Astrid y Gaston

Following Central and re-watching the Chef’s Table episode on Virgilio Martínez we were excited about visiting Astrid y Gaston. Virgillio worked there before setting out on his own journey and Gastón Acurio features prominently throughout the episode. Plus Astrid y Gaston is based in a very grand mansion!

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When we arrived we were seated on the couch before being taken to our table. We’re in one of the many dining areas and a football theme is present throughout the venue. There are footballs in the little Christmas tree like plant on the table. Nice festival music is playing. We can see the kitchen and there are roughly 18 chefs. Our waitresses English isn’t the best but manageable and we have to specifically ask for the wine list.

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There is an option of a 16-course tasting menu or a la carte, we go for a la carte so we can personalise the menu a bit more. The dining room is casual yet elegant. At Astrid y Gaston it is an additional cost for a bread course which is something we haven’t encountered before however, I’d heard good things about the bread so we had to give it a try.

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I’m so glad we paid the additional cost for the bread. It came out steaming hot and with three different spreads. We had a cheese bread, a chilli bread, potato bread, purple corn bread and rosemary focaccia.  The spreads are tomato, avocado and butter. By far the best bread we’ve experienced at a World 50 Best Restaurant!

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Three Cebiche Tasting, XIX Century with sour orange, XX Century with lemon and limo chilli and XXI Century street food style. Nicely cured fish with different flavour combos. The tomato and chilli is almost like a gazpacho. A delightful way to start.

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Min Paos Planchaos – Grilled Baozi buns filled with Shangai short ribs. It’s served like a toastie and the buns are very sweet, almost like pikelets. Still a nice dish.

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Cuy Pekines – Peking guinea pig on purple corn pancakes, peanut Hoisin sauce, sweet and sour Chifa salsa criolla. I was nervous about trying guinea pig however it was crispy like duck and the hoisin sauce so overpowering it could have been anything. An easy way to try it though I guess!

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The general feeling here is it’s much less experiential and fine dining that some of the previous restaurants we’ve been to. It sort of feels more like the place you take your Nana to for a weekend lunch. This is also reflected in the price.

Tortellinis de arracacha – Arracacha-filled tortellini, pecans, sage and Andean cheese emulsion. Arracacha is a root vegetable originally from the Andes. Huge portion sizes here and I’m glad we’re sharing. It was nice of the team to bring the dishes out individually for us to share too. It’s a little different and nice, however, not something we’d class as a World 50 Best Restaurant dish.

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The bathrooms are creative and fun and in a circular structure. I never would have found on my own! No hand lotion, perhaps this isn’t a thing anymore!? As per usual, they move very fast at the start, however, slow down once they start to get busier.

Pez De Profundidad Lima D.F. – Deep-sea fish served with mole corn stew, tamarillo and cilantro tortillas. A lot of their dishes are inspired from around the world and this one is from Mexico. It certainly takes me back there, with a twist.

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Nuestro Cochinillo Confitado – Roast suckling pig confit served with green corn stew and sautéed ají, onion and bitter orange escabeche. This is another huge portion and we’re feeling very full at this point with more to come. I wish the waitress had warned us when we were ordering. It’s nice, but again not what we’ve come to expect from a restaurant of this calibre. We politely ask if we can take the leftovers home with us which they kindly obliged.

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Asado De Tira Angus De Chifa Nikkei Estofado – Angus beef short ribs in a Chifa-Nikkei marinade served with sticky wok fried rice with Char Siu bacon. This one is inspired by Japan. It’s nice but I’m so full I can barely fit it in. I also couldn’t find the Char Siu bacon which was a key reason for ordering this dish.

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Even with us being so full we had to try dessert and it’s the first time in a while there has been a dedicated pastry kitchen and chef.

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Tarta Granny – Baked with gentle patience, puff pastry, apple, cinnamon and vanilla ice cream. A nice apple tart, the pastry was a little too flaky for me if you know what I mean.

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Suspiro – dulce de leche, Oporto wine and cinnamon ice cream. This one comes out smoking thanks to dry ice in the chocolate. It reminds me of the dessert at Quintonil and is equally if not more delicious. Probably our favourite course of the afternoon.

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Overall Astrid y Gaston was a good lunch out. The food was nice but not wow and certainly not what you’d expect from number 30 on the World 50 Best Restaurants List. Would I go again? Well if I did I wouldn’t order so much it would be a nice for a casual Sunday brunch rather than a fine dining experience.

Latest ranking:

  1. Tim Raue
  2. Piazza Duomo and Reale
  3. Central
  4. Quintonil
  5. Asador Etxebarri
  6. Le Calandre
  7. The Ledbury
  8. Mugaritz
  9. The Clove Club
  10. Saison
  11. Arzak
  12. Azurmendi
  13. Mirazur
  14. Dinner by Heston
  15. Astrid y Gaston
  16. Pujol
  17. Restaurant Steirereck

Next up Maido, Lima, Peru.

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