Samba, Shangri-La at The Fort: An Introduction to Peruvian Food

I have not been to Peru yet, neither had Peruvian food before, so dining at Samba was a thrilling experience for me. Entering the main lounge of the restaurant, I, together with Cebu Daily News Columnist Jude Bacalso, was greeted with a modern Peruvian  sitting room, with  colorful festival masks from behind the set popping out from the chic textured wall – setting a plush and palatable dinner ahead.

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Samba has three dining sections, one on the main indoor hall, and two in the outdoor dining area – the main al fresco and the bar area,  situated near the Shangri-La at The Fort swimming pool. We had our dinner at the main al fresco where the ambiance seemed to be more relaxed, while having cocktails on the side, filling the bill of pregame drinks before finally tanking up at The Back Room – a speakeasy bar in the property’s complex.

We kicked off the Peruvian feast with a few starters. First we had the Peruvian staple – Civeche. Piqueos Tres de Ceviches come in a sampler plate with three distinctive flavor varieties of fresh fish cured in citrus juice spiced with chili pepper, onion, salt and cilantro. The next one is too easy to fall for!  Conchas a la Parmesana are large scallops in light butter, salt and ground pepper topped with just the right amount of parmesan cheese, torched right in your table. Better prepare your phones to get this flashy, and literally flaming hot, appetizer on your ig stories. 

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Piqueos Tres de Ceviches

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Conchas a la Parmesana

We Filipinos are very familiar with empanadas, which is one of our fiesta and birthday staples in a traditional Pinoy celebration. This version is stuffed with Beef Tenderloin, and considering my appetite, this can pass as a main already. Teehee.

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Beef Tenderloin Empanadas

Prawns Quinotto and Arroz Con Mariscos for the mains.  My personal favorite from our Samba dinner is the Prawn Quinoa Risotto, or the Prawns Quinotto –  quinoa in creamy seafood broth with peppered prawns, topped with baby rockets and chunks of white cheese. Delish!
Akin with the Spanish seafood paella, Arroz Con Mariscos is creamier, more citrusy in taste and uses long grain rice. Also had the Anticucho de Pulpo – skewered octopus in a spicy rub. Buurp!

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Prawns Quinotto

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Arroz Con Mariscos

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Anticucho de Pulpo

Sampling Peruvian food for the first time, I noted some homespun flavors in the seafood dishes, but very distinguishably made with a more natural and organic vim. The beef tenderloin empanadas and conchas ala parmesana are very similar with the local empanadas and our all-time fave baked scallops, which we Filipinos already love ever since. Not to mention, the Arroz Con Mariscos which is very much alike with the Spanish paella. Definetely had a luscious dinner at Samba, and I truly appreciate Peruvian food now and can’t wait to explore more of the authentic Peruvian fare. See you soon(est), Samba!

Samba is at Shangri-La at The Fort, 30th Street, corner 5th Ave, Taguig, 1634 Metro Manila. For inquiries and reservations, call (63) (32) 820 8888.

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