Saturday, February 18, 2012

Mochikas- Tasty Peruvian Cuisine in a Car Wash

Mochikas is in the same building as Platinum Touch Auto Spa, a car detailing business. I definitely would never have noticed, seen, heard of this place if it weren't for great posts by a few other food bloggers and a great Vancouver Sun piece. On the way home from a coffee shop near my office, I noticed a familiar looking banner....low and behold, it was Mochikas and just a few blocks away from my office. I made a lunch date with a friend who lives in the area and was always curious about this "Car Wash Cafe."
This is definitely a hole-in-the-wall/ hidden gem material/ mom and pop shop. It is a clean, bright, cozy space (could fit about 15) with bright orange walls and a large flat screen TV with soccer playing and peruvian pan flute music playing. I couldn't help but laugh because whenever I hear pan flutes, I have a flash back to an overnight bus ride in Peru where they blasted pan flute music on the stereo through the whole duration of the trip....I'm talking 10pm- all night through to 8am. There is a small market shelve with Peruvian grocery products for sale and a glass display cooler with desserts and chocolates. 
We perused the menu and the owner/chef explained the daily lunch specials which were all under $10. It's cash only- so be prepared, dishes are all under $15.

I ordered Chupe De Mariscos ($10 for Small/ $14 for Large). I asked the owner if the small would be filling enough for lunch and he explained that they are pretty much the same size but that the large has more seafood in it. So, I ordered the small. This is a spicy, hearty seafood chowder with fish (sole), clams, shrimp, calamari, mussels, cream, Aji Panca, rice, feta cheese, and cassava. I would strongly recommend this dish! It was totally unique to me and was like a mash-up of a Paella rice dish and a Laksa Soup. 

The broth was out-of-this world: slightly creamy but not too heavy, tangy and spicy and full-bodied with flavour.It was loaded with generous mixed seafood and was filling but not too heavy. 

My dining companion ordered the Tamal Criollo o Verde (stuffed cilantro ground corn tamal) with chicken which was on lunch special for $5. The tamal was served with a fresh red onion salad. She actually got creative and added a scoop of my broth on top which she said added a nice flavour kick.

I can't wait to come back and try their Ceviche!!!

Mochikas Peruvian Cafe on Urbanspoon

1 comment:

Paul Shatto said...

Wow! I can't believe you know about this place. I think there are only a handful of people that would be aware of it's existence tucked away in the underbelly of the auto spa.

This shop had been open for several months and I had walked by it dozens of time before I finally decided to give it a try. I can't remember what I ordered but I recall it to be tasty if slightly overpriced for the size of the portions. However, I can't say I was at all thrilled with the smell of fresh auto paint that was permeating the entire restaurant during my visit.

It turned out that the auto-spa next door was doing some touch-up work to someone's Porsche and the building's ducting system was funneling the fumes directly into the seating area of the restaurant.

Unfortunately, this experience left me with a tainted impression of an otherwise delightful, ethnic eating experience in Vancouver. I've never been back.

Great blog, keep the posts coming! :)