Sunday lunches are my kind of lunches. Long, lazy and with a lot of food.
And at The Marriott, ‘a lot of food’ is just what they’re offering.
The Marriott Hotel is situated just behind the Malecon (the path that follows the clifftop) and Larcomar shopping centre in Miraflores, and their restaurant ‘La Vista’ has beautiful views of the ocean in front of it.
La Vista has 4 types of buffet throughout the week; breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea (amazing) and a Sunday lunch buffet.
The Sunday lunch buffet is pricey at around S/110 (or if you’re an English tourist it’s actually only about £25), but as you are about to find out…. it is completely worth it.
To start with, the waiters come to your table and offer you a complimentary glass of sparkling wine. Perfect.
But then after that, you are given the option to have as many pisco sours as you desire throughout your meal.
That’s right people. Unlimited pisco sours. How great is that?
Excellent I know!
I do have one bone to pick though, and although I hate being a negative downer, it is something that needs to be shared.
I’m not sure what the non-alcoholic alternatives are for the unlimited drinks, but all I can say is that they did not offer any kind of water that wasn’t Evian, which isn’t free. They charge you extra, and a lot, for just a small bottle. Plain filtered water or even Peruvian bottled water was not available, which we found to be such terrible service (although this was the only bad thing about our meal).
A little tip is to order a bottle of Peruvian water from the bar across from the restaurant and have it in the restaurant with you. It will be cheaper than Evian and you won’t need to go without water for your meal.
I mean if you are offering unlimited alcohol, you need to offer water, and not at a ridiculous price. It’s just common sense surely.
Anyway rant over, and onto the food!! As I said, this was the only negative aspect of our meal.
After savouring my sparkling wine for about all of a minute, I just had to go and take a peek at all of the food that was on offer.
The buffet is set up in stations or bars, and each station has its own type of food. Obviously, we worked our way round all of them, except the salad station, because after all who needs to fill up on salad at a time like this.
Especially when there is ceviche and sushi on offer….
We chose the octopus ceviche, as it is not always available in restaurants and come sometimes be expensive. If you don’t like octopus, do not fear, as there are other options too including the regular fish ceviche. We also picked up a few of the sushi to try, but not too many as we didn’t want to fill up on rice right at the beginning!
If neither of these dishes tickle your fancy, then maybe these scallops will.
I’m not a huge fan, but they looked so beautifully at home in their shells, that I couldn’t resist a picture. I know a few members of my family who would love to have these as a start to their meal!
Beautiful purple octopus served in a not too spicy ‘leche de tigre’, and some deliciously fruity mango filled sushi; a perfect start to our feast. The octopus ceviche was in fact perfectly cooked, which I think must be an amazing feat for a buffet service!
Next up, to the right of the seafood, is where you will find the hot dishes. There are a mix of traditional Peruvian dishes and soups etc on offer, but we were looking forward to eating a lot of meat at the carvery so we only really tried the excellent mashed potatoes topped with cheese.
This potato made me one happy lady. It’s like English shepherd’s pie, only without the sheep part. And I do love shepherd’s pie.
Following on from this station, there is also a location where you can opt to have one of a number of select dishes cooked freshly in front of you by a La Vista chef.
There were some great options on the menu, but we went for one of the pasta dishes; ravioli in a creamy ‘Alfredo’ sauce, served with ham.
Look at it bubbling away. Happy days.
After sharing a plate of freshly cooked, creamy pasta, we finally found ourselves at the carvery.
They always have 3 meats available but they alter week to week so I’m not sure what will be on offer when you go.
We went for the prime rib of beef and the leg of pork, because turkey doesn’t overly excite me, unless it’s in a sandwich with cranberry sauce of course!
Perfecto, no?! (That pork was insanely good)
We took both the mushrooms and corn to try as sides, but we cast aside the sauces so that we could really taste the meats first.
Both meats were incredibly tender and juicy and a fabulous main course for our meal. I’m not a mushroom fan, but the sauce they were cooked in was extremely tasty, and the corn was beautifully cooked and seasoned. The pork did come with extra crackling but I ate that before I even took the photo. Sorry (not sorry).
Really, all that was missing from my ‘mini’ roast dinner was the roast potatoes. But then I guess the cheesy mash kind of made up for the lack of those. Almost. (I lie. Nothing can really make up for roast potatoes…they are a divine element unto themselves).
We then went back for more of the juicy beef, the cheesy mash and a couple of the rice dishes, including a scrummy arroz chaufa (Chinese style fried rice).
But really nothing beat the combination of the beef, pork, and cheesy mash. Comfort food heaven.
So much for carb loading eh…!
We took a little break, and I whipped up a pisco Bloody Mary for my boyfriend from the Bloody Mary bar (located in-between the cold and hot stations).
You can choose from regular pisco or chilli pisco, and there is also a choice of seasoning too, with Lee & Perrins or Tabasco on offer. There’s the obvious tomato juice, a necessity for a Bloody Mary, and you can plonk a stick of celery in your glass too, if thats your thing!
After this, you can choose to either jump right to dessert or go for another round of food.
Obviously, we did a little more eating before hitting the dessert bar.
But the dessert bar is epic.
There is a such a wide array.
From a chocolate fountain with its dippers….
…to cakes and cheesecakes.
From mini desserts…
…and more mini desserts…
…to a giant croquembouche.
Obviously the latter is for sharing, not just for one person, although I did want to pick it up and take it home with me afterwards. I believe that if the dessert is unfinished at the end of service they should give you the option of taking it. Something like, adopting a dessert. I’m really just helping them out.
Clearly ‘Adopt- A- Dessert’ is now my new mission in life.
I would highly recommend the croquembouche.
Actually, more than highly recommend. Not only does it look spectacular but it tasted as good as it looked. The caramel was just perfection, the choux buns were light and airy, and the cream filling was delicious.
The crepes (hiding at the bottom here) on the other hand were a let down. They were not made fresh to order, so they just had a plate of them sat next to a chef who handed them to you, but during the time they were sat there they had gone cold. I don’t know about you, but I really dislike cold crepes.
The rest of the desserts were lovely, especially the chocolate cake, which was scrumptious. I may or may not have had more than one slice of that….
I admit to nothing.
Now, you may think that after dessert you’re finished, but oh how wrong you would be.
Peru is not really a country that offers a huge variety of incredible cheeses. Obviously, they have some great options that are really delicious (queso mantecoso anyone…?) and if you head to places like Cajamarca in the north there are some super tasty cheeses on offer. But you really have to go there to buy them or you will end up paying an arm and a leg in the supermarkets or markets of Lima. Lima does also offer imported cheeses in the supermarkets, but again only if you are willing to pay a small fortune. You will find that the majority of cheaper cheese (this is the pre-sliced packaged stuff) that is offered in the supermarket lacks a lot of flavour and can be a little rubbery in texture, not like a good hard crumbly English cheddar.
But look no further…
The Sunday buffet at La Vista honestly had a mini selection of tasty cheeses, which were so unlike anything I’ve been able to find in Lima so far. I mean two of them were proper full-on flavourful cheeses, with the best one being the cheese that tasted like it had been smoked (with the rough yellow/orange rind – hiding on the far right hand side in triangles). I have no idea if they are Peruvian cheeses or imported ones from Europe, but my money is on the latter (no offence Peruvian cheese, sorry!)
So, I stocked up on bread and croissants (from the salad station right in the middle) and cheeses (from the made-to-order section) and sat myself down for a little cheese plate feast. With some prosciutto too obviously!
What a perfect end to an absolutely excellent meal.
I do also just want to mention the excellent band that plays at intervals through the buffet service.
They play jolly instrumental music that really fits the atmosphere of the place. It reminded me of the little acoustic guitar, folky street bands you find in France, but my boyfriend assured me that it was actually pretty traditional music in Peru. Either way, I enjoyed it!
At S/110, the buffet is a little pricey, but it is all absolutely worth it. Go early, take your time, and savour all that La Vista has to offer. Then, after a little walk along the Malecon, order a taxi home!
La Vista Restaurant – JW Marriott Hotel, Malecon de le Reserva 615, Miraflores. (On the corner of the Malecon and Av. Jose Larco)