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Mar 18, 2010 05:53 PM

Peruvian on the west side of Vancouver? Be still mi corazon.

I'm trying not to get too excited about a little find I made on my way back to the office this afty. Nearly missed it but a wee sandwich board tipped me off to a new "cafe" at 1696 West 5th. Hmm, I thought, new place for lunch sarnies, perhaps? Imagine my delight when I poked my nose inside to discover that it is called Mochikas and is going to have Peruvian dishes on the weekends!

They are open 7 days from approx 10-5 (12 on Sun IIRC) so lunch only. During the week, there will be sandwiches, wraps, salady things (with one or two items showcasing Peruvian-style chicken). On Sat and Sun, they will be offering such delicacies as arroz con pato (braised duck with cilantro rice), aji de gallina (shredded chicken in yellow pepper sauce with rice), papa a la huancayna (potatoes with fresh cheese and yellow pepper sauce), ocopa (more spuds, this time with a Peruvian herb and cheese sauce), causa (spiced mashed potatoes with chicken and shrimp served with black olive sauce and hot pepper sauce), anticuchos (bbq beef heart skewers), tiraditos (snapper ceviche Peruvian style done a couple of different ways), yucca frita (deep fried cassava) and a couple of desserts one of which is so attractively named I may have to try it: tocino al cielo (bacon of the sky, roughly).

This list is taken from their grand opening menu so some things may change/be deleted as they get underway. The owner will be in on the weekend, I am told. I am keen to see what is on offer as the next nearest Peruvian that I am aware of is way out in darkest Burnaby. So swing by if you're in the neighbourhood but maybe call first to see what is on the menu...

1696 West 5th Avenue (inside the car detailling store)
(604) 739 PERU (7378)

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  1. That's the weirdest location I could ever imagine, a sandwich shop to service nearby businesses I can see but that hood is dead as a doornail on weekends.

    Thanks for the info though.

    3 Replies
    1. re: Sam Salmon

      Wow, that is a crazy location. I just walked by there and didn't notice it so it better be a heck of a destination spot. Maybe really, really good Peruvian fried chicken?

        1. re: fmed

          Well, if the crispy critter's good enough for Jesus and the Apostles, according to the painting in Cuzco's cathedral, it's good enough for all of us. Here endth the lesson.

    2. Can't wait to try this place out. Don't think there's been any exclusively Peruvian place since Mirasol. El Inka Deli in bby is alright.

      15 Replies
        1. re: el_lobo_solo

          I saw that blog post too, els but I think it has actually been open a couple weeks, leastways that's what the staffer told me. I believe Mirasol was indeed the last full-on Peruvian in town and that has been gone for ages (used to be where Toshi's is now, right?). El Inka was the one I was thinking of in Burnaby but it is a schlep.

          And you can't see Mochika at all from the outside, eatrustic, there's just the tiny sandwich board as a hint, which I surmise would be taken inside after hours. I too wondered about how much business they will get on the weekends, sam. I used to trundle down to more or less this corner fairly frequently to hit the old Que Pasa retail outlet but that was only on weekdays when I was at work.

          I'm hoping to try it out for lunch this weekend -- anyone who's interested drop me an email from my profile :-).

          1. re: grayelf

            Me, the SO, twinkienic and her SO all tried Mochika today, albeit separately. Will post details later as I am now off to Cobre for bday dinner #1 (today is apparently Latin America day for me -- woohoo). For now, a solid choice for comforting but nuanced Peruvian. They have about half a dozen items on the go at the moment and today the standout for us was the chicken though there were no duds.

            Cobre Restaurants
            52 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1E7, CA

            1. re: grayelf

              Looking forward to reading your reviews of all your B-day jaunts!!! How lucky we are that you have a few going on!!!

              1. re: grayelf

                Mochikas Peruvian added to database.

                Mochikas Peruvian Cafe
                1696 W 5th Ave, Vancouver, BC V6J 1N8, CA

                1. re: rosetown

                  Thanks to a friend who was running late I had time on my hands and stopped in for lunch. A good thing as I hadn't paid close enough attention (from the original post) to the fact that the weekend is where the full on Peruvian menu is, so I got lucky by stopping in today.
                  I took the $20/3 course menu (one from each section of the regular menu).
                  Started with the Ceviche in Red Pepper Sauce (they also have a version with Yellow Pepper sauce) after being told they had subbed fresh Halibut for the Snapper. Nice presentation, lightly spicy and a decent portion (they gave me a sample of the Yellow Pepper sauce and I liked that one even more).
                  Main course was the Pollo a la Brasa which is the Peruvian version of great tangy spit roasted chicken served with rice and a nice fresh green salad.
                  Dessert was a really good Torta de Tres Leches.
                  Everything was fresh, well prepared and very tasty. I leave it to those more familiar with Peruvian to say how close the seasoning was but I'll go back based on the quality of the food served.
                  The space is small and very clean. Cash only for the moment.
                  Next time I'll definitely try the Braised Duck if they keep it on the menu.

                  During the week the menu is more conventional but the chicken wrap is made with the same spit roasted chicken so I'll be stopping by in a couple of days!

                  1. re: eatrustic

                    Thanks for the report eatrustic. Did the pollo a la brasa come with chimichurri? I got hooked onto that tangy sauce down in Peru. Did you also happen to sneak a peek at the drinks? I'm hoping for some chicha morada (the purple corn drink).

                    1. re: el_lobo_solo

                      Yes the chicken came with chimichurri, next time I'll ask for a big side of it as it was delicious!
                      I did check out the drinks but all I saw of interest was Inca Cola (sadly the individual size was lo-cal so I passed although the family size is the regular version).
                      I'm sure they'll start serving chicha morada once they get up to speed.
                      Too bad they're not open later on say a Saturday night if the full Peruvian menu is only available on weekends -for the time being they close at 6:00.

                      1. re: eatrustic

                        Awesome. Do you know if the chimichurri was the greenish parsley or the oil-vinegar-spices version? It's great to see this condiment at another location than the occasional showings at Chambar and Cobre.

                    2. re: eatrustic

                      Is this Mochikas, eatrustic? We stopped by for lunch on Saturday but they didn't mention a $20 3-course menu. Thanks for the tip!

                      Will try to get some pics from our meal up soon.

                      1. re: twinkienic

                        Yes, that's them. I'm ashamed I did not have my camera handy, next time. They gave me a copy of the menu to take with me although it will change weekly.
                        As the the chef said, a lot of the menu will be based on whatever is fresh that weekend. Nice to hear that old phrase at this level.

                        1. re: eatrustic

                          We got a tasting menu and I will be posting details and pix, hopefully tomorrow (due to a computer flameout at work I now have a loaner that will actually let me post photos again, huzzah). Our total was $27.50 for two, before I forget...

                          1. re: grayelf

                   reports from the only two days of the week we can get Peruvian? I was out of town all weekend otherwise I would have been there.
                            I did stop in during the week to see what they had and really it's a different place.
                            The two kinds of panini they carried had nothing to do with Peruvian ingredients.
                            I noticed that they at least sell the chicha morada syrup to make the drink (even though they don't make the drink to sell).

                            1. re: eatrustic

                              Sorry eatrustic -- my computer died the next day and I still haven't got it back from the morgue :-). Haven't forgotten though. May even go back this weekend if they are open...

          2. - good to hear about this place. really looking forward to trying it out. remember the restaurant @ main & 16- th? - missed it, then it was closed.
            - back in the early 90's- a budget meat store on powell near jackson carried frozen chinchilla meat for a brief period.

            6 Replies
            1. re: slugsunderfoot

              I managed to squeeze in a visit Easter Sunday. From 4th I would have sworn they were closed and I almost headed to G.I. but thought I'd just make sure and they were actually open.

              Easter meant an all fish/seafood menu along with the vegetarian items like Yuca Frita.
              I had an Easter dinner waiting so couldn't go for much but I ordered the Chupe de Camarones (a really hearty prawn based soup with a creamy yellow, slightly spicy broth and big chunks of squash, potatoes, rice and peas). For $14. it was a reasonable price for the quantity of prawns (at least a dozen) although they were definitely on the mushy side and with the shells on it was messy getting the flesh out.
              Other items on the menu:
              Causa -Peruvian spiced mashed potatoes layered with shrimp and tuna
              Ceviches - two kinds as usual
              Pescado Frito a la Macha - fried fish, in a creamy tomato, onion , red pepper, cilantro and Aji Panca sauce and another version called Pescado Chorillana

              I suggested that they put their sign out on the sidewalk as it was really hard to tell if they were open with the two layers of tinted glass and the owner said he had a sign in the works but that he was sending the word out on his facebook page and he is more than happy with the business he's getting that way. Good to hear.

              Just to clarify during the week. They are serving the Peruvian roast chicken plate as well as one wrap with the Peruvian spiced chicken. The rest is B-flat every day fare.

              1. re: eatrustic

                mmmm...All sounds good. Looks like their menu is more extensive than El Inka. Did the ceviche come with choclo (Andean corn kernels)? I liked the texture choclo gives to a ceviche dish.

                1. re: el_lobo_solo

                  It's been a couple of weeks since I had the ceviche but I think there were corn kernels (whether they were Andean I couldn't say). I forgot to mention that there were definitely corn kernels in the Chupe de Camarones.

                  1. re: eatrustic

                    They're open till 7 pm on the weekends now! And they're listing the weekly menu here

                    1. re: grayelf

                      Thanks for the link. It's just a couple blocks from my sisters so am excited to try it when I'm back in June.

                      1. re: grayelf

                        Thanks for this, grayelf (and the updated Dim Sum carts info).

              2. I remember Mirasol had some good grilled beef hearts on a stick (anticuchos) :-)

                This location (Pine & 5th) is primo ! Leslie Stowe's is right there. Que Pasa (the deli and factory) used to be on the opposite end of this block, next to The Lazy Gourmet.

                Slightly OT ..... anyone remember that Peruvian (or was it Chilean) place on Dunbar @ 29th (strip mall, where the Subway is now) back in the early 90s ?

                8 Replies
                1. re: LotusRapper

                  Not so sure I'd call the location primo. If Lesley Stowe had a retail outlet and Que Pasa was still up the street then maybe. (The best local neighbour they have is Elysian Room a block away.)
                  They have to be a destination business in that area and luckily they are. Good news that they're now open until 7:00 - that makes more sense.

                  Elysian Room
                  1778 W 5th, Vancouver, BC V6J1P2, CA

                  1. re: eatrustic

                    Just realized I never did post any pix so here are a few: the yucca, the two kinds of cold potato, the duck breast, the chicken and the ceviche. The only thing I wouldn't order again was the yucca -- they use a really small deep fryer which maybe doesn't get hot enough.

                    1. re: grayelf

                      One interesting development for that 'hood-long time marine chandlery Steveston Marine and Hardware is moving in across the street (mid block).

                      In season that store does a roaring trade to a flush clientele maybe if the Peruvians put a real neon sign up they could attract some passersby.

                      EDIT-Note that Steveston Marine does sell some kitchenware mainly for cooking aboard boats but you never know what you'll find, last I was in they had some of those Smoker Bags and books on cooking seafood too.

                      1. re: grayelf

                        I stopped by for lunch on Wednesday and they have added a few more Peruvian items during the week. Empanadas and a little sandwich (actually more like a bunwich) made with what they call ham but is actually a spiced and roasted pork loin.
                        The price is right $4.50 plus a beverage if I recall but you would need two to make it a lunch. I actually ordered the wrap made with their special roast chicken and the little pork sandwich.
                        The chicken in the wrap was nice but the overall wrap (with rice inside) was lacking until I got a hold of the excellent freshly made spicy salsa verde in a big squeeze container and poured it all over - delicious. (Although I nearly blinded myself when I gave the tube a light squeeze to smell the salsa and a big blob clogging the tip came shooting out and shot peppers and vinaigar into my eye!! (Ha! That'll teach me to play with a loaded weapon.)

                        1. re: eatrustic

                          That sandwich sounds good -- I saw a pic of it elsewhere and wondered if it was really that little; I guess it is. And your story about the squeeze bottle so could have been me. Hope there are no ophthalmological sequelae ;-).

                          1. re: grayelf

                            The sandwich is good but like the wrap there is a need for a kick of that salsa otherwise it just seems to be missing something.
                            As for my eye, although I was seriously worried for a moment I was laughing at the ridiculousness of the scenario and so was the sister of the chef once I explained what I had done.

                            1. re: eatrustic

                              Arrived with a thud in the 21st century as I learned how to use paypal and signed up for twitter today. This is only relevant to this thread inasmuch as I came across a tweet from ethniceats on Sept 10 raving about a chicharron sando at Mochika's. The August menu is still posted on the website so it must be new, or on the lunch menu during the week? Anyone tried??

                              PS I note they are now open Thurs to Sat for dinner till 8 pm.

                              1. re: grayelf

                                Have only been once but the food (not Chicharron) was good-not outstanding but that may be what I ordered.

                                Am looking forward to returning in any case-Staff were friendly/funny and low key-much like m'self in fact (!)