The sound of rapid-fire Spanish fills the room, paired with the constant hum of waiters gliding through the narrow space to deliver vibrant plates of food on earth-toned dishes that evoke smooth stones. Behind the bar, shelves lined with colorfully labeled bottles, drinks are shaken and served by two men in tropical-patterned shirts. Large explosions of lush green plants break up some closely spaced tables, and the walls are covered in warm-toned wood — in some places with a soothing curve where they meet the ceiling.
This is Suyoa modern Peruvian restaurant that officially opened on August 25. And it feels like home.
The concept of “home” is a big part of Suyo’s story. The restaurant, which is the brainchild of Ricardo Valverde (Chef), James Reynolds (General Manager), Max Curzon-Price (Bar Manager) and Felix Ng (Operations Manager), takes its name from a southern indigenous word American which means “homeland.”
Valverde, who came to Canada from Peru when he was 18, gained acclaim in a previous role as a chef at Ancora, a Japanese-Peruvian spot with locations along False Creek in Vancouver and Ambleside in West Vancouver. But Valverde explains he quietly left Ancora during the pandemic and took on a few different roles in the industry, before stepping back in time to welcome his first child, a son born earlier this year.
It wasn’t long, however, before Valverde was drawn back into Vancouver’s ever-evolving restaurant scene when space at 3475 Main St in Mount Pleasant became available. The former Slickity Jim’s — a longtime irreverent brunch staple — closed in early April. Valverde and his team signed the deal and got to work clearing out the space to transform it into a contemporary and welcoming space.
Although it has only been open for a short time, Suyo has already proven to be a beacon for the Peruvian community in Vancouver. Reynolds admits Valverde was a little nervous about serving his menu of Peruvian classics with a modern twist, however, if the smiles shared between the chef and many tables of Peruvian diners on the evening I visited for the dinner are an indication, there is nothing to fear. .
Food and drink: what’s on the menu at Suyo
Valverde’s dishes offer an accessible glimpse into contemporary Peruvian cuisine. The entree section of the menu is anchored around the ceviche bar, with several iterations of the seafood dish, including a Classico (triggering notes familiar from Valverde’s time at Ancora) with the catch of the day – in this case , the delicious Haida Gwaii halibut – with two kinds of Peruvian corn, large pale kernels of chocolate and grilled crisp canchain a slightly spicy sauce tiger leche (tiger milk) citrus marinade you’ll want to savor in generous spoonfuls.
Other ceviche options include Nikkei, which showcases Japanese influences in Peruvian cuisine, while diners can also kick off the meal by tucking into plates of big, fluffy yucca fries.
There are other global flavor influences in Peruvian cuisine, and Valverde highlighted some of them in his dishes at Suyo. For example, a dish of ravioli features a silky pasta pocket containing tender shreds of chicken and crunchy cashew bits and a sauce that you’ll want to keep sliding chunks into. The filling is inspired by a traditional Peruvian chicken stew. The Ensalada Rusa, which translates to Russian Salad, Valverde reinvents in a deconstructed format, with orbs of roasted beets, tender roasted baby carrots and a smoky rutabaga-based aioli.
Customers can also order a whole fish for the table, but carnivores take note, the Lomo Saltado is not to be missed. You’ll see the flames jump around the pans in the semi-open kitchen as the chef deftly shakes the pan to sauté chunks of near-smooth AAA Canadian beef tenderloin, which is then paired with onions and tomatoes and a rich gravy with a thick sauce. potato wedges and a side of rice.
For dessert, a few simple offerings, including a chocolate version of the classic tres leches cake.
At the bar, Curzon-Price has created an exciting cocktail menu deeply inspired by Peruvian flavors and culture. Sure, they make classic Pisco Sour, but you can also sip your way through Peru’s varied terrain thanks to several drink options.
Although I switched to wine with my meal (featuring a number of well-matched installments from a list that includes selections from British Columbia, western US states and much of South America), with dessert, I returned to cocktails with the Oro, which was designed as a tribute to the Incas’ devotion to mining gold from the mountains in a marketless economy for use in art exhibitions dazzling. Made with Bacardi Ocho, Tokaji, Granite Amaro, and Brown Butter, the cocktail indeed sips like liquid gold and comes in a cool rock-shaped container whose rim is coated in yuzu-flavored gold paint. edible and golden pop (ginger flavor). rocks depicting the shine of gold with gold ore.
The drink is an absolute spectacle and the perfect way to wrap up a meal at Suyo. The inherent diversity of Peruvian cuisine lends itself to repeat visits to sample the many other modern takes Valverde offers – the table next to me was delighted with the octopus, so I already know what’s on my must-try list.
Suyo is open Tuesday through Thursday for dinner from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. and the cocktail bar until midnight and Friday and Saturday for dinner from 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. and the cocktail bar until 1 a.m. Reservations are strongly recommended and can be made on line.