Peruvian. Can’t get enough of it. I would drink the stuff that pools at the bottom of the ceviche plate. The mouth puckering, milky looking liquid with the salinity of pickle brine is called Tigre de Leche. Tiger milk. Nicky, the head chef at Leche de Tigre Barcelona tells us that in Peru they often sell just the liquid to drink, with little or no fish at all. It’s the more affordable element of the Ceviche and therefore accessible to more people. As someone who has taken a swig from the pickle jar on more than one occasion, this idea appeals. Nicky Ramos Chavez, previously the chef at Market Peru has always been promoting Peruvian food. Focusing however on the entire repertoire not just the heavy hitters like Ceviche. We are invited for lunch and they start us off with a mocktail called chicha morada, obtained by boiling purple corn with spices including cinnamon until the water is stained. Next, we learn that pepper varieties are of utmost importance. Nicky holds up what looks in size and stature to be a Padron pepper except that it is mandarin coloured in hue. This makes up part of the sauce that envelopes some slices of boiled potatoes. A popular dish in Peru Nicky tells us. On the bland side, I can see why the world has not heard of it yet.
He brings out the Leche de Tigre next, after which the restaurant is named. In a crystal tumbler with a row of battered calamari rings pegged on a long cocktail stick. There are thin slices of Figueres onion pressed up against the glass and pieces of fish settled at the bottom, amongst them mussels. It’s salty and lemony, almost too salty on its own but perfect with a morsel of fish. Next comes the ceviche, as good as the best I’ve had which was at Yakumanka. “We use the same supplier,” Nicky tells me “but try to be more affordable”. Then comes a platter of grilled fish and octopus, chimichurri sauce and cooked potatoes and yams. Portions are generous, the last dish treading into huge. But most around us are opting for the Menu Del Dia. 14.90€ Including 100g of ceviche (a normal portion weighs in at 120g). Excellent value and something I might be tempted into on my next visit.