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Ceviche at Cantina Popular

March 1st, 2018 | on the road

“Oh my god”, the captain said during the last shore leave in Hamburg, honoring the first bite of the Ceviche de Lubina… The CANTINA POPULAR is loud at first glance, it’s tight, it’s busy, lively and colourful. The waiters in all that hustle and bustle are cheerful and attentive. One has arrived – in the middle of South America. And Chef de cuisine Cristián Orellanus says “Bienvenidos”!

Ceviche at Cantina Popular

Hamburg for long time has worked off the prominent owners of the Cantina Popular, Heinz Strunk and Karl-Heinz Dellwo and on the question of whether the name of the Cantina Popular, which means “public soup kitchen” in english, is to be seen politically against the background of the left scene in the quarter called “Schanze”. In my opinion in these discussions the essential in the context of a restaurant always has been missed out: the food. So, what about the food in the Cantina?

Great! There is no other word. Here in the Cantina Popular, we ate the best Ceviche throughout Hamburg – and we LOVE Ceviche. It’s a Peruvian national dish. Raw fish is marinated in lime juice. In this way, the protein is, much like cooking, denatured. During our visit to the Cantina we started with Loup de Mer, raw, marinated, with Leche de Tigre, red onions, yellow chili, coriander, Chulpe corn & sweet potato puree. “Oh my god”, as I said.

The evening continues with Ceviche Cuico, Queijo de Cabra Nikkei and Pulpo y Zapallo – melodious names for wonderful plates each affectionately and skillfully arranged. One wonders how that is possible in such a small, open kitchen. Chef Cristián Orellanus masters it. And how!

The selection of drinks is inspiring. Even non-alcoholic cocktails with esprit are served, as for example the Quetzal Dorado (Yerba Mate, cherry juice, cilantro syrup, lime juice, kiwi and tonic). Fruity, but not too sweet. The concept of the Cantina is pleasant: to order multiple dishes as a tapas selection and everyone can try everything. The bright atmosphere of the Cantina with ceiling paintings and colorful tiles invites you to stay and try the menu up and down again.

The next time it must be the whole sea bream, steamed in banana leafs with ginger and vanilla – or the mussels cooked in white wine with mirepoix vegetables and chorizo crumble? Whatever we’ll choose, we look forward to our next visit. “Hasta la próxima, Cristián!”

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