Tuesday, September 6, 2011
Restaurant Maracuya - Arica, Chile
Some days lead to perfect evenings and a meal augmented by friends, wine and a sunset that defines the exquisite. Most recently at Restaurant Maracuya in Arica, Chile I was given the gift of such an evening; bold, beautiful and blazing.
We were impressed with the location right on the Pacific; pounding sea, light music and soft lighting were accentuated by the final moments of brazen rays. The Terra Andina Sauvignon Blanc flowed copiously. The Carpaccio of Salmon and Oyster was attractively served with capers, lemon juice, locally produced Azapa Olive Oil and the juice of oyster. The main plates were Albacore a la Veracruzana and Congrio with Tapenade. The thick tuna steak was classically treated in the Veracruz, Mexico style by marinating the fish in lime juice and seasonings, seared beautifully (raw at the center as per request) and topped with a fresh red sauce highlighted with Azapa Green Olives. The Congrio with Tapenade was astonishing. If you´ve never had Conger Eel, you´re in for a treat and the seared version at Restaurant Maracuya is one of the best. The tapenade (a combination of Azapa Olives, capers and anchovies) was rich and added nicely to the dish. We asked for two small extra plates, the mains were so good it was obligatory to share. Also, no surprise to see that the chef had made good use of the local olives being that the Azapa Valley fruit is flavourful, fleshy with a thin, delicate skin; sumptuous characteristics that make this olive easy to enjoy.
I am not much of one for desserts but a Crème Bavarois in the Atacama Desert warranted attention. Crème Bavarois is a cold dessert of egg custard with gelatine and cream. This version was heavy on the gelatine, not much to my liking; however, it was topped with a Maracuya (Passion Fruit) Sauce so appealing we asked for a serving in a teacup with two spoons. Over the top delicioso!
For maximum enjoyment at Restaurant Maracuya, I suggest a sunset rendezvous. Might as well look to Mama Nature for all she has to offer. But with service this good you´ll feel pampered anytime of day.
Nota bene: We found the white wine a little warm (best at 45-50 °F or 7-10 °C). And when white is served warm it tends to be unbalanced and has an alcohol edge. Nonetheless, the situation was easily remedied with a bucket containing ice, cold water and salt to effect a fast chill. Chilling your own wine at table really slows down consumption and, no doubt, lowers sales (owners please take note).
Av. Comandante San Martín 0321
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