Maymanta by Omar Malpartida – Searching for the taste of the origins
Words: María Perez
Translation: Katy Hastings
Photography: Daniel Balda
August 3, 2023
Peruvian cuisine is experiencing a very sweet moment with the voting of the Central restaurant in Lima as Best Restaurant in the World, a position held for the first time by a Latin American country. In Ibiza, the most authentic flavours of Peru can be found in the restaurant Maymanta, whose name means “origin” in Quechua, the most personal project of the young and renowned chef Omar Malpartida. “We were one of the first 100% Peruvian restaurants on the island, the pioneers”.
Opened in 2019 on the impressive rooftop with panoramic views of the Aguas de Ibiza Grand Luxe hotel, Maymanta offers a complete gastronomic journey to Peru in which tradition, flavour and respect for the product prevail, worthy of a Sole from the Repsol Guide. The chef himself sums up his concept: “We are very gastronomic, we opt for a high quality product, we take great care of the decoration, the views… it is a whole staging and we take great care of all the details. We make Peruvian cuisine respecting its origins and using local products”. Thus, around 20-30% of the produce, especially emblematic elements such as chillies, is brought directly from Peru through the Manos Cruzadas project, an alliance between companies, importers and chefs to reduce intermediaries as much as possible and support local producers. Once in Ibiza, they try to maximise their yield. For example, the cocoa skin is used as tableware and with the leftover rocoto (Peruvian hot pepper) they make a salt.
Every season, Maymanta changes around 60% of its menu, always as a result of Malpartida’s last trip to Peru: “I go every year to see the trends, not to forget the original flavours and to see what new products I can introduce”. In 2022, 90% of the menu was based on seafood. “Now we have introduced the highlands and the Amazon jungle, a mixture of the three regions, highlands, coast and jungle, with flavours that are perhaps a little more explosive. The influence of Ibiza and summer is reflected in a menu with light dishes, with a lot of fish and seafood: “We are very close to the origin of Peru, but taking into account where we are, we use a lot of olive oil, for example”. This also defines his tasting menu, designed for sharing.
Omar recommends that visitors to Maymanta start with an oyster with aguachile and seaweed, accompanied by a glass of champagne or a pisco sour. Next, the octopus croquettes with yellow chilli and melted cheese sauce, “a dish that we haven’t been able to take off the menu because people love it”. The Causa Limeña with crab and beetroot mayonnaise is pure delicacy and exudes authenticity; like every dish, the presentation here is always spectacular. Omar also highlights the Grilled Tétano y Entraña a la Brasa, with an anticuchera sauce and aji amarillo ferment served with a brioche with garlic butter, the Lomo Saltado, a traditional Limeño dish that unites Asian and Peruvian culture, the Arroz de Pato with foie gras finished in Josper and the Costilla cooked for 12 hours at low temperature, with purple corn and a parmentier of yucca, goat’s cheese and Dijon mustard. Of course, the ceviche deserves a special mention. We tried the criollo, with sweet potato cream and squid crackling, but they also have an Amazonian version, presented on a grilled plantain leaf. Desserts include the Cacao with ice cream and chocolate mouse, roasted banana, hazelnut and milk chocolate foam, chocolate powder and fresh cocoa seed powder, and the Mágnum de lúcuma, a Peruvian fruit.
The cocktail bar is central to Maymanta. Although planned from the beginning, the Pisco Bar is the main novelty this year, a coquettish bar run by bartender Mikel Ekelun, in which Peruvian distillates predominate, such as the tall cane from Urubamba, Cusco, made at 2,400 metres above sea level, gins flavoured with fruit from the Peruvian jungle, Peruvian potato vodka, as well as 100% Peruvian whiskies, without forgetting the great protagonist: Pisco, of which they have eight different macerates with Ibizan fruits and spices. With strawberry and dragon fruit they prepare a version of the pisco sour called “El dragón naciente”; with cinnamon, aniseed and rosemary they make their version of the Negroni, called “Don Nicolás”, after Omar’s son, as it is one of the chef’s favourite cocktails; with mandarin and basil they make mojitos. They also make herbaceous ashes to give a smoky touch to their cocktails. Although they offer classic cocktails and premium distillates, the cocktail bar, in which they use all kinds of Peruvian distillates (gins, whisky, vodkas…) is designed to enhance and expand the culinary experience. Thus, “El Imperio” is a very gastronomic cocktail, based on the traditional chilcano, which awakens the taste buds to better appreciate the flavours. The “Pluscuanperfecto” is ideal to cleanse the palate, and the “Frutipichu”, pisco infused with coconut oil and banana molasses, is perfect as a dessert.
Omar Malpartida opened Kaypa two years ago in Menorca, and he also runs the kitchen at Nativo, which is committed to the island’s produce and a healthy Mediterranean cuisine with exotic touches, and where he will soon open Humo, a new rooftop restaurant focusing on smoked and grilled dishes. Between so many projects and a Michelin star that seems to be hovering over him, he seems to have found happiness at Maymanta: “I love it here because I’ve discovered the right formula. Before, in other restaurants I was always under pressure creatively, I was under constant stress. I was very involved in Michelin Star issues and I respect that a lot, it’s something that gives a lot of value to your work, but now I’m more focused on enjoying what I do. Here it is authentic Peruvian cuisine, what we know how to do, and I enjoy it because it is profitable, people love it and it is always full”.
About Ibiza, Malpartida stresses that “you can meet people and cultures of all kinds, but the energy is always very positive, the people are always in a good mood and that is contagious”. He affirms that the island is in the process of becoming a culinary destination, “People no longer come just to party, there are many great chefs”, and he highlights chefs such as Óscar Molina, or David Reartes, “he is a friend of mine and I really like what he does, he is very original, he has worked hard for the island, I like to go to his restaurant to eat, I always recommend him”. When asked about his favourite dish, he doesn’t hesitate for a moment: “Ceviche, I think almost all Peruvians will tell you the same thing. Ceviche I could eat every day.”