Restaurant reviews

Restaurant review: Nikko, Cebicheria Nikkei

Sheila Christensen Jeanneau

A new addition to the Av. La Mar restaurant scene in Miraflores hits the spot just as the season changes for warmer temperatures.

Restaurant review: Nikko, Cebicheria Nikkei

(Photo: AmaraPhotos/Living in Peru)

Nikko is the creation and driving force of Kenny Wong. Kenny is a well known and respected business entrepreneur who has been involved in many creations and projects with Gastón Acurio as well as many others. Nikko is a very personal venture for Kenny. His enthusiastic influence is everywhere in the restaurant, from menu options, decor and so much more. Enter Chino Soto, a childhood friend of Kenny Wong and now business partner. While Kenny enjoys being more low profile and behind the scenes in the business operation, Chino is outgoing and enjoys overseeing the daily operations of the restaurant. Most days you will find Chino at Nikko, visiting tables, making menu recommendations and making sure that the customer is satisfied. Chino’s dedication and enthusiasm was obvious the day of our visit. Prior to his partnership at Nikko, Chino worked 20 years as a major executive in the rental car industry here in Peru. He also previously studied cuisine at Le Cordon Bleu and is also an entrepreneur in a variety of different businesses. He is passionate about his role at Nikko and this new phase in his life. Chino’s strong commitment to customer service and satisfaction plus quality control is quite evident.

A lovely ambiance inside Nikko (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Living in Peru)

The concept behind Nikko is all about “recuerdo de sabor,” or memories of flavors. The food here is Peruvian with the influence of Japanese ingredients and techniques. Nikko celebrates the Peruvian creole cuisine with the Japanese influence. On the menu, you will find the more highly recommended dishes that promote this concept with a red and white symbol representing both the Peruvian and Japanese flags, denoting the chef highly recommends these dishes.

The accents of red and black furniture along with natural elements from the stone floors, brick walls and natural plant life all comes together in this spacious, airy and relaxing atmosphere. Nikko is accommodating to larger groups of people as well as customers that prefer to dine in a more private area (a private room is available). On both visits I made to Nikko I noticed the spotless and bustling kitchen. The kitchen staff operate like a well-oiled machine. As well, Nikko boasts a top of the line sound system that allows the music to be heard, but not so loud that it distracts diners from enjoying a conversation.

On my visit with the Living in Peru team, we enjoyed a couple cocktails at our table beginning with a chilcano de kion (Pisco macerated with ginger, a splash of ginger ale and lime) as well as a refreshing gin and tonic. Nikko offers several special menu options for pisco sours, chilcanos and gin and tonics, as well as a full cocktail menu and wine list. If you are in the mood for lemonade, I highly recommend the Limonada with hierba luisa (lemongrass) or the maracuya mango flavor.

Pulpo al olivo (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Living in Peru)

One of my favorite Peruvian dishes is Pulpo al olivo. Nikko’s version arrived with a plate of glistening and perfectly tender and delicate slices of octopus, thinly sliced white onions, all drizzled with a light, creamy olive mayonnaise sauce that did not disappoint. Restaurants that serve this dish all have their own olive mayonnaise sauce versions. I found Nikko’s to be lighter than some of the thicker versions at other restaurants, but still totally satisfying and creamy. This is one of two dishes on the Nikko menu that pays homage to Rosita Yimura, one of the pioneers of Nikkei.

Cebiche Nikkei (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Living in Peru)

The Cebiche Nikkei (S/ 45.90) at Nikko is most definitely one of my favorite ceviche renditions. This dish is all about freshness and texture. The combination of ultra fresh tuna and octopus, with pieces of ripe avocado and a light touch of thinly sliced red onion with a bounty of deep fried and crunchy sweet potato threads resting on top was a delight. The sweetness of the tamarind sauce highlights this dish. I couldn’t get enough of this sauce and even referred to it as the “nectar of the gods”. I’ve even recommended several friends to go to Nikko for this particular ceviche and they were not disappointed. If you are not a fan of tuna or octopus they have several other ceviche options, including the classic version.

One of the more unique dishes on the menu at Nikko are the Caracoles de mar (S/ 33.90). These 8 deliciously decadent caracoles (snails from the ocean, unlike escargot which are from land) were cooked for six hours in a wonderful sauce of miso, mirin, soy and sugar. This dish is a homage to Augusto Kague, the deceased owner of Ah Gusto that popularized this dish in Peru.

Caracoles de mar (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Living in Peru)

Riding the current popularity wave of pejerrey (similar to smelt or silversides), we sampled Tempura de Pejerrey (S/ 28.90). Nikko’s version is a generous portion of lightly breaded and deep-fried pejerrey accompanied by a tentsuyu (typically an all-purpose dipping sauce which includes dashi, nirin and soy sauce) and ají limo peppers.

On a previous visit I ordered the Seaweed salad (S/ 36.90). This is my kind of salad! An assortment of pickled seaweed, with slices of kiuri (Jaapanese cucumber), shiitake mushrooms, and sesame seeds, are all topped off with fresh slices of salmon shaped into the form of a rose. I will definitely be ordering this dish again.

Tempura de Pejerrey, left, and Tacu yaki, right (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Living in Peru)

The last two dishes we sampled were main dishes from the Nikko menu: Tacu yaki (S/ 54.90) and Tallerin saltado carretillero (S/ 44.90). The tacu yaki refers to the bean and rice mixture most of us refer to as tacu tacu. This mixture contains a rich assortment of seafood such as scallops, shrimp and calamari, all accented with watercress. I found the dish to have both soft and intense flavors. At times I have found some tacu tacu dishes to be on the dry side, however the sauce in this particular dish imparted a creaminess which I found satisfying.

Our last main, the Tallerin saltado carretillero, was a bit of a disappointment. This dish arrived with several juicy pieces of excellent beef tenderloin, cooked medium rare and mixed in with spaghetti, slices of tomato, onion, ají amarillo and parsley along with a sauce reminiscent to the sauce commonly used for the meat dish, Lomo saltado. We all felt it could have used more sauce, spices and more pieces of beef.

I would be remiss if I did not mention a main dish I ordered during a separate visit to Nikko. The Filet de atún con risotto al ají amarillo y saltado de langostinos al wok (S/ 54.90) was spectacular. A very generous portion of perfectly grilled tuna and sautéed shrimp with ají amarillo risotto served with a wonderful sauce was decadent. This dish could easily be shared between two or more people; in fact, I noticed the majority of main dishes were large enough to share.

Crema volteada de la abuela (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Living in Peru)

We sampled two desserts the day of our visit. Nikko’s version of creme caramel or flan, Crema volteada de la abuela, is most definitely one of the better versions to be found in Lima. It’s the perfect combination of dense and creamy texture and was the table favorite.

The Sorbet de queso helado was a surprise for me, as I’m normally not a fan of this dessert however Nikko’s version is the exception. Despite the translation into English, “cheese ice cream”, this dessert contains absolutely no cheese. This artisanal dessert contains milk, unsweetened evaporated milk and sweetened condensed milk along with other ingredients such as coconut, egg yolks and cinnamon. This dessert, for me, is reminiscent of frozen rice pudding. Fresh and light, Nikko’s version is accompanied by a fantastic cinnamon-flavored creme chantilly (sweetened vanilla-flavored whipping cream) and pecan praline sauce.

Tasty makis (Photo: AmaraPhotos/Living in Peru)

Nikko also offers a sushi menu that has many maki and nigiri options. I previously sampled the acebichado maki and it was excellent. The teenagers at our table went crazy for the various maki rolls.

Nikko has made an excellent impression and I will definitely be a regular customer. The service is excellent and attentive and the food above par.

Av. Mariscal La Mar 1285, Miraflores
Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Thursday thru Saturday: 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m. / 7:30 p.m.-11:30 p.m.
Sunday: 12:30 p.m.-4:30 p.m.
Phone: 555-8148 / 942 096 170

Limited parking
Valet parking available
Capacity: 128 persons

Starters: S/ 31.90-59.90
Causas: S/ 31.90-38.90
Cebiches/Tiraditos: S/ 35.90-49.90
Tempuras/Chicharrones: S/ 28.90-59.90
Grilled dishes: S/ 38.90-54.90
Main dish soups: S/ 35.90-59.90
Camarones: S/ 58.90
Rice/Tacu Tacu dishes: S/ 39.90-54.90
Wok dishes: S/ 39.90-46.90
Nikkei: S/ 39.90-68.90
Yakicuchos: S/ 34.90
Piqueos/Appetizers for sharing: S/ 59.90-66.90
Kids Menu: S/ 19.90-25.90
Sushi Menu (includes makis & nigiri): S/ 8.90-34.90
Dessert menu
Full cocktail, wine list and beverage selection

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