The words, “terra cuina” in Spanish mean homeland kitchen. This is what you will find at Terra Cuina, a new addition to Miraflores as of December 2015. The food served here is exclusively Catalan cuisine. Catalonia consists of four provinces in Spain: Barcelona, Girona, Lleida and Tarragona. Catalan cuisine offers a diverse array of ingredients that come from this western Mediterranean area which are plentiful in beans, fish, meats, vegetables and olive oil. As well, it is rich in flavors, has powerful and robust sauces and includes slow cooking at low temperatures. The diversity includes pork-intensive to fish-based recipes, combining sweet and savory, stews, as well as mixing meat and seafood in the same recipes. For me personally, the essence and secret of good Catalan food lies in its sauces for fish and meat.
The charming husband and wife chef/owners of Terra Cuina, Joan and Katina, spoiled us with their traditional flavorful Catalan cooking. Joan hails from Spain and Katina from Peru. Over 10 years ago they were united in Barcelona. Now they share their mutual pride in the Catalan region with their traditional dishes offered at Terra Cuina.
As you enter Terra Cuina you are “welcomed” by the impressive and eye catching floor-to-ceiling black and white photo of the Colla dels Castellers, the infamous human tower which is part of Catalan tradition. There are human tower teams and competitions that are popular in Spain. The restaurant is full of light which emanates from the floor-to-ceiling windows as well as the original, whimsical details of lighting fixtures made out of wine decanters and pepper mills. Many natural elements of wood, brick and iron can be seen throughout the restaurant. All the tables have tiny potted plants that add to the charm, simplicity and “at home” feeling of Terra Cuina. A long chef’s table (can easily seat 10 or more people) is located on one side of the restaurant in front of the kitchen. This table, with a selection of wonderful black and white photos of Spain situated on the wall nearby, can be reserved.
A plate of pan con tomate (bread with tomato) arrives at every table. This simple and humble dish originated in Cataluña and is considered to be one of the most well-loved, widely eaten dishes in Catalan cuisine. The plate of thickly cut, lightly grilled rustic bread is generously smeared with tomato, olive oil, and sal de maras. It’s addictive! So much so that my love for bread with butter could easily be replaced with pan con tomate.
Our first tapa was the croquetas del corral (S/ 20), six plump chicken and vegetable croquettes. The croquettes are all about texture: the exterior crunchiness from the golden brown panko crust and the creaminess inside from the free range chicken (roasted for two hours) and vegetables.
One of the more traditional Catalan dishes we sampled was the escalivada (S/ 18). This beautifully presented arrangement of vegetables (eggplant, onion, and red bell peppers) drizzled in olive oil and wrapped in foil and slow-cooked for 3 to 4 hours was for me, rustic simplicity. The name escalivada comes from the Catalan verb “escalivar,” which means “to cook in ashes”. The traditional preparation takes place in the embers of a wood fire. The vegetables on this platter were accompanied by green olives and baby potatoes wrapped in individual anchovy fillets. This dish is typically served cold. You don’t need to be a vegetable lover to appreciate this incredible dish.
It is traditional in Spain to serve paella on Thursdays. At Terra Cuina, you can find it on the menu every day and it is one of their most popular dishes. The paella mixta (S/ 32), was a free-style combination of short-grained rice prepared with mussels, shrimp, chicken, sausage, pork, peas, red bell peppers, saffron, and more. Terra Cuina also offers the options of ordering this paella with meat only or seafood only. This dish can easily be shared by two or more people. The Catalan-style paella is typically more wet than dry.
I am not one that would typically gravitate towards ordering cannelloni in a restaurant, however this all changed after two bites of the canelones de la iaia (S/ 26). This is another traditional Catalan dish which translates as Grandma’s cannelloni and typically uses leftover meats for the cannelloni filling. The cannelloni at Terra Cuina uses a mixture of chicken, pork, veal and chicken liver to stuff the pasta shells. A creamy béchamel white sauce infused with nutmeg and cinnamon generously coats the three plump cannelloni. This dish was decadent in its richness and quite filling. Catalan comfort food!
The ternera con setas “Vedella amb bolet” (S/ 32), was a wonderful traditional aromatic fricassee/stew of tender, sliced veal slow-cooked at a low temperature with a thick and rich sauce prepared with a variety of dried, Porcon and portobello mushrooms, brandy, and cream. WIth a serving of herbed potato puree on the side, there was lots of flavor packed into this dish. Mushrooms and veal are perfect together.
If you enjoy duck, you most definitely would enjoy the magret de pato con salsa de naranja (S/ 38). The duck breast was succulent, tender and roasted to perfection and the orange sauce was beyond exquisite. The duck was accompanied by baked carrot (infused with cardamom, honey and orange juice) which almost had the texture of a sweet potato. I will most definitely return for this dish.
We ended our meal at a high point with dessert. Our table raved about the crema catalana (S/ 15). The rich custard base topped with a layer of soft burnt caramel was divine! Egg yolks and cream are whisked together perfectly, then infused with cinnamon and lime which result in this delicate and creamy custard. Due to the close proximity of Cataluña to France, some believe creme brûlée may have actually originated in Cataluña. This crema catalana is probably one of the best renditions I’ve had in Peru in the past nine years.
Besides their regular menu, Terra Cuina also serves daily menu options seven days a week. There are five starters, five main dishes and four desserts to choose from. Several options and price points to choose from as well: starter/main dish/dessert (S/ 40); starter/dessert/main dish/dessert (S/ 35); starter/main dish (S/ 35), or simply a starter or main dish (S/ 28). The daily menu includes a glass of beer, refreshment, juice or a glass of house wine. Please note, beverages are not included in the daily menu price on Friday, Saturday or Sunday (weekdays only).
Terra Cuina offers delicious, traditional Catalan cuisine at modest prices. It is a gem in this Miraflores neighborhood.There is a great balance between quality and price here. If I lived in this neighborhood I would most definitely make Terra Cuina a regular weekly destination.
Calle Bolognesi 506
Hours: Sunday & Monday: 12:30 p.m.-5:00 p.m. (Lunch only)
Tuesday-Thursday: 12:30 p.m.-11:00 p.m.
Friday & Saturday: 12:30 p.m.-12:00 a.m.
Capacity: 80 persons
Daily Menu: S/. 28-40
Tapas: S/. 15-40
Starters: S/. 18-26
Entrees: S/. 31-42
Desserts: S/. 15-18
Extensive wine list available
Cocktails & beer