With just over 21,000 Peruvian nationals resident in Madrid, there are a lot of people here longing for a taste of home. El Rinconcito Cusqueño, a small, no-frills Peruvian diner in the dainty barrio of Puerta del Ángel is the foodie plane ticket to Peru we all needed.
We’ve booked a table for 10 pm and already seem to have missed the evening rush. Tables of Peruvian families are relaxing into a post-dinner lull as they finish off the last of the luminous yellow pop on almost every table.
I’m a fan of doing as others do, often going for the ol’ “I’ll have what they’re having” line, but I’d heard the pisco sours here were really good…
A pisco sour – in case this is about to be your first – is a Peruvian cocktail made of brandy, syrup, lime juice, egg whites and Angostura bitters. It’s insanely moreish and goes down all too quickly with the delicious food you’re about to order off the back-lit, photo-assisted menu above the bar…
And here’s what that delicious food looked like as it rolled out of the tiny kitchen portal you can see the chef peeping out of, watching me taking pictures of his food.
The ceviche (below) is sharp and zingy, packed with lemon and lime zest and rounded off with a punch of raw onion and parsley. The cubes of raw white fish are deeply marinated in all those flavours and have a lovely, tender texture – one of my favourite ceviches in Madrid.
Like many Latin diners in Madrid, El Rinconcito Cusqueño also brings in local Peruvian musicians on the weekends – a soundtrack to lunch in the mountain-top city of Cusco, which the restaurant is named after.
Another feature I’ve spotted in many South American diners is a candle-lit shrine to the Virgin Mary. After spotting her again here, and then doing a bit of Googling, I discovered that the city of Cusco is particularly famous throughout Peru for its enthusiastic festivities and processions involving the Virgin Mary.
Now I just need to figure out what the horse shoe means…
If you’re after some drinks either side of your foodie trip to Peru, the fabulously no-frills Mercado Tirso de Molina (like Mercado San Fernando but without the hoards) is just a five-minute walk away.
- Address: Calle Guadarrama, 19
- Nearest metro: Puerta del Ángel (L6)
- Opening hours: Mon–Fri 1 pm to 11 pm / Sat–Sun 8 am–11 pm