Peruvian Restaurant Canchita Is Dempsey’s Newest Addition
Led by head chef Tamara Chavez, Canchita Peruvian Cuisine, which occupies a sprawling 3,386 sq ft space across two building blocks—is poised to be an exciting playground to showcase the diversity of Latin American cuisine and culture, with a strong focus on authentic Peruvian dishes and spirits.
While the restaurant won’t be able to welcome guests till mid-June after restrictions are lifted, diners can still experience some of the best Canchita has to offer from the comfort of their homes through “Canchita a tu Casa”—the establishment’s specially curated delivery/takeaway menu featuring some of their signature dishes. From the cold tapas selection, try the Causa, a popular Peruvian cold casserole that is part mashed potatoes and part potato salad. The Causa Chupe, a potato and Peruvian yellow chili salad served with marinated prawns, crustacean “Chupe”, mayo and crispy shiro ebi is a crowd-pleaser not-to-be-missed.
Another must-try is the Arroz con Mariscos, a tribute to Chef Tamara’s time with the iconic Lima restaurant. The dish brings together a beautiful medley of flavours from the crayfish and seafood rice, with Peruvian panca chili, tomatoes, crab butter and white wine.
For mains, order seafood dishes like Sudado Amarillito, a Peruvian fisherman soup served with Tua Tua clams, Peruvian yellow chili, “Chicha de Jora” corn cider and canchita; and Pescado Palmito—crispy skin seabass with “Chilcano” reduction, Amazon salad, gooseberries and heart of palm. From the land, a signature is the Lomo Saltado, a Cantonese-Peruvian stir-fried beef tenderloin with tomatoes, onions, crispy green peas and fries.
For a fun and fuss-free meal at home, the restaurant is offering a variety of tacos that are chock-full of flavour. Pick your desired protein: pork, crab, chicken or beef served with beans, smoky mayo, onions, coriander and chilli sauce, encased within crispy taco shells. Alternatively, the quesadilla available in pork, beef, chicken or vegetarian options, wrapped in crispy handmade flour tortilla, will make for a quick and hearty lunch or dinner fix.
Once it’s safe to do so, Canchita looks forward to welcome guests to their newly opened space at Dempsey Hill. Inside the restaurant, floor-to-ceiling windows provide an abundance of natural light and a full view of the surrounding vegetation. The restaurant colour scheme is an eye-catching palette of earthy tones, with wooden flooring and furniture juxtaposed against a canopy of overhead greenery. Hanging lights encased in wicker baskets add a rustic charm to the interior.
In the main building, aptly named ‘Amazonas’, sits the restaurant’s open kitchen and bar, and an 80- seater dining area. Next door, its second building, ‘Inca’, houses its Ceviche Bar, which doles out the restaurant’s signature selection of ceviche and other cold specialties, and a 30-seater dining space.
To set the tone for a fun and breezy dining atmosphere, a playlist of salsa music and other Latin American rhythms from bachata, cumbia, merengue to Latin jazz, plays throughout the day.
Peru’s national dish, ceviche, forms the heart of Canchita menu, which diners can enjoy at the Ceviche Bar, a space in the restaurant entirely dedicated to made-to-order cold Peruvian specialties. The country has long been enriched with strong cultural influences from Japan, and therefore, like the Japanese, dishes from the cold section of the kitchen have become an integral aspect of Peruvian cuisine.
Order a range of ceviches like the Ceviche Peru, a classic recipe featuring the market’s seasonal selection of fresh fish marinated in white tiger’s milk, topped with red onions, sweet potato and canchita. The Nikkei Tiradito, a dish that is part of the ceviche family, reflects the influence of the Japanese community in Peru as it features sliced fish served in Nikkei tiger’s milk, Japanese cucumber and crispy red quinoa.
Beyond the Ceviche Bar, the menu showcases a spectrum of Peruvian delicacies with small bites like Yukitas, which are homemade tapioca croquettes served with Peruvian yellow chili sauce and pecans, and Patacones—crispy plantains crackers with avocado guacamole. Also on the menu is a selection of charcoal grilled dishes like Octopus a la Brasa. One of Chef Tamara’s personal favourites, the dish presents a confit of grilled octopus served with Lima beans, avocado, “Parrillera” sauce and parsley mayo.
Like many Asian cultures, rice is a staple in the Peruvian diet, which is why a section on the menu is dedicated to scrumptious rice dishes like the Arroz Con Pato, comprising homemade duck confit, coriander and dark beer green rice, and “Chica de Jora” Peruvian corn cider.
For desserts, try the Alfajores, one of Peru’s most popular desserts commonly enjoyed during breakfast or high tea. The lip-smacking sweet treat comprises butter cookies, Dulce de Leche, and pineapple compote. Another highlight is the Tres Leches, with traditional moist coconut cake, strawberries and pastry cream.