There’s an abundance of Peruvian restaurants popping up in Dubai lately. A welcome invite saw myself and a guest have the privilege of dining at the newly opened Totora Cebicheria Peruana which calls Gate 7 in DIFC home.
I’m wowed as soon as I walk in, the floating bridge they’ve created for their entrance makes me feel like I’m deep in the Amazon. Lions and monkeys aside, the well mannered staff greet us on the other side and one kindly escorts us to our table upstairs in the main dining area. The pops of aqua green and cleverly hidden lights add a chic feeling while the music is a mix of Spanish infused house which is heard from the live DJ in the bar/lounge below.
Ronaldo is our server for the evening and passes by with a set menu for the evening. It includes three different types of cebiches. 2 years ago I would of never thought I’d be eating raw fish and here I am, fighting for the last bits of the Tuna cebiche, soaked in a salty but Asian inspired sesame dressing. Although we both agreed the mushroom cebiche is also outstanding and we’d definitely order this dish again.
We are offered a pisco sour, a traditional cocktail of Peru made with you guessed it, Pisco which is a brandy base originating from South America; mixed with egg whites, bitters and citrus juice.
Post starters Ronaldo serves us with another cocktail, this time it’s a Chilcano, which again uses pisco as it’s base but this time has a refreshing sparkling of ginger ale with fresh lime juice and a dash of bitters.
The next round of small bites include a maki roll topped with quinoa and a Peruvian sauce, some beef empanadas de carne as well as some anticuchos which are grilled chicken skewers. For me the sushi and chicken skewers were a little bland and something I would not order next time. I was happy to know that we knew exactly how to eat the empanadas with Ronaldo chirping in as we did. “Ahh you know how to eat them”. Apparently cutting them in half first then squeezing the lime in the center before taking a bite is the correct way. A good guess by us!
Next we rolled onto the mains which included a braised lamb leg perched on top of a bed of Peruvian squash, a quinoa salad with truffle oil, white wine, mushrooms and parmesan and last but not least duck on a bed of risotto style beer flavored rice. Not being a fan of truffle oil, the quinotta was the least favorite for me. Although it’s the most bland of the 3 the lamb was my favorite as it’s a comforting dish of slow cooked fall apart lamb in a warm gravy and whilst the duck meat was also very good I wasn’t a fan of the rice base so overall for me it the duck dish didn’t hit the spot.
The dessert comes later with two on offer – their Clasico Peruano a classic rice pudding with crumbled pieces of chewy fig and a traditional purple corn sorbet. As much as I appreciate the combination of flavors and textures the Tres Leches is right up my alley. A little annoyed I didn’t have time to take a “before” picture as Ronaldo starts pouring the condensed milk straight over the thick but fluffy wedge of cake which then makes the whipped cream peaks slide off the cake making for an “after” photo like the one below.
If I didn’t have a pending vacation I would of gobbled all of the Tres Leches down to myself as my guest preferred the rice pudding. Although I must admit I had troubles putting the spoon down.
As you can see the kitchen has a special eye for attention to detail and if you’re after a lot of fresh ingredients with ample flavor then Totora is for you.
Location: Gate Village 7, DIFC, Dubai
Phone: 04 3999666