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El Amigo does the Peruvians proud, offering a winning combination of authentic Latin cuisine and amicable service in a cosy hideaway.

The first time I went to El Amigo for Saturday lunch, it left a sour taste in my mouth. Why? Sadly, it turns out that they’re not open Saturdays. Thankfully, what El Amigo lacks in Saturday lunch openness, it makes up for in hearty, extremely well priced Peruvian fare. Nestled in the Glebe foothills, this fourteen seat diner serves up a considered menu in a quirky, if not brilliantly kitsch, setting.

It’s a cold day out, so it’s only natural we begin with Quinoa, a warm broth-like drink made from oats, milk and cinnamon. At only $3 a pop, it’s enough to bring out an ‘ole’ from us. With an authentic home-style atmosphere and charming llama and Machu Picchu paraphernalia adorned walls, we’re agreeable to the friendly waitress’ recommendations. We take her suggestion of Peruvian Ceviche ($17.50): diced fish cooked in lemon juice, Spanish onions and coriander served with sweet potato and corn. It’s the most traditional Peruvian meal on the menu, we’re told, and a dish that is texturally smooth, aromatically fresh and packed with citrusy goodness. The Anticuchos ($14) – marinated ox heart served with potatoes, corn and homemade chilli – is an acquired taste, but if my companion’s demolition of it is anything to go by it’s a definite winner. We also went for the Aji De Gallina ($12.5), a chicken stew cooked in a nut-based cream with potatoes and rice. Other options for your Sunday luncheon include Lomo Saltado ($11.50), a combination of beef strips, onions, tomatoes and hand cut fries with rice, or one of the daily specials.

To accompany our hefty overindulgence, we thought it best to give the drinks menu a workout too. Chicha Morada ($2 a glass or $10 a jug), a sweet purple corn juice (made with heirloom corn) tastes like your typical Spanish sangria with an added hit of sweetness. The Peruvian coffee went down well with the Tres Leches cake we had for desert, one of the many homemade treats available to finish off your meal. There was also imported Inca Kola, coke from the Inca Trail? Decided to leave this as the token ‘next time’ item.

El Amigo does the Peruvians proud. Offering a winning combination of authentic Latin cuisine and amicable service in a cosy hideaway, you’ll feel right at home. ‘Mi Casa es Tu Casa’ runs their slogan, and this is the kind of place where you actually might just take that seriously.

Published on May 31, 2012 by Lisa Omagari

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