COCONUTS HOT SPOT — Let’s be honest; there are just way too many Japanese and Korean restaurants around town. Those searching for something new beyond the thousands of ramen bowls and sashimi platters should look no further than DUO Galleria in Bugis, where new Peruvian cuisine joint TONO Cevicheria just salsa-ed into town.
What is a cevicheria, you ask? It’s basically a joint that specializes in and serves the popular seafood dish, ceviche — fresh raw fish cured in citrus juices, spiced up with chili peppers, and seasoned with onions, salt, pepper and various herbs. It’s a strong part of Peru’s national heritage — the country even has a holiday in its honor — and TONO Cevicheria is where Singapore can have a proper taste of the beloved dish.
No thin slices of fish here; it’s all about the chunks, son. TONO’s Clasico ($25) is a medley of fresh, thick cuts of fish combined with thinly sliced onions, sweet potato, lettuce, coriander, chilli, and Tiger’s Milk — a creamy marinade that’s a mix of seafood run-off, fish stock, garlic, and lime juice. Those wanting a bit more crunch in their ceviche can try the Tono ($28), a spicier, smokier iteration topped with crispy baby calamari. For lovers of tuna, the Yellow Pituco ($24) should be right up your alley with thinly sliced raw yellowfin tuna dressed in chilli vinaigrette and served with radish, red and white quinoa and house-made plantain chips.
But of course, ceviches aren’t the only entrées. Other Peruvian classics such as the spicy, crispy Chicarron ($28, pork belly with white sauce), the delicate Pulpo al Olivo ($28, sliced sous-vide octopus with black olive mayo and chimichurri) and the Escabeche ($22, grilled chicken and chicken mayo with potato mash) will have you crying “dios mío” for days.
For those wanting heartier Peruvian specialties, there’s the Lomo Saltado ($40, stir-fried beef with onion, tomatoes and crispy potatoes) and the Aguadito ($28, coriander and cumin soup with crispy fish, chicken, long grain rice and pumpkin).
The Peruvian party in your stomach doesn’t end there. Peruvian household desserts such as the Combinado ($12, vanilla rice pudding and purple corn) and the Tres Leches ($12, coconut cake with vanilla cream and pineapple and passionfruit compote) should serve as a sticky, sweet ending to the feast.
Peruvian cocktails are must-have components alongside the meal to complete the authentic dining experience. Peru’s national cocktail — the Pisco Sour ($15) — is made thick with pisco, lime, egg white and Angostura bitters, while the Chicano ($14) is a lighter option with pisco, ginger ale, lime and Amargo bitters. Various white wine and red wine are available by the glass as well.
There’s a Peruvian phrase “¡Como Cancha!!”, which literally translates to “just like toasted corn!” — a phrase usually used to describe an excessive amount of any particular thing (because the appearance of many corn kernels lends the image of abundance). It’s a perfect exclamation that aptly represents the authentic lavishness of TONO Cevicheria — an abundance of Peruvian goodness, and that’s never a bad thing.
TONO Cevicheria is at Duo Galleria, 7 Fraser Street, #01-49/50, 6702 7320. Open Monday to Friday, 12PM-2.30PM, 6PM-10PM; Saturday 6PM-10PM; closed Sunday