Manko Paris by Gaston Acurio

MankoAfter hearing that new Peruvian restaurant Manko had opened in Paris’s 8th arrondissement, one of the city’s most exclusive neighbourhoods, StyleNest couldn’t resist heading over for a stylish lunch on a recent trip. Headed up by Gaston Acurio, a leader in Peruvian gastronomy and already with 40 restaurants to his name, we knew we were in for an authentic and delicious experience of this famous South American cuisine.

After walking past various designer shops in the area we arrived at the equally fashionable Manko. We headed into the grand building before us, followed the signs downstairs, and loved what we found. The décor definitely evoked the feeling of Peru with its rich and earthy shades of woods browns and reds, highlighted with bright blue and just the right amount of gold. The effect was cosy but stylish, and although we had arrived for lunch we imagined the effect would be even more impressive at night when the lights were dimmed.

Our waiter Cesar attended to us straight away, and explained that the menu was tapas style and so ideal for sharing. There was a huge amount to choose from and truly something for everyone, with some dishes that we recognised, but also many exciting ingredients and flavours that were completely new to us. So to give us a true taste of Manko, and of Peru, the very helpful and friendly Cesar offered to bring us a selection of dishes to try, meaning all we had to worry about was which wine to order.

As though he had read our minds Cesar brought the classic ceviche, already one of our favourite Peruvian dishes, Manko’s was definitely the freshest and best we had tasted. We also tried a new dish of potato puree with crab, avocado, quail egg and a sundried tomato mayonnaise, an unusual combination we thought, but it worked perfectly and we absolutely loved it.

For our main we tried the incredibly succulent chicken kebabs, sweet potato fries, and the real show stopper of a “cacerole”, a huge one-pot dish of rice, pork, quinoa, prawns, and drawing on a Japanese influence, a Nikkei sauce. Too much for us to finish unfortunately, but full of flavour and incredibly delicious, the dish is perfect for sharing all together, and was possibly our favourite dish of the meal.

The dessert menu included fresh and fruity offerings such lime sorbets and baked apples, alongside rich and creamy chocolate, ice-creams and dulce de leche. We opted for the Pervian chocolate mousse, which as rich and chocolately as we hoped it would be. The surprising addition of crunchy quinoa on top also gave just the right amount of texture, and although we were more used to lucuma in our superfood smoothies, we loved the unusual and flavour in the accompanying lucuma ice cream. For our second option we asked Cesar for his recommendation, and as we had already chosen something classic, he suggested the port wine meringue “Manjar Blanco”, which we loved. The sweetness and unique flavour of the port wine meringue was balanced perfectly by the slight sourness of the cottage cheese ice cream, and made a deliciously and unusual end to our meal.

And although a lunch time was a little early for us to hit the bar, which of course centres around Peru’s national drink of pisco, like the restaurant the area also looked stylishly decadent, decorated in rich shades of blue and offset with gold. In addition, Manko also offers cabaret every Friday and Saturday night, in the same 1920s music hall where the iconic Josephine Baker started her career. So although we had only arrived for a relaxed lunch time visit, Manko was giving us plenty of reasons to return.

Manko-Paris, 15 Av Montaigne, 75008 Paris, + 33 (0)1 82 28 00 15

Open from Monday to Friday for lunch and for dinner and on Saturdays from 6pm.

Reservations by phone only from Monday to Friday from 10am and on Saturdays from 4pm.

Please comment