PÍA LEÓN’S NEW RESTAURANT IN CUSCO: MAUKA

The creator of Kjolle in Lima interlaces her culinary vision with local products in an adventure that begins at breakfast.

Text by Paola Miglio (IG @paola.miglio) / Translation Alejandra Arrarte

Nestled among flower-decked patios that provide shade in the summer and coziness in the winter, sits Pía León’s new Cusco restaurant: Mauka, in the Palacio Nazarenas. Contrasting with the traditional architecture of the XVII Century convent, the restaurant’s softer lines fit well within the setting, while  ensuring Mauka has a personality of its own – that which the chef provides as the gastronomic director of the recently inaugurates space.

Pía León’s  notable experience managing products from the diverse regions of the country and the knowledge she has gained through her work with Mil restaurant in Moray, Cusco, combined with her participation in Mater (the center for gastronomic investigation and project creation), has enabled León to interlace her cuisine within the complex city of Cusco. The city’s profound cultural load challenges those who arrive with contemporary concepts, yet also serves as motivation to discover and create food that works for all. A soulful cuisine.

Mauka. Above, fresh cured trout sits atop crunchy toast. Below, paiche with cocona, rugoso lime, and yucca (left); and oatmeal with elderberry, cacao, macambo, and black quinoa (right).

Mauka is nurtured by its city, its region and  by the creativity of a chef who has been chosen by the 50 Best Restaurants List as the best female chef in Latin America and one of the best in the world. The biodiverse Cusco not only provides the rich food sources for the cuisine, but also digs deep within its past and its earth to provide the project with a name: mauka, or Incan yucca, a nearly extinct root vegetable (Mirabilis expansa). All of this yields a solid menu born from the style of Pía León and her team, and inspired by a journey of colors and products that hail from the Andes to the jungle, bringing together moments and traditions.

Mauka. The design reflects the chef’s style.

If there is something that defines this chef’s style, as far as we can tell, it is her determination to experiment and provide a cuisine that is clean and well-defined in its tones and flavors; one that is in constant motion yet visibly consistent. This assiduous attitude has made its way to Cusco, celebrating the local legacy in dishes like alpaca crudo, trout and mashua, fire-cooked tubers, smoked duck, giant Urubamba corn, pampa yuyo, and smoked caigua, and desserts, like the cacao textures, or the citrus inspired options.

Diners can also enjoy cocktails made with spirits distilled by Mater, and a generous breakfast that explores the world of chaplas, trout and olluco, tamarillo, eggs and bacon, and mushrooms and tarwi.  Additionally, there are sourdough breads and a ham and cheese mixto (yes, a mixto, or hot ham and cheese sandwich; a bonus tip from a certified mixto lover), that might be the very best mixto we have ever eaten in Peru and beyond. “Each region has its own ingredients with different tones and particularities, providing a clear identity and history. Mauka follows the same line and represents the natural meeting between art, biodiversity, and cuisine in Peru,” says Pía León. May the journey continue and may the inspiration thrive.

Mauka. The menu is complimented by artisanal beers, cocktails made with locally distilled spirits, and others without alcohol.

INFORMATION

In Palacio Nazarenas, A Belmond Hotel (Cusco). Mauka opens for breakfast (from 06:00 to 10:30), Lunch (from 12:00 to 15:30) and dinner (from 18:30 to 22:00). To reserve, guests can call (+51) 084-582222, contact via email at mauka.reservations@belmond.com, or click here to reserve online. Instagram: @maukacusco.

Etiquetas: kjolle, 50 best, mauka, palacio nazarenas, cusco, best female chef, pía león

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