Maido in Lima, Peru
Our trip to Peru was for our honeymoon. That being said, we decided to thoroughly taste the cuisine of Lima. Our goal was to visit a few of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Maido was rated as #44. It is a Japanese and Peruvian fusion restaurant which we learned is an amazing combination. This combination was also featured in dishes at La Mar.
The evening started off entering into a warm and welcoming environment. As we walked up the stairs and entered into the space, all of the staff exclaimed, “Maido!” Although we were confused at first and are not normally greeted that aggressively, we learned the meaning behind it. The expression ‘Maido’ means welcome and thank you for your business.
Our waiter spoke some English and I speak a bit of Spanish so we made the meal work. Out waiter was patient and kind while we were stumbling to communicate. He was helpful, resourceful, and a delight to spend the evening with.
Deciding what food to order
We decided to order many small dishes to get as many of the flavors as possible. As seen in the image below, we started with drinks. I chose a Pisco Sour- it was my goal to compare as many as I could. The 3 small plates in front of me are 2 dishes we ordered and the chef’s special.
The chef’s special was a steamed quail egg on a homemade rice wafer. Max has a fear and disdain for eggs and their texture (Max disagrees with the texture myth but there is not other possible excuse because he normally eats everything he sees), but he was a trooper and tried it. There was a mixture of textures between the crunchy wafer and the barely cooked egg. I thoroughly enjoyed it and I appreciated the chef’s creativity!
We wanted to try the Japanese side of the fusion and ordered maki sushi. We love everything in the realm of sushi and this only confirmed that. The flavor was intense and rich. I could have eaten many more.
This is duck fois gras served over nigiri rice with eel sauce on top. The waiter served us this and proceeded to take a torch to this. It was cooked at our table which added to the presentation. The rice in this picture is not visible because of the size of the fois gras- which is a fantastic problem to have. Max almost wept (there was a tear in his eye) when he was eating this. He has a passion for fois gras and this only solidified it. If I had to guess, this would be in Max’s top 5 most delicious items he has ever eaten.
After coming off of the fois gras high, we ordered a hand roll. This roll was huge and packed with delectable items. Pictured below is the roll: shrimp tempura in the center, topped with wagyu beef, and salmon roe. I am not a huge beef fan, I do not typically eat any cow- but this wagyu beef was a game changer. Amazing all around.
Max ordered this next dish in secret from me. It was a texture, temperature, and taste mix up! This raw salmon cake was topped with a yogurt miso ice cream. It was an interesting dish from all 3 of the previously listed perspectives. It developed beautifully.
While we were waiting on more food, we were observing the decor. The restaurant itself is pretty small and it is clear they only do maybe one turnover in the evenings. The room had large mirrors on the walls which expanded the space. The part that we were confused about was the ceiling. There were mostly white ropes hanging with one small corner of red ropes. It wasn’t until half way through our meal did we discover that with the reflection of the mirrors that it turned out to look like the Japanese flag. Such a creative design!
We continued the meal with a dish we know all too well- pork belly. These pieces of pork belly were served on top of a fried rice cake. Again, the introduction of Japanese food into seemingly non compatible foods was seamless. The pork belly was cooked wonderfully and the seasoning/spices flowed into the rice. (Charango in Cape Town should take note!)
Dessert at Maido
Although at this point, our breathing was labored,(a foreshadowing for the impending Inca Trail) we decided we had to have dessert anyway. Peru (and the Amazon jungle in general) is known for cocoa beans, so we had to try some! This dish was called Cacao 100%, with different percentages of cacao, but everything was chocolate.
Overall, Maido was a culinary highlight of our trip. The atmosphere, service, and food were superb. It is easy to see why Maido is on the list for top 50 restaurant in the world. If we ever find ourselves in Lima, Peru again, we will 100% return to Maido.