Cholo’s Peruvian Restaurant opened up in Dickson in July. It’s been on my list ever since and I finally got an opportunity to try it out last week. The restaurant is very colourful inside with bright red walls, Peruvian textiles, and pictures of Peru. The salsa and cha cha music playing inside immediately puts me in an uplifting mood.
Once we sat down, our waiter informed us of the Peruvian drinks on offer. The first was Inca Kola – described as a cream soda-like (no cola nut flavours). The other drink was the chicha morada – made from purple corn syrup, cinnamon and sugar. I wasn’t game enough to try the latter, so I chose the Inca Kola. It was bright yellow when it came out and my brain automatically prepared my taste buds for a lemonade hit. This wasn’t so as it really did taste subtly fruity and creamy.
I’ve never been to Peru or had Peruvian food before so this was a complete first for me. For my main, I ordered the carapulcra ($26.50) – an Incan meat and potato stew. This was made with slow cooked spicy papa seca (Peruvian sun-dried potato), pork scotch fillet pieces topped with sarsa criolla (a mix of spanish onion and coriander), all served with rice and yucas (a type of root vegetable). Again the image I had in my head differed from what came out. The small chunks of potato mixed in a yummy gravy stew thankfully weren’t spicy at all as I forgot to tell them to make it mild. I really enjoyed mixing it in with the rice. It doesn’t have a strong curry-like taste and is a surprisingly light dish. The pork was tender and still slightly pink in the middle. Yuca sort of has the texture of a baked potato but with fibres across it and crunchy skin. Quite bland on its own but went well with the stew. I liked this dish!
My friend decided to order two entrees instead of a main. The first was the ceviche ($16.90) – diced ocean perch cured in lime juice mixed with spanish onion, celery and coriander. It was also served with corn and sweet potato. The raw fish which cooks in the lime juice was delicious. The bowl was nearly full to the brim with lime juice so it’s very sour, but served cold it was refreshing on a 35 degree day. I really liked this and will order it next time to share.
The second entree was the Anticuchos ($15.50) – marinated ox heart skewers served with yucas and green chilli sauce. I had a taste but organs aren’t really my thing. I can’t even explain what it tastes like…but it was a tad tough to eat.
For dessert, I chose the Picarones ($10.90) – crispy fried pumpkin puffs smothered in a citrus syrup. These were like donuts and since they are freshly made, came out very hot. There is no sugar dusted on top so they were bland and doughy on their own. Topping it with the sweet citrus syrup makes a difference and provided the balance required. I think it was still missing something though – maybe some ice cream to go with it?
Wait staff here are friendly and endeavor to explain how dishes are made and what’s in them. The owners and chefs are Peruvian themselves so I think these dishes must be pretty authentic. Again, I’ve never had Peruvian food before, however, I really enjoyed my meal and will be going back to try out more.