I arrived at Pakta while the prep for the evenings dinner service was going on since I was meeting Albert before he began his evening which includes a mad dash between his four restaurants in a few block area with Pakta being the farthest from the rest. Pakta means “union” in the Quechua language of Peru and is a reference to the meeting of Peruvian and Japanese cuisines at this Nikkei restaurant. Like a genie Albert appears at each restaurant several times during the evening and it is probably the secret to his staying in shape. After our conversation which will follow in Part 3 he went off to change into his chef attire and begin his rounds. Nothing escapes his attention and he is tasting and tweaking things, chatting with guests and fans wanting to take pictures and sign books (his Natura cookbook is available at Tickets) and the menus.
I don’t rate or write about food just savor and enjoy the moment and at Pakta I enjoyed the tasting menu and seeing all the familiar faces like Matilde the pastry chef, who was previously in charge of the little ice cream cart with a bell that signals dessert at Tickets, and Kyoko Li, the Japanese chef who, along with Jorge Munoz and Sebastian Mazzola, was at 41 Experience on my previous visit. Of course I popped into the kitchen a few times to see all the action. I have now begun to share pictures of food after a few months of tasting in my attempt to let the creative geniuses in the kitchen keep their food their own before it is copied in other kitchens.
The Machu Picchu menu which we enjoyed over several hours was beautiful in concept, taste and presentation. Pakta has a simple facade and the cozy restaurant has decor with both Japanese and Peruvian touches. Multi-colored yarns strung along the walls and ceiling to resemble looms from Peru provide a innovative backdrop to the wood tables and seats. The star of the decor is the food and once the 20 or so courses start appearing everything else fades away. The Pisco sours and the sake cocktails have the creative Adria stamp.