By the way, the Brazilian and Argentine concepts, which also existed on the market for some time, did not become the center of attraction of their party, ready to go to a restaurant for the energy of their home countries. Although the name of the chain of restaurants “El Gaucho” is the first word “Argentine”, the people of the restaurants of this brand are more known as steak houses. Approximately the same situation has arisen with the Brazilian Macho Grill of Arkady Novikov and the Brazilian churascaria. Closed, each for his own reason, both – having worked not so long.
But for seven years now, the restaurant of Nobu Matsuhisa, one of the pioneers of Peruvian cuisine, has been successfully operating in Moscow, and this year the second Nobu was opened in Crocus City. Nobu’s name is one of the most famous on the world stage, and although in the public mind, especially in Russia, the Nobu brand has been associated with a Japanese restaurant, it’s not the first year that you can try dishes based on the principles of one of the main national restaurants of Peru. Kitchens – Nikkei. This direction appeared in Peru thanks to migrants from Japan, and Nobu Matsuhisa for all progressive humanity is one of those who first introduced the large (and rich) world to modern Peruvian food in principle.
Perhaps, Latin American restaurants would continue to open (and close) unnoticed by the general public even further, if not for one thing. This year, people and companies with big names took up the theme: Alexander Rappoport, Vladimir Mukhin and Boris Zarkov, Dmitry Sergeyev, The Ritz-Carlton system. Some market experts believe that the crisis of ideas has prompted restaurateurs to search for new and unbroken. This opinion is confirmed by some market participants. “When it came to changing the concept of the flagship restaurant at The Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Moscow, the idea was to make an institution with an unworn concept, to invent something that no one else has,” says Maxim Marusenkov, PR manager of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel. – We wanted the discovery to immediately attract a lot of attention. Peruvian cuisine, firstly, is very popular all over the world. Secondly, one of the directions that we wanted to leave is sushi. They blend perfectly with Peruvian cuisine. ”
When they talk about sushi in the Peruvian context, one must assume that we are talking about the Nikkei cuisine – the Japanese-Peruvian branch of national gastronomy, which was formed under the influence of the Japanese, who migrated to America at the beginning of the 20th century. The most famous Peruvian dish in the world – ceviche – this is exactly nikkey. There are other areas in Peru, such as Chifa (Peruvian-Chinese cuisine) and Creole (Spanish-Peruvian) cuisine. The latter is probably the most common in the country and is based on very simple things like potatoes, rubbed with meat and spices.
It is also true that Peru is a terra incognita, even for the wealthiest Moscow public: to fly there for a long time and expensive, and to fly regularly and even more so. What gives domestic restaurateurs in some way a blank check on interpretation. However, it’s not just “mystery”. First of all, despite the similar basic set of products, we practically cannot reach many significant positions for Peruvians. For example, Peru uses about a dozen types of potatoes, purple and white corn, its own special kind of lime (without which the basic dressing called “tiger milk”, strictly speaking, will be something else), numerous types of peppers, such as spicy rokoto. Some of this can be imported, in particular, individual types of peppers (delivered in dried form) and spicy pastes for sauces, but some alternatives have to be found on site. Or go for tricks like tinting ordinary potatoes with saffron to give it a yellowish tint, typical of the Peruvian root crop.
In Chicha go from taste. And from the author. “We are equal to the tastes that I met in Peru,” says Vladimir Mukhin. “The main thing is that the taste should correspond to my ideas about what the dish should be and what ingredients in it will end up in – the second thing.”
In the O2 Lounge, for ease of perception, boldly call the potato caus casserole, offering, among other things, a gourmet option with a crab. In the “Latin Quarter” clean the sharpness to get into the tastes of the Moscow audience. By the way, the restaurant Rappoport did not initially have the idea of gastronomic enlightenment of Muscovites. As they say, only business. According to Christina Zhegunova, PR director of the Latin Quarter restaurant, Alexander Rappoport planned to launch a Peruvian restaurant, but over time it became clear that this was a new topic for the Moscow audience. Therefore, the concept has evolved from different Latin American dishes with obvious potential hits. Ceviche and tiradito nikkey, Mexican taco cakes, Brazilian feijoada, Argentinean steaks – all as the doctor ordered. “There is no demand for Peruvian cuisine in Moscow yet,” said O2 Lounge chef Florent Curriol. – We create it. I think it will take at least a couple of years to promote this direction. ” Vladimir Mukhin’s approach is purely cook, albeit quite original: “In my opinion, Peruvian tastes and basic products are similar to ours, Russians. These are potatoes, corn, fish. Peruvians prefer sour-salty tastes, we have been eating sour apples since childhood. And although we love sweet and sour shades more, it still looks like a lot. ”
However, some market experts doubt that the Peruvian cuisine will be able to develop too actively in Russia according to the downward scenario, appearing in the form of democratic restaurants or even street food, and without this there’s nothing to say about the real trend. In Russia, the culture of consumption of more or less fresh fish in the fast or outdoor format is absent, and high prices for the desired product, on the contrary, are present. So the concept of an inexpensive grape series, of which there are many, say, in London, in Moscow, most likely, immediately receives a red light. It is easier to spin the concept around the Antikuchos (Peruvian meat kebabs), but the question is whether or not to get into the territory with its “samovar” where the kebabs are a national dish of the day off.
One way or another, for now, the current glory of Peruvian cuisine is a precedent that only the most advanced can understand. And restaurateurs, and cities. But other cuisines of the Latin American region can boast of their own characteristics. For example, Mexican cuisine, which is included in the UNESCO World Heritage List, is considered the most famous in the world, which is not surprising if you determine the popularity of cuisine on the basis of the frequency of using basic ingredients like chili peppers or jalapenos. However, the global expansion of any national cuisine is, as a rule, the mass popularity of the basic minimum, such as pizza and pasta, burger and cheesecake, noodles and ducks, sushi and rolls, ceviche and anticuchos, burrito and guacamole, pancakes and caviar. Regional culinary stamps, sometimes very different from the original. And according to the logic of events, Moscow, which consistently survived the boom of Italian, Japanese, North American and pan-Asian institutions, can already be thrown headlong into the arms of Latin America. The Northern trend here obviously didn’t take place – apparently, due to the lack of exoticism and modesty of colors, but chili con carne invigorates with one name, and how many non-broken and invigorating culinary terms in Spanish and Portuguese are enough for a dozen institutions.
However, so far these violent are few. And the emergence of new establishments entirely built on a single Latin American gastronomic tradition, or a search for the unbeaten, unusual, able to immediately “shoot” through innovation, as in Chicha, or a tribute to the roots and hobbies of the owners, like in Cafezinho do Brazil. The most cunning go for the third way. In Calicano, for example, in addition to the bearded chef in an open kitchen, they lure popular falafels in the capital, instead of chickpeas made from quinoa, and also a ceviche in bruschetta. As they say, and ours, and yours. Whose policy will be the most correct? Wait and see.