Sunday, July 16, 2017

TONO Cevicheria : First Ever Peruvian Cevicheria in Singapore

With a jaunty logo of a turquoise dancing fish with hearts of scales, doing salsa with maracas in “hands” and chilli between the teeth, I can tell straight away that TONO is going to be somewhat special. But “special” is a too simplified word to describe the unique Peruvian dining experience here.

First, the menu isn’t categorized into your familiar territories like mains, appetizers or sharing plates. Everything looks Greek to me except for the English description, so probably the best (or safest) way is to start with the most recognizable or democratic dish of Peru called “Ceviche”, raw fish cured in a creamy marinade known as Tiger’s Milk. If any ceviche is missing of the seafood, chilli, lime and onions, you know it's not authentic.
Said to be the most conventional style found in almost every Peru household, the Clasico Ceviche, which is based in fish-broth Tiger's milk, metes out electrifying flavors of sweet, tangy and spicy. The Nikkei weaves a similar story but with raw yellowfin tuna, purple potato chips and a stronger umami taste due to hondashi and Mirin. 
From the ceviche to the Piqueos (sharing nibbling dishes), the dishes did what they are supposed to by perking up the palates with forthright flavors. Among the highlights: Jalea, an assorted plate of deep fried seafood, with salsa criollo and smoked chilli mayo. Solterito, an intensely flavorful pile of potato mash, Fava beans and deep-fried salted Peruvian corn kernels called Canchitas. Some call it a potato salad but it is more sophisticated than one and much tastier, of course.
But the more I eat, the more I realize that don't understand Peruvian cuisine. You've got Aguadito; long grain rice cooked in coriander and cumin soup with crispy fish that reminds of Indian or more precisely, Hainanese curry rice. Next was a plate of stir fried beef with tomatoes, onions and crispy potatoes, very much similar to a wok-fry beef dish in a Chinese restaurant. And the dark soy sauce, perfect to go with rice and taking that role here is Arroz Blanco, Peruvian-style garlic rice.
These beloved Peruvian specialties evoke a sense of deja vu and reflect the diverse influences of the immigrant communities (Spanish, Italians, Chinese, Japanese) on the Peruvian food culture. Who would have expected that the best Ceviche in Peru is made by a Cantonese chef? 
With such a brilliant combination of textures, flavors and colors across the dishes, it is not surprising to learn that TONO is the brainchild of Peruvian Chef Daniel Chafez, co-owner and chef of OLA Cocina de Mer at Marina Bay Financial Center.
Under the helm of executive Chef Mario Malvez, the team of Lima-trained chefs fly the flag of Peru high by delivering accomplished Peruvian dishes using sustainable ingredients, especially seafood.

Desserts such as Alfajores (think melting moments shortbread cookie sandwiches) and Combinado (vanilla rice pudding) belong to the conservative Latin American camp but the sugar levels are much reasonable and most importantly, they are tasty.
With the finest Peruvian cuisine, quality Pisco and cocktails, there's possibly one and only one rule that you must comply in this free-spirited, boisterous place--dance to the salsa music. #TONOmeansParty
Don't worry, I'm not going to judge you.

TONO Cevicheria
7 Fraser Street
#01-49/50 Duo Galleria
Singapore 189356
12pm-2.30pm (Mon-Fri)
6pm-10pm (Mon-Sat)
www.tono.com.sg
 









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