After the continuing success of Chicha and Hong Kong’s never ending love for Latin American food, it was inevitable that another Peruvian restaurant would grace us with its presence before long. Unsurprisingly, it was Dining Concepts, ever the trend followers, who stepped up to the mark and brought us Mayta, Hong Kong’s second Peruvian restaurant.
Mayta, which took over what was once Blue Smoke, is a spacious restaurant decked out in a lot of wood and Aztec-style prints. It is warm and comforting, and I loved the Latin music that gave the space a cool, relaxed vibe; it was just a pity that few other people were there to enjoy this vibe, despite it being the night before a public holiday.
After some tasty Pisco Sours, we began our meal with a ceviche clásico. The presentation was beautiful and the texture of the fresh sea bass paired with the crunchy red onion, chocho and cancha was spot on. Yet, taste-wise, it could have been a little more sour and a little less salty. Perhaps the chunks of sea bass were a little too big, but the leche de tigre seemed to just kiss the surface of the fish, without going deeper into it.
I struggle to see empanadas on a menu and not want to order them. Mayta’s version, stuffed with sweet corn, aji amarillo, coriander and mozzarella, were delicious. Although the chimichurri could have been a touch spicier, it was nevertheless full of flavour and worked perfectly with the sweet, delicately flavoured empanadas.
The pan con chicharrón was another hit. Reflecting the influence of Asia in Peruvian cuisine, the steamed buns were similar to those of a fluffy char siu bao. Filled with crispy pork belly, red pepper chilli aioli, pickles and a sweet potato crisp, the flavours and textures married wonderfully well together, making it a difficult decision to stop eating and save space for the main course.
The most disappointing dish of the evening was the lomo saltado. This was a favourite of mine during the year that I lived in Peru, so it was the dish I was most looking forward to. Although the flavours of the rich sauce were generally good, it was far too salty and the beef, which should have been lovely and tender, required more than the average chewing time to break down. I did like the addition of the sweet roasted banana and the fried egg, however.
To finish, the suspiro de limeña was exactly what we were craving after the salty lomo saltado. Although I couldn’t work out where the meringue part of the dessert was, the creamy dulce de leche worked well with the crisp quinoa cookie, juicy chunks of grilled pineapple and refreshing olive oil ice cream to create a comforting, sweet end to the meal.
Service was good and I was pleased to see some South Americans amongst the staff, giving it a gentle push towards authenticity, even if certain dishes were lacking in it. Including an excellent bottle of Argentinean Pinot Noir, dinner for two came to $1460 – in reality what you would expect for dinner at any Dining Concepts venue. Although it might not be my preferred choice of Peruvian restaurant in town, there are only two to choose from, both of which have a completely different style and menu, so it wouldn’t be fair to compare them. I wouldn’t say a return visit isn’t completely out of the question, as I might need a fix of pan con chicharrón at some point soon!
Mayta Peruvian Kitchen and Pisco Bar
3/F, Grand Progress Building
15-16 Lan Kwai Fong
Tel: +852 2790 0928