We had only one night in Arequipa and had heard many good things about the top restaurant in town called Chicha which is famous from one of the top chefs in Lima who has opened Chicha branches in several major cities.
On arrival we were taken past a large open courtyard with an open kitchen, but led on to a beautiful vaulted stone room with tile floors, nice linens and leather and wooden chairs, Definitely a Colonial feel with some local woollen art mounted on the walls.
The drink menu is huge and will chose the Cholopolotan, a way too sweet drink made with Pisco, Cointreau, Passion fruit, sweet lime and cranberry. Samuel hit the jackpot with a Pisco Punch made with pineapple syrup and lemon that was not sweet at all and I went with the standard excellent Pisco Sour. The water here was San Pelligrino but at about 7 dollars for a 1/2 liter bottle!! Bread arrived and there were 3 options from an Andean bread as well as quinoa grissini and the delicious chica morada(purple corn) bread with raisins and nuts. There was a nice butter made from rocoto chili(which is in virtually every dish here) and parsley.
Samuel started with a dish called Ocopa, Salerillo Potatoes with egg and fried cheese that he adored.
Will and I decided to combine 3 of the ceviche dishes which included sea urchin, classic sea bass and then the local river shrimp. Of course they all had lime, onion, sweet potatoes, rocoto, crunchy corn and Peruvian corn and an amazing leche de tigre sauce and was just spectacular.
We decided to share a dish called Escribano, made of potatoes, rocoto, tomato and Chicagre with olive oil, It was a delicious dish and can be explained as a potato salad gone spicy Peruvian style.
The portions were huge and we began to worry as we had each ordered a main course and probably could have shared them. Will and I were enjoying a bottle of Tacama Blanco de Blancos, the same delicious white blend that we had had the night before. Will had ordered a glass of red wine but unfortunately our server Edson who was excellent was completely overwhelmed by a group of loud and obnoxious Russians wearing stilettos and God knows what at the next table; it never arrived.
I ended up pouring the rest of the white wine myself and we had to ask 3 or 4 times for 1 or 2 of the non alcoholic drinks that Sam had ordered which he declared wonderful.
For his main course Sam ordered Torrejitas, which were 8 huge deep fried vegetable fritters with Ariquepean sauces of rocoto chile, ocopo and huacatey (the famous local black mint which really doesn't taste minty at all). We knew we had way over ordered.
Will chose the pork adobo made with cumin oregano onion garlic and chicha(corn beer). The portion was huge and some of the meat a bit fatty but otherwise it was a hit.
I chose one of the most famous local dishes called Chupa, a huge thick rich river shrimp soup made with potatoes, fava beans, cabbage, huacatay, corn and milk with shredded spinach on top... It was one of the best soups I've ever had but was so huge I could barely finish half.
Key words to remember here "ORDER LESS!
While the desserts sounded fantastic there was no way on Earth any of us could eat another bite so we gathered our stuff together and walked the 15 minutes back to our hotel and hit the sack before we head back to Lima for New Year's Eve.