Restaurant Review: Museo del Pisco

Restaurant Review: Museo del Pisco

Roxana GarmendiaSituated just a few steps away from the imposing Presidential Palace and Archbishopric in the Plaza Mayor of Lima is a newcomer and must see!

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)
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Nobody can question that traffic in Lima is a nightmare and that you think twice -if not more- before thinking about how to get from point A to point B, and by which means. However, nobody living in this city can avoid paying a visit to downtown, whether it is to pose as a tour guide for your visiting parents, family, and friends; buy a product you simply cannot find elsewhere or for some other good reason. Most probably you will end up in the city’s beautiful main square trying to impress your visitors with your knowledge of Peruvian history, architecture, and politics, or perhaps you just want to take one more look at this city landmark.

Now let me give you one more reason why you should think about paying a visit to the Plaza Mayor sometime soon.

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)

Just a few steps from the Presidential Palace and the Archbishopric in one of the four corners of this majestic square, exactly on the pedestrian street that leads you to the Desamparados Train Station, stands a fairly new addition: the Museo del Pisco, a bar-restaurant which has much to offer.

Settled in what is considered the oldest colonial building in Lima, this prime location is full of history. During colonial times, justice was served in this property known as the ‘˜Casa del Oidor’ where the Spanish would hear people’s claims and troubles. Furthermore, it was precisely in this house where liberator Jose de San Martin stood on the balcony to listen to the crowds cheering after independence was declared.

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)

As we toured around the place, we took note of the high ceilings, the gigantic old map depicting the Peruvian coast during colonial times, explanations into the processing of pisco and a full lecture of its varieties portrayed on the walls and menus, a few lovely botijas-clayed pots where pisco is kept- scattered here and there, dark wooden tables and chairs, and a bar exhibiting attractive pisco bottles; a perfect setting for anyone trying to learn about and taste Peru’s national beverage.

Adam Weintraub, a photographer from Seattle, discovered the wonders of pisco and Peruvian gastronomy years back when he was touring the country. In 2010, he took a bold decision and moved to Cusco and opened the first Museo del Pisco two years later with the purpose of sharing this passion he felt for both Peruvian gastronomy and pisco. The success was immediate and in 2014 he opened up an affiliate in Arequipa and two years later the concept finally arrived in Lima. Be aware that Adam’s plans don’t stop here and extend beyond our national borders. Living in Peru (LiP) shall keep you informed of any future moves this pisco-lover takes.

But focusing on the present, the Museo del Pisco offers pisco tastings for those that want to taste pisco in its purest form. You can also opt for an amazing pisco cocktail of which there is plenty to choose from. In any case, pisco is very much present throughout its menu; including its food, we were told.

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)

We tried some cocktails as well:
The Marticha -a pisco-based cocktail with a mix of passion fruit, mango, and lemon, sweet and delicious.

The Valicha – passion fruit, ginger, green apple and pisco which was a delight to drink. The Momo with pisco, golden berry, orange, lemon, mandarin and cardamom that was slightly bitter but wonderful too.

An Andean Chilcano with airampo -an Andean fruit- muna, lemon juice and ginger ale which was refreshing and tasty.
The Livia, pisco with rosemary flavors, passion fruit, mango, strawberry, nice and fresh;
The Dona Lucha, pisco, lemongrass, passion fruit, and apple, simply wonderful.
Lastly, an Encantoni – a beautifully presented cocktail made of pisco, golden berry, orange and ice cube with a rosemary stick inside, served in a glass and brought in a wooden tray with rosemary branches; definitely a man’s drink for its harshness but still extremely savory and nice to drink.

Altogether, the cocktails (S/ 24) surprised us all not only for the wonderful flavors and adventurous touch but also for their unique and genuine character.

With so many drinks we had to have some food inside our tummies. We tried the Antipasto Pisquero (S/ 65) that consisted of a big platter of slices of homemade duck prosciutto which was exquisite, Hungarian salami, great Andean and Paria cheese, grilled vegetables, small butifarras -sandwich with cured pork meat loafs and spicy onion sauce- which were wonderful, and some fresh salad that came along with a tasty passion fruit sauce. The size of this dish was big enough to bring down our alcohol consumption levels and satisfy our demanding palates.

We also had the Promocion de Tapas (S/ 65) which consisted of a platter with four types of tapas: a small pizza with grilled Italian squash, eggplant, tomatoes and plenty of mozzarella; shrimps with plenty of avocado cream; some slices of pork cooked in the oven; and cassava tequenos that came along with four types of sauces: an Andean uchucuta, huacatay, green peppers, and Andean cheese. Everything was fabulous and if this was not enough, a basket of Andean cocktail potatoes sprinkled with Andean herbs and different sauces also made their way to the table as a courtesy of the house.

(Photo: Marco Simola/Living in Peru)

The last tapa we tried was the Causa de Langostinos (S/ 18) that was presented like a roll and was very nice as well.

We tried their Ceviche de Palacio (S/ 32), which was a mixed ceviche but with a touch of coconut milk. Not only was it beautiful in color, but it was tasty and very yummy!

The Museo del Pisco does not have a very large menu but it offers a few classic dishes such as the Lomo saltado, Chicharron de pescado al panko, Arroz chaufa among others. On this occasion we tried three dishes: the Pechuga con pesto y quinotto (S/ 28) that was a chicken breast bathed in a nice pesto sauce served along a savory creamy quinotto, a classic Lomo Saltado (S/ 36) which was quite tasty, and a Fetuccini a la huancaina con lomo saltado (S/ 37) that was somehow lacking flavor.

As a dessert, we had Tequenos de Nutella (S/ 18) but in our opinion, a little bit of liquid chocolate sauce on top or better placed in a jar to pour into as per the client’s wish, would have certainly enhanced the tequenos which were a bit dry but still tasty.

With so much food and drinks, we ended our visit with some coffee and a ‘˜Te piteado’ (S/ 24) -hot tea with pisco- that is something inexplicably hard to find in Lima and so wonderful to have on any cold day.

The Museo del Pisco is definitely a place you will not and cannot miss out on during your next visit to downtown Lima whether you want to learn a bit more about pisco or have some fabulous drinks and wonderful food in a relaxed and historic setting. Also, keep in mind that there is live music in the evenings twice a month.

Museo del Pisco
Opening hours: Monday to Wednesday – 10 – 10 pm, Thursday / 10 -11 pm, Friday, and Saturday – 10 to 12 am and Sunday – 10 to 6 pm
Parking: nearby
Lunch weekdays – S/ 25
Starters and tapas- S/ 14 -28
Tapa platters – S/ 30-60
Sandwiches – S/ 16-27
Main dishes- S/ 28 -37
Cocktails – S/ 24
Pisco tasting – S/ 37

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