberries and raspberries resting on top of creamy mounds of mascarpone accompany this French toast and a scoop of Philadelphia cream cheese ice cream. This was a “comfort food” dessert for me and heavenly. The limí³n arrugado (S/. 30) was an excellent modern version of lemon meringue pie with a wavy meringue detail on top and accented by crushed cookies and pistachios.

Besides Jeronimo, Moma has plans and other culinary proposals/ventures in the works. Another Jeronimo is expected to open up near the end of this year in Santiago, Chile. I am especially excited about Moma’s plans to open up a future authentic tacqueria just down the street from Jeronimo within the next several months as well.

May the good vibrations and energy at Jeronimo continue to flow. “Cocina de esquina” and so much more. This is one of the happiest food corners in Lima.

Av. Mariscal La Mar 1209
Phone: 494-7336
Reservations: highly recommended
Noise: Conversation-challenged at times
Hours: Closed Monday
Tuesday/Wednesday: 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. / 7:00 p.m.-11:00 or 11:30 p.m.
Thursday-Saturday: 1:00 p.m.-3:30 p.m. / 7:00 p.m.-12:30 a.m.
Sunday: open for lunch only
Capacity: 70 persons
Valet parking available
Limited street parking/parking garages in the vicinity

Cold dishes: S/. 35-58
Central dishes: S/. 29-77
Hot dishes: S/. 35-94
Burgers/Sandwiches/Tacos: S/. 44-51
Soups/Salads: S/. 33-44
Pastas: S/. 47-52
Desserts: S/. 20-38
Aguas Frescas: S/. 16
Non-Alcoholic beverages: S/. 9-15
Beer: S/. 13-20
Cocktails: S/. 28-38
Full bar

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