Breaking the Rules at Brunch

The concept of brunch is simple and brilliant. Combine two equally important meals for a hybrid that involves lots of booze and easygoing vibes (all of which usually happen during the weekend.) I’d like to think the whole thing was built around breaking the rules and I happen to really dig that. As so, when I heard the Peruvian hot spot, Divino Ceviche, was kicking off brunch at their Coral Gables location, I rejoiced with Sunday Funday glee and was curious to see what a Peruvian style brunch would look like.

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On a rainy Sunday, I headed to Divino Ceviche for some brunch sunshine that welcomed us with pisco sours and mimosas. I loved the pisco sour option since it gave the brunch the perfect touch of authenticity. The drink’s name comes from pisco, which is its base liquor, and the cocktail term sour, in reference to sour citrus juice and sweetener components. The Peruvian pisco sour uses Peruvian pisco as the base liquor and adds key lime (or lemon) juice, syrup, ice, egg white, and Angostura bitters. I hate to say this, but the piscos for brunch beat the traditional mimosa any day.

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Lomito Saltado with Huevos Fritos was the first dish to complement the delicious pisco sours. This plate was a play on the beloved Peruvian stir-fry dish, made with beef, onions, tomatoes, cilantro, soy sauce and garlic. To add the brunch spin, the dish was served with potatoes and eggs helping to highlight the breakfast flavors we all desire during a brunch outing.

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Next up was one of the most memorable dishes. The Chicken and Peruvian Waffles with panko breaded chicken and sweet potatoes and squash waffles – all deliciously adorned with homemade syrup. A complete diversion from the chicken and waffles we’ve learned to love and indulge in during brunch. In fact, I’d take this version over the traditional favorite any day. The unexpected  sweet potato component helped to add an almost honeyed flavored that left us salivating for more.

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Although it took a bit to get past the perfection of the chicken and waffles, we also tried the Huevos Peruanos; a dish with nicely cooked poached eggs with chorizo and tomatoes served with huancaina sauce (a spicy, creamy sauce.) Although I would rarely venture to order poached eggs (not exactly my thing) these were very well made and I thoroughly enjoyed the dish that I would have otherwise completely overlooked.

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Last on our bold brunch was the Butifarra dish. Freshly baked bread filled with slices of savory pork ham (known as “jamon del pais” – ham of the country) and Peruvian salsa criolla. For those in search of a more fulfilling dish that tends to sway to the lunch meal (and skips the eggs) this is the dish to order. A wholesome sandwich with layers of pork that is reminiscent of the Cuban sandwiches Miami natives enjoy so much. The butifarra Peruvian dish is sure to win the hearts of sandwich lovers and leave you very fulfilled.

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As for ceviche? Yes, that’s available too! In fact you can enjoy “all you can eat” ceviche on Sundays at Divino Ceviche from 11:30AM – 4:00PM. Add to that “all you can drink” for a mere $19.99 and you’ve got yourself a hell of Sunday.

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Mel’s Take: When I traveled to Peru last summer for a business trip I did everything in my power to extend the trek. The place is magical and the food has a lot to do with that. If we have restaurants that are trying to bring a piece of that magic to Miami, I’m all in. Divino Ceviche is doing a great job and their unorthodox spin on the American tradition of brunch is totally worth checking out.

Standout Dish: The waffles. It’s the kind of signature dish you come back to a restaurant for. The sweet potatoes really helped to bring this dish together and the squash gave it a buttery flavor that you just don’t get with the traditional rendition. This is the sort of dish that makes you want to venture to experience an adventurous brunch and I’ll totally come back if just for this one dish!

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