By Claire Sturm
If you are in the mood for something a little different than bryndzove halusky, Casa Inka is the place to go for a little trip to South America, and Peru in particular. This restaurant offers only a few of the varied Peruvian dishes but the selection, reflecting the country's Indian, Chinese, and Spanish influences as well as its geographical variety (the Pacific coast, the jungle, and the Andes), is well worth a stop.
You can begin with a typical pisco sour, the Peruvian national cocktail, or with 100% agave tequila from Mexico. For soup, the Peruvian chefs offer chupe de camarones, a creamy and hearty soup with shrimp, vegetables, an egg, and potatoes, with a slight spiciness. Other appetizers include the causa, a potato dumpling served with avocado, chicken or tuna, decorated with a slice of hard boiled egg and a black olive, the ensalada de palta (avocado salad), and ceviche, marinated fish with onions and vegetables. Don't miss the yucca con huancaina, the root also known as kassava or manioc in other parts of the world, served with two sauces, one spicy, and one more friendly for the Slovak taste-buds. Apparently, Casa Inka is the only Bratislava restaurant to serve yucca.
Entrees include fish and seafood dishes, not all that common in restaurants of a land-locked country, and on Wednesdays and Fridays, the Peruvian cooks offer chicharron, fried dough-covered chicken, beef or fish, as individual dishes or samplers. Anticuchos are kebabs of delicious beef or chicken (traditionally, beef heart, but chicken breast is an option here), marinated to just enough spiciness for you to order another pisco sour or a glass of freshly squeezed lemonade. Other beef dishes are served with sides of rice, white or in a kind of risotto, or with a coriander sauce with beans. Vegetarian customers will have to choose from the pasta dishes that have both Peruvian and Chinese influences.
The portions are very generous (400 grams of meat), but if desert is tempting you, don't hesitate to try the fried plantains, served simply with warm honey and a little whipped cream, though there are more run-of-the-mill desserts to opt from: ice cream, fresh fruit, or a Peruvian type of flan.
Casa Inka's setting is sober and modern with large iconic photos of Peru, but the place is warmed up by Latino music, attentive English-speaking staff, including Carlos, the owner, who often pops in and greets customers to ensure everything is fine, as well as helping them elucidate items on the menu. There is also a kids' table and menu options for the younger customers. Check the website and the Facebook group for special events, such as Latino dance parties and Mexican tequila sampling with tacos especially prepared for the occasion.
Slight pesky detail: the blender operated by the waiters to make juices and cocktails is located just behind the bar, too close to the customers, leading the decibels to peak at unexpected moment, almost drowning any conversation.
Casa Inka is open from 11 a.m. until midnight every day, but the kitchen closes at 9:00 p.m. It is located at Jegeho 12, click here to see that on a map of Bratislava. Their phone number is +421911756058. An appetizer, a main course, and a desert cost, on average |13| - |15|.
Some sample prices at Casa Inka include pisco sour: |3.99|; lemonade: |1.49|; beer: |1.29|; tequila: |4.00| to |5.19|; soup: chupe de camarones: |4.30|; Starters: between |2.30| and |2.60|; ceviche: |8.00|; other seafood dishes: |8.00| to |10.00|; chicharron: |7.00|; other meat dishes: all under |10.00|; dessert: fried plantains: |2.40|; all others |2.40| or under.
To get to Casa Inka from the center by public transportation take 205 or 212 to stop Zimny Stadion (about 10 minutes) and it will be a 3 minute walk from there. The restaurant is a 5-7 minute taxi ride from the city center or about 30 minutes walking.
Click on the link to find a map and directions to Casa Inka in Bratislava in our list of popular venues around town.
Claire Sturm grew up with recipes from Mexico, Germany, and France, sometimes in the same meal. She gradually learned that it's not necessarily the geographical origin that determines how good food is, rather the quality of the products and the honesty and care in preparation that are the key to flavourful, satisfying food.
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