• Jenni Lien

Picada | New South American travel menu



On the edge of Hong Kong’s infamous Lan Kwai Fong (or LKF) party district lies a vibrant Latin American restaurant called Picada. It can party with the best of them hosting live DJ nights in their colourful space. But food remains the main attraction. Recently, I had the opportunity to visit the restaurant and try out their new South American travel menu with other bloggers.



How cute is this new menu? Love the design! It’s divided into four sections: Coast, Mountain, Jungle, and Countryside. Each section has its own starters, mains, desserts, and cocktails.


Cocktail


I started with a White Rose Lady ($115) cocktail - with rum, cream, fresh vanilla, and a lit cinnamon stick - from the Mountain section because it was a Sunday night and I was in the mood for something sweet. The cocktail was beautiful, easy to drink, and reminded me of a spiked vanilla milkshake.


Starters

Picada really spoiled us and we were able to try so many new things from the menu.



Both of the ceviches we tried were clear winners. The Peruvian Ceviche ($148) had sea bass, Peruvian corn, red onion, coriander, a classic ‘leche de tigre’ dressing, and some smoked sweet potato puree on the slide. Fresh and slightly tangy with a generous portion of fish.



If you’re feeling more adventurous, get the Vegan Mango Ceviche ($108). The mango and avocado chunks were very ripe which would already make this dish delicious, but the wasabi-coconut dressing was something else. A new flavour combination for me and a delicious one!



I’m never one to say no to fried things so happily tucked into the Seafood Empanadas ($168 for three) and the Tostones Bites ($138 for three). The empanadas arrived hot and fresh and the texture of the dough was nice and crispy. The dough itself also tasted good so the mild mozzarella with basil and assorted seafood filling worked.



The tostones bites blew me away and are a must order. A fried plantain cup is filled with smashed avocado, slow cooked pork, and topped with a mealy apple jam. So flavourful and satisfying.



The Arepas Reina Pepiada ($138 for two) is also a dish I’d definitely order again. Corn pockets are stuffed with a chicken salad-like filling and topped with creamy garlic sauce and slices of avocado. I’m trying to think about why I loved this so much because it wasn’t necessarily unique. But somehow it was very addictive (maybe because the salad is made with grilled chicken?) and I ate up my entire potion even though I knew mains were still to come.


The only items I didn’t love were the Torresmo De Porco ($98), supposed to be like a chicharron but was tough instead of crispy, and the Elote Grillado ($78), grilled well but not as wow as the other appetizers.


Mains

On to the mains! I think the main thing to know about them is that they are all well executed. Often times, I feel like sides are an afterthought for a restaurant, something that needs to be tasty enough (e.g. grilled simply, with some garlic) but can’t compete with the flavours of the meat / fish / what have you. With Picada’s new mains, the sides were impressively bold.



My favourite was the Grilled Octopus ($248). Loved the beet and sweet potato puree (could have sworn there was also something deliciously fatty / meaty in there?) and sauteed mushrooms against the octopus.



The Red Grilled Salmon was another good one with the fish being tender and fatty. It’s a great one for summer as it’s refreshing with a potato-banana puree, lots of grilled vegetables, and a passionfruit sauce.



While I wouldn’t usually choose a fried rice for my main, the Smoked Vegan Chaufa ($168) was surprisingly tasty. The Peruvian-style fried rice was very moist and came with this beautiful amount of grilled avocado and other vegetables. Carby but with loads of good-for-you stuff in there.



The Camarao Na Moranga ($248) with creamy-bacon base is kind of like a tasty take on a soup (a fatty one!) and salad, and Rainbow Duck ($228) was also OK but slightly too salty. While the Patagonian Charcoal Steak ($288) had good flavour, the meat itself was a little tough.


Dessert


Maybe I got out my sweet craving with my cocktail but I found all of the desserts too sweet. Lucky for my fellow diners then because then because they devoured my portion! This spread contains the Alma Llanera ($108), a pumpkin cheesecake with sweet corn ice cream (crowd favourite), Dulzura Andina ($148), a vegan spicy dark chocolate fondue, and the Paraiso Playero ($128) pina colada mousse with passion fruit, roasted coconut and currants.



Verdict

I think Chef Andres Rivera and the team at Picada have done an excellent job with this new South American travel menu. The concept itself is great and there are many hits on the menu, including some great options for vegetarians and vegans. So impressed at how there is so much flavour in every dish. I’ve already added it to the ‘must eat’ restaurant list I share with my boyfriend and look forward to coming back again… the arepas and tostones bites are calling my name!


2F & 3F LKF 29 Building, 29 Wyndham Street, Central, 3425 4037


*By invitation


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