Peruvian Gaston Acurio is latest top chef coming to Royal Atlantis in Dubai

La Mar will serve the chef's famous Peking guinea pig pancake

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Dinner by British chef Heston Blumenthal, Hakkasan’s fanciest outpost, tapas hotspot Jaleo and cookbook author Ariana Bundy’s Persian Kitchen are some of the eateries that foodies in the UAE are looking forward to when the Royal Atlantis finally opens its doors on Palm Jumeirah. Now a fifth restaurant, La Mar, is in the offing too, set to open towards the end of next year.

The famed Peruvian cevicheria has branches in Lima, Mexico, Brazil, Argentina and Miami in the US among other countries, and is the brainchild of Gaston Acurio, who wears many hats including chef, restaurateur, cookbook author and television host.

Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio 
Peruvian chef Gaston Acurio 

On the menu

As anyone who’s been to Coya and Lima can attest, Peruvian cuisine with its ceviches, anticucho skewers, tiraditos and fresh marinades is filled with clean, delicious flavours. Chef Acurio focuses on a specific category of Peruvian food called novoandino (literally new Andean) cuisine.

Accordingly, La Mar will offer mashed potato dumplings topped with seafood, Peruvian-style sashimi, street food such as chicken thighs, veal heart and octopus in potato cream, ribeye chimichurri and braised Asado beef cheeks.

Most famous dish

Cuy Pekines. Photo: Ines Menacho
Cuy Pekines. Photo: Ines Menacho

Acurio is best known for his Peking guinea pig. Traditionally the “cuy” was deep-fried or served in a stew on the hillsides of Peru. Acurio serves the dark, rich meat akin to Peking duck, sliced up into chunks with a rocoto pepper hoisin sauce and wrapped in a purple corn pancake.

La Mar in Dubai, which is being pegged as the city’s first traditional “cebicheria” (so named after the Peking guinea pig pancake), will serve Acurio’s celebrated dish on a made-to-order basis with a leche de tigre citrus-based marinade of lime and ají peppers.

Spot by the sea

La Mar’s interiors are inspired by the design of a “fisherman’s wharf”. This includes decor features such as high cane ceilings, floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the Palm Island, a large open terrace, the use of natural materials such as iron, cement, wood and stone, and a warm colour palette of marine blues, green, sandy grey and beige. The handcrafted tableware, meanwhile, will emulate rock, coral, the seabed and shimmering fish scales.