Chef Mitsuharu Tsumura‘s work is all about creativity and good service. Maido, his restaurant in the heart of Lima´s busy seaside district of Miraflores, is the best example of how good the combination of great food and impeccable service can be. The word Maido means “welcome” in Japanese, and the restaurant‘s concept has been created around this word.
When I first met Misha, as his friends call him, back in 2001, he was a student at Johnson & Wales University in Rhode Island, where he got a Culinary Arts Degree and a Bachelors Degree in Food and Beverage Management. I was editing a culinary magazine at the time, and he became one of my first contributors. I quickly saw in him a great passion for his craft, and an unstoppable eagerness to learn everything he could from his Peruvian and Japanese roots.
After graduating, Misha went back to Peru to work at the Sheraton Hotel in Lima, but soon after, he decided to go to the land of his ancestors to learn more about its complex and detail-oriented food. He was very lucky to be taken under the wing of a family friend who owned a restaurant in Osaka, where he started as a dishwasher, simply observing how the cooks applied their precise skills in every dish. With his eyes set on the prize, he gradually worked his way up to the kitchen, but the dream of going back to Peru and opening his own restaurant was more alive than ever, and a few months later he packed his bags and went after it.
Misha worked diligently on every detail of the menu for his restaurant, creating an innovative selection of Japanese dishes with strong Peruvian accents. The elegant and minimalistic decoration that matches the neatness of every dish, has attracted a crowd of loyal followers that pay regular visits to enjoy the best of Peruvian and Japanese fusion cuisine.
Although the menu is predominantly Japanese, the Peruvian touch is achieved mostly by the addition of traditional Peruvian ingredients, such as the Amazonian paiche in dashi broth. Paiche is a fish from the Amazon river, widely used in the jungle, and dashi is a popular Japanese fish stew. Another example of these somewhat unlikely, but perfectly executed fusion creations is the crispy Cuy San, with a base of the very Andean guinea pig surrounded by Japanese flavors and techniques.
To start, we recommend trying some of the Pisco cocktails at the bar, to accompany a platter of Misha´s original nigiris featuring Amazonian cecina (dried salted meat), cocona (a fruit similar to a tomato, used to make spicy salsas and drinks), duck foie gras, beef, or pork jowls. The sushi bar offers a vast array of highly esthetic sushi and maki options that you won´t want to miss, like the acebichado, -which has already become a classic in the Peruvian Nikkei scene - covered in a creamy cebiche sauce; or the apanado, with fried plantain and breaded steak, like the humble Peruvian dish.
The dessert department also offers new twists on traditional desserts, such as a classic rice pudding with granadilla foam, churros, or figs from Ica (small town south of Lima) with dragon fruit and goat cheese ice cream.
In these photos you can see some of Maido´s signature dishes: eggs and crispy nest; Amazonian paiche in dashi broth; oxtail in a bread crust; monkfish sandwich; and Cuy San (deep fried guinea pig).
Let me know if you go soon; I may have to tag along.