24 hours of food and drink in Barranco, Lima, Peru

Yesterday, after a 22 hour bus journey from Cusco, we arrived in Lima, Peru. The bus journey was comfortable aside from vomiting toddlers, individual bouts of motion sickness and fairly crap food. We had big fancy seats and a little TV screen each so we could watch various film intros in search of English language and Spanish subtitles. We travelled with Cruz del Sur and I’d definitely recommend them for a decent bus in Peru. (It’s worth noting that the journey from Cusco to Lima was, aside from lengthy, harrowing. If you’re not into roads built into the side of cliffs, that must be negotiated at 7.30am, just fly.)

We’re staying in Barranco, a really very attractive part of Lima, and it’s a surprise to be somewhere warm and pretty again. It looks quite Brazilian, which is obviously the best place to resemble.

We went out last night in search of ceviche and found our recommendation closed, so we crossed the road to choice number 2, Canta Rana. After ordering our food, some ceviche and fried calamari, a Peruvian from the next table hopped over and asked if we were Norweigan. We’re not, but he preceded to explain that his uncle owned the restaurant and he knew the best thing on the menu. We happily obliged as he scrapped our order and replaced it. This is the result.

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The picture doesn’t quite do it justice. Ceviche. That’s white fish, marinated in lime juice and olive oil, with corn, sweet potato, a huge ripe avocado and capers. Definitely some garlic in there too. It was phenomenal. The flavours were bold and delicious and complimentary. I’ve read that the juice left over is sometimes mixed with vodka to make a cocktail. There was no juice left over. I slurped every last drop.

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Then we had fried rice (chaufa) with fried prawns and white fish. It was incredible, perfectly greasy and salty after the fresh, light ceviche. Along with 2 bottles of beer, it was all we needed after that bus journey. A delicious meal we were more than happy to pay for. But the curious Peruvian, Hugo, quietly paid our bill. He was certainly a little drunk and extremely generous, though we protested, we’re English after all.

Hugo insisted we visit his bar, Ayahuasca, as it was nearby and had been recently voted in the top 10 new bars in the world. Big words, Hugo. He promised to look after us and made a call to the bar. After a quiet drink in another bar, where a 12 year old looking waiter presented me with a pink rose stolen from a vase, we headed over. Cringing, we tried to explain that Hugo had called ahead for us. We have all the grace and subtlety of Alan Partridge attempting to nab a freebie. Eventually, they understood (Ooo-go, not Hugo) and we sat down at our reserved table with this:

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Pretty nice guy that Ooo-go. Since dinner and drinks were free, we treated ourselves to post dinner carpaccio. This is NOT the way we live. I wish it was.

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We ended up full and drunk and pretty content with our first night in Lima. Delicious food and free champagne. Thanks Hugo, you absolute gent!

Today we woke to more sunshine and wandered around Barranco. Lunch was at Twist Burgers in Barranco, run by some guy from Newcastle. The burgers were pretty tasty. I had the Barranco Burger (anticucho sauce, cheese and grilled chillies)…

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And Oliver had a BBQ Burger (cheese, caramelised onions and bbq sauce)…

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If you have problems (I do), you can view the whole Twist Burgers menu here. I’d like to say I’ll skip dinner, but it ain’t happening. Back to find ceviche place number 1 open this time!

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