Finally, an authentic Peruvian restaurant located in Jumeirah got us more than excited last weekend. Not only did we get to relish some classic Peruvian home cooking, but we also to have a small chat with the owner himself, Ali Sidani, to find out more about his vision and passion for “Pollo Pollo”
“Pollo” is the Spanish word for chicken, hence “Pollo Pollo” is twice the chicken you’ve ever tasted; and that’s how the name of the restaurant was derived. The preparation method of the chicken and its side dishes are all prepared using classic Peruvian techniques. Their chicken is marinated for long hours in secret ancient spices and is roasted over a live fire which makes it so tender and delicious.
For our tasting session, we sampled some of the signature dishes available at Pollo Pollo. To begin with, we were presented with two quirky purple looking drinks called “Chicha Morada” which is a refreshing drink deriving its color from purple corn all the way from Peru.
Under the “Small Bites from Lima” we sampled some classic Peruvian favorites.
• The Peruvian Empanada which is a freshly baked pastry filled with creamy chicken and served with a slice of lemon. The pastry was crumbly and soft, and the creamy chicken tasted homely and very delicious. You can try their Empanada in a vegetarian version as well with stuffed mushrooms, artichokes and spinach. This dish isn’t served with any dip which at the beginning might seem odd but as soon as you bite into it, you’d realize that a dip is unnecessary: it’s that good!
• Another favorite from the small bites is the Peruvian Tamal. This is a very unique appetizer of corn dough filled with creamy chicken, wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed. This texture of this starter is unbelievably amazing. It is soft and very moist due to the banana leaf and the chicken stuffing goes perfectly well with the corn dough.
• We also tasted a dish called “Yucas Fritas” which according to us is a healthier version of French Fries and is such a win! This dish is crispy Peruvian tapioca served with Huancaina sauce (a creamy, mild Peruvian sauce). These wedges of tapioca had the perfect thickness and crunch and saved us on the guilt trip as well.
After a delightful round of starters, it was a time for the best part of our meal – the Pollo aka chicken! We ordered the half chicken A La Brasa. It’s amazing how something so simple could taste this delicious. We’re not really sure how as to what the factors are that set the Peruvian Chicken apart and above any other rotisserie chicken; it could probably be the secret marinade of spices or the preparation method, but what we’re completely sure of is that you’re definitely never going to find chicken that tastes better than this.
What added to our satisfaction was the variety of side dishes that complemented the chicken.
• The Arroz Verde which is Peruvian green rice cooked with a special broth, cilantro, veggies, Aji Amarillo and served with salsa criolla (a refreshing mix of red onions, Aji Amarillo, cilantro with a zesty lime dressing) was packed with flavor and tasted very unique.
• We also had the Frijoles which is Peruvian bean dish cooked until tender with special herbs and spices making it another delicious compliment to the dish. The owner, Ali, recommended us to try the beans with the rice along with a little of the salsa criolla and they actually tasted perfect together!
• For all you healthy-freaks, if you want something healthy to go with your chicken, then we highly recommend the quinoa salad (Peruvian Style Of course) It tasted refreshing, light and crunchy and had lots of texture.
To wrap up our wonderful Peruvian feast, we were presented with a variety of authentic desserts from Peru.
• To begin with, we tried the “El Classico” which is a combination of Arroz Con Leche (Peruvian rice pudding flavored with cinnamon, coconut and cloves) and Mazamorra Morada (Peruvian pudding made from purple corn and fruit bits, spiced with cinnamon and cloves). This dessert was pleasing to the eyes and tummy as well. It felt like homely dessert that you would get at a local restaurant in Peru. The flavors were spot and not too sweet.
• We also tried the Alfajores which are tender cookies filled with Dulce De Leche sauce and coated with icing sugar. We are definitely coming back here to buy a whole box of these! The dulche de leche sauce is homemade and tastes like heaven, the cookie just crumbles with every bite and just melts in your mouth
• Our third dessert was a dish called “Picarones” which is sweet, mildly flavored Peruvian Donuts made out of sweet potato and squash drizzled with imported Pervian syrup made out of sugarcane! We loved the incorporation of sweet potato into the dessert; it wasn’t too sweet and tasted pretty healthy too.
• For our fourth and final dessert (and best one of the lot) was the Crema Volteada De Quinoa which is a fluffy Crème Caramel made with quinoa flour. The quinoa flour added a unique and dense texture to the dessert and the dish as a whole was very pleasant and satisfying. Perfect end to our meal.
Peruvian Empanada – Dhs18
Peruvian Tamal – Dhs20
Yucas Fritas – Dhs25
Half Chicken A La Brasa – Dhs85
Arroz Verde – Dhs20
Frijoles – Dhs15
Quinoa Salad – Dhs30
El Classico – Dhs15
Alfajores – Dhs7
Picarones – Dhs15
Crema Volteada De Quinoa – Dhs15
Ambience – 3.5/5
Food – 4/5
Service – 4/5
Value – 4/5