Saturday, October 06, 2018

Dinner in Rotterdam at Ceviche y Maas (Peruvian Cuisine)

This is my first time trying Peruvian Cuisine, and thanks to Pat of the Ceviche y Maas (Peruvian Restaurant) in Rotterdam.

A gourmet-esque version of the Peruvian ceviche.

I knew Pat some 16 years ago, back in the days when I was very new in the Netherlands. We met in the Integration Program (Inburgering) in Utrecht for newly immigrated persons through family reunification. It has been such a long time now, and the people I have met there, those that didn't leave or go back to their home country, have all carved out a life of their own in the Netherlands.

You know, life moves on and eventually, we find our own place in the society.

Pat enjoyed a successful career in finance in the Netherlands and she is now into her second career being a restaurateur pioneering Peruvian cuisine in the country. She is very passionate about the restaurant and Peruvian cuisine, and you definitely are when you relish and talk with pride about your roots. It's personal.

Ah, I wish I am on my second career too...

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The interior of the restaurant.

So I had dinner at Pat's restaurant called Ceviche y Maas last March of this year. We picked a time during the week to go so Pat and I will have some time to talk and catch up a bit. Her restaurant is becoming more and more popular in the city so Thursdays, Fridays and the weekends would be very busy for her.

The restaurant is located in the trendy and up-and-coming very hip district in Rotterdam, Katendrecht, which also known as "De Kap" by the locals. The area is quite special because it is a peninsula on the Nieuwe Maas between two havens, the Rijnhaven and Maashaven.

Katendrecht or De Kap used to be a problem neighbourhood but these days it is the place to go when visiting the city. Many investors and individual businesses have put their money in this area and one can see it in the revived surroundings with cool cafes, restaurants, fancy shops and new building constructions going on. It is not just this neighbourhood that has gone through a major facelift, but Rotterdam as a city has really changed for the better in the last 10 years.

Pisco Sour. I fell in love with this.

So I arrived at the restaurant and I took a window seat. I gave my name to the friendly wait staff informing her that I am here for Pat. In a few minutes, Pat emerged from the kitchen with her Ceviche y Maas apron and a huge smile on her face. Ah, she is still the same Pat I knew many years ago. A charming, strong and very grounded woman. She hasn't changed much at all. I think the last time we saw each other was 9-10 years ago? I cannot remember anymore.

We used to be classmates in the Dutch Integration Class/Program (Inburgeringscursus) in 2002-2003 in Utrecht. It's a program for newly arrived immigrants through family reunification with the goal of integrating well into the Dutch society. The program is mainly learning the Dutch language, how to speak, listen, write and read.

Pat was born in Peru but moved to New York City as a child. Although she lived most of her adult life in the USA, she speaks Spanish and identifies herself as Peruvian.

So back in those days and being new in the country, we girls in the Dutch course, often met. The girls would throw get-togethers and parties for the class. I remember Pat being a great party host, she loved preparing all kinds of food and cocktail drinks. She always had a love affair with food and entertaining guests. I also remember her saying she wants to have a B&B. Well, instead of the B&B, a Peruvian restaurant materialized!

Cancha, puffed corn from the Andes mountains were served with the Pisco Sour cocktail. The Pisco Sour is my favourite.

Served from the house: Boiled potatoes with special Peruvian sauce.

Ceviche Bandera, the most traditional Peruvian dish. Fresh sea bass cubes marinated in aji limo 'leche de tigre' served with glazed sweet potato, choclo, cancha, red onion and cilantro. This reminds me of kinilaw, a raw fish dish in my hometown of Cebu, Philippines.

I cannot remember what this is. I think beef stew with potatoes and vegetables. This was very hearty, a bit creamy and really good. Also reminds me of some of the dishes in the Philippines such as menudo.

This was some kind of a ceviche trio. The presentation looked so very gourmet-esque and delicious. I was in heaven for a while, haha. These have different types of sauces, but I prefer the more traditional one, the vinegar and lime.

Picarones are Peruvian style mini donuts made from pumpkin and sweet potato. This is another favourite of mine. Really good and great for snacks and as a (shared) dessert.

Pat insisted that I taste this cake, which was made from a vegetable ingredient that I cannot remember anymore. It was very good but at this point, my stomach cannot handle them too much food I have eaten.

I forgot to take a picture of my espresso coffee served with Alfajores, a typical Peruvian cookie dusted with powdered sugar. Pat told me that her eldest makes them.

It was a lovely evening catching up with Pat and tasting Peruvian cuisine for the very first time. I highly recommend this restaurant. My top favourites are the Pisco Sour, Ceviche and Picarones =)

There is only one thing I regretted. I forgot to take a picture of both of us! Maybe next time when I come back and eat here we have a selfie.

On a different note, I have been wanting to go to Peru (to a couple of countries in South America actually) for such a long time. Blondine and I have planned on going but sadly, Blondine is now gone. The Dutchman has already disqualified himself from going and no friends are interested. I just felt it's not one of those countries to enjoy alone on a trip. Oh well, I know my personal concerns are trivial but I get frustrated sometimes, who knows, I might just go on my own!

Travel Period: March 2018
Destination: Katendrech, Rotterdam, the Netherlands

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Happy Travels! Enjoy Life =)

All pictures were taken by a point and shoot pocket camera or a smartphone.

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