Last night, a friend and I tried Peruvian food at El Fogon. It’s a nice little restaurant on St. Clair West. I was the first person to walk into the restaurant at 7 p.m. on a Thursday night, but as the night went on, there were more patrons. It seems like a small family-owned restaurant which is always nice.
We started off with some bread with some type of dip/spread. It doesn’t look spicy, but it had a hint of jalapeno and spice. I tried it with the butter too and it took the spice off.
As massive foodies, we had quite a lot of food to follow us that night. We were both looking at the menu and wanting to order everything since all the items on there looked amazing. They did a really good job of describing their items too since every other dish on there was “a must-try!”, “famous”, “delicacy”, “popular”! In the end, we decided on a little bit of each.
Appetizer: Papa a la Huancaina — a typical Andean dish from Huancayo. A tasty cream sauce made with fresh cheese and Peruvian yellow peppers, served on a bed of steamed Yukon Gold potatoes and garnished with Peruvian black botija olives and a slice of hard-boiled egg. (Yes, I took a picture of the menu. That or my memory is amazing!)
Main: Jalea. A popular dish from the coast of Peru — Fresh breaded rings of calamari, prawns, octopus and fish, seasoned in spices and golden deep fried. Served with home-made yogurt dip, golden potatoes and salad. This was delicious! We both loved the fish. It was perfectly seasoned and fried. SO good! The calamari was also smooth and not rubbery. The prawns were full and plump. Yummy dip! The salad was very fresh and with a hint of vinegar so it was refreshing with the seafood. Highly recommend this!
Main: Tacu Tacu con Bistek. I read reviews that their Tacu Tacu was a must-try, so try we did! Typical Peruvian Creole dish — A melange of rice and Peruvian yellow beans, golden pan-fried to a soft crisp, topped with a Peruvian-cut sirloin steak. Accompanied with a side of Peruvian Creole salad.
We were both a little obsessed with the fried fish and seafood plate that we left this a little too late too try. Since everything arrived together, this got a bit cold and wasn’t as good as if it was probably eaten hot. The beef was cut very thinly but flavourful if a little rough. The rice was mixed with beans which was a little mushy to the taste, so it was definitely something different. The salad was the same as the previous one.
Despite being quite full and not even finishing the Tacu Tacu, we knew we wanted to order the dessert, so we did!
Dessert: Alfajor. A tradition Peruvian dessert of delicious shortbread cookie filled with Dulce de leche (caramel filling) in between the layers, and sprinkled with powdered sugar.
This was a unique dessert. I’ve never eaten shortbread cookie in layers. It wasn’t too sweet and the caramel was obvious as you ate it. Pretty good!
All in all, this was a nice place to dine. Very quiet and family friendly. The portions are good-sized. If you’re coming here for a quick meal though, you might have to rush them a bit in terms of service as they only had two people on staff. We were chatting a lot in between the meal though, so that didn’t affect us at all. I would love to come back here to try out the other dishes. They have such a very wide range of dishes that all looks so good.