I’m not sure about you, but when I go out for an evening with friends over dinner and cocktails – I kind of accept the night may stray a touch from all-things-healthy. I love food and after all, a little butter here and there can make things taste really good! I visited a brand new spot in Dubai, DIFC, on Tuesday night called Totora. A promise of authentic Peruvian cuisine with contemporary design and the perfect spot for any social occasion with their restaurant, lounge and bar.
A promise delivered and authenticity accomplished. After expecting to feel like I had over indulged and be ready to workout hard the next morning, ‘unhealthy’ was infact far from how I felt. I have never walked away from an evening feeling so happily satisfied enjoying incredible dishes and feeling so ‘light’ at the same time. Who knew Peruvians were the ones actually leading the guilt-free lifestyle!
Pisco sours – upgraded – to start the evening. Clearly not compatible in drink choices as we all went for a different version but after trying each (it would be rude not to) I can happily say each were refreshingly excellent. Mine, being the ‘Lavanda Sour’ – muy bien!
One thing I love about sharing style concepts is that you are able to try such an array of dishes. Starters commenced with a spread of Tiraditos, Cebiches y Platos Pequenos. All the dishes offered something different with texture and taste, some being spicy and some having crunch.
The ‘Nikkei’ and Tuna Tataki were some of the very best I’ve had. The sauce surrounded the Tuna Tataki is from the Camucamu fruit, grown only in Peru and Brazil and complimented the fish perfectly. I could eat this type of food every day for the rest of my life.
The only ‘guilty indulgence’ of the night (except from dessert) were the Empanadas. I’ve been to a few South American restaurants in Dubai and these top the charts. The most flavoursome filling cased in a buttery crust that crumbled away as you took a bite.
Half filled with Beef, aji panca and chimichurri sauce and the other half with an incredibly tasty mixture of mushrooms and spinach. “Cut in half, squeeze in the lime, top with the salsa and you’re good to go” – that we were.
Recommended by the chef – ‘Roll Acebichado’ filled with red snapper, tempura shrimp, avocado and leche de tigre, which is the Peruvian term for a citrus-based marinade.
Continuing in true Peruvian style, a little Anticuchos of ‘Prawns with homemade sauce’ followed by what I thought were going to be much more carb-heavy main courses. Es imposible, apparently. The focus is too much about the delicious meats and fresh seafoods for the carbs to steal the show. The delicious pockets of potatoes and rice are there to compliment those aspects of the dishes, not the other way around. I cannot tell you how refreshing it is for a dish to arrive with plenty of the stuff you really want to eat!
And when you enjoy a meal as healthy as the above … desserts are a must.
Sorbet selection, TrÃ¨s Leches and Rococo chocolate fondant. I usually stay clear or TrÃ¨s Leches as it’s not a dessert for me but it honestly proved quite difficult to share. The fondant ever so slightly overcooked but still had a bit of ooze in the centre so worked a treat with the refreshing sorbets.
All in all – a very memorable evening dining at Dubai’s latest Peruvian hot spot. Next year’s trip might just have to be to South America.
To book an evening at Totora, you can visit their Facebook page here with all the details!
Hello and welcome! I'm Carly, originally from London but currently enjoying a little adventure in Dubai. A travel and wellness blogger exploring the world one step at a time. Think fabulous food at undiscovered gems, unique destinations, skin care obsessions and so much more. This is my life, I hope you enjoy the ride!