When the editor of this magazine told me that this month’s restaurant of the month was to be a recently opened Peruvian in the Barrio del Carmen, I was really quite excited. It is a cuisine I don’t really know that much about. I have tried ceviche and I had heard of the Peruvian cocktail Pisco Sour. Although I am a great fan of cocktails, I have never tried one.

We arrived on a chilly Wednesday evening and were warmly welcomed at the door by the guy touting in the street for business, he handed us over to our server for the evening. She suggested we do a degustación – a taster menu of the chef’s recommendations. We ordered a bottle of the house red, a nice smooth ‘Ribera del Duero’ (12€) bottled for the restaurant with their own label.

Simalú is a small restaurant located in C/ Caballeros near Plaza Manises. It is on three levels and is quite plain, with seating for about eight customers on the ground level, high tables on the lower floor for a further 20 or so, and more on the mezzanine.

Our first dish arrived, a beautifully presented dish called ‘Causa limeña rellena de bonito’, which consisted of a cylindrical-shaped tower of yellow potato stuffed with a layer of avocado mayonnaise. It was topped with tuna and garnished with slices of mild onion and tiny ‘lágrimas’ (tear-shaped red peppers), and sprinkled with flowers and baby leaves. It was beautiful to look at and really quite delicious to eat.

Next came another lovingly presented dish, this time a ceviche of corvina and langoustine served with warm sweet potato and the biggest kernels of buttery corn, and topped with two kinds of seaweed and a slice of red pepper. Once again, not only wonderful to look at but a joy to savour. Ceviche is fresh raw fish and/or seafood ‘cooked’ or marinated in lime juice, onions and chilli.

Gustavo, one of the owners of Simalú, arrived at this point and we chatted briefly. He told us that we had two more dishes to come – a fish course and finally a meat course. The fish arrived at the table in the form of griddled fresh tuna topped with a large red gamba (prawn) and served with a reduction of fish and seafood. Perfectly cooked. This was another memorable dish.

At this point D and I were getting really quite full, but there was still another dish to come! This final dish was ‘Chicharrón de cerdo con salsa Haucatay’ and a crisp slice of fried yucca. A braised and fried rib of pork served in a slightly tart sauce made from a plant indigenous to Peru. Crisp but melt-in-the-mouth and, yes, you guessed it, once again delicious.

We followed this with a postre of chocolate cake with a white chocolate ice cream and a mango sorbet. Really excellent, although by this point we were so full we couldn’t really do it justice!

Simalú has recently relocated to Barrio del Carmen from Cánovas and I wish them every success in their new location. The food is quite simply delicious, one of the best meals we have had in Valencia this last year. The service is friendly and attentive.

The Menú degustación is fantastic value at 25 euros. There are wines from both Peru and Spain on their small list. Cocktails and beers are on offer, too. There is a great value Menú del día at 10€ and an ‘Executive menú’ at 13.90€ available Monday – Friday offering signature dishes. Evening menús are 20€ and the Menú degustación is 25€.

Tim Birch 

(Cocina Peruanomediterránea)
C/ Caballeros, 10
Zona Carmen

Tel: 96 193 03 57
Open Monday – Sunday
09.00h – 17.00h
Wednesday – Sunday
19.00h – 24.00h
Closed Monday and Tuesday evenings

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24/7 Valencia is the definitive English Speaking guide to Valencia. Extensive Listings, up-to-date and informed articles on restaurants, chill out, clubland, football, culture, arts, books, woman and much more.
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