The Peruvian food revolution has hit London, New York and Hong Kong. Finally, Singapore has a Peruvian cevicheria to call its own with the opening of Tono.
Chef-owner Daniel Chavez, who’s also the man behind Ola Cocina del Mar, confesses that he’s always wanted to bring a slice of his culture to Singapore. “In Peru, ceviche is something we eat by the beach with a beer. When I came to Singapore ten years ago, I thought it would be the perfect place for a cevicheria.” Chavez named the place Tono, which is a Peruvian slang for “party”, as he wants it to imbibe the spirit of a true cevicheria.
We also speak with Tono's executive chef, Mario Malvaez, about what diners can expect, and the dishes his recommends.
Men In Charge
Chef Mario Malvaez may be Mexican, but he is Peruvian at heart, as evidenced by his love for its cuisine, in particular the ceviche (marinated raw fish or seafood). After spending nine years in Asia and discovering its multitude of flavours, he now helms the authentic cevicheria as its executive chef.
“I’m excited for people in Singapore and Asia to try the interesting dishes we have to offer,” Malvaez says.
Peruvian cuisine is informed by Japanese, Chinese and Spanish cultures, and these influences shine through in a dish featuring Nikkei salmon and prawns. The seafood is marinated in a mixture of citrus juices, onions and chilli, creating a refreshing dish. It’s served bathed in a tangy broth known as Leche de Tigre or Tiger’s Milk; as its name implies, this one is infused with soy and mirin for that Japanese touch, and is best enjoyed with a beer or Tono’s pisco sour.
Time To Share
The pulpo al olivo is a type of ceviche that was created over 70 years ago. Today, the star protein, octopus tentacles, are first cooked sous vide and thinly sliced like sashimi. Here, a generous portion—enough for two to share—is served on a plate and blanketed with a creamy pink dressing of mayonnaise, Nikkei vinaigrette and olive oil. It may look rich but the dish's flavours are not overwhelming, thanks to the vinegar, salsa and olives.
After the ceviche, opt for a main dish such as the Peruvian take on the paella or arroz con mariscos. Chef Malvaez uses jasmine rice, which he cooks in a flavourful fish broth and sofrito (a blend of herbs and spices) to lend the dish a subtle piquancy. It’s studded with seafood, peas, peppers and onion slices, while a sprinkling of lime juice completes the cuisine’s signature taste profile of spicy, salty and sour.
According to chef Malvaez, alfajores is a contentious dish, as other Latin American countries have their own versions of this traditional confection. His creation features cornflour base cookies shaped liked discs, which are baked. A generous dulce de leche filling is sandwiched between two crumbly and milky cookies, before they are dusted with confectioners’ sugar and served with lime-and-sugar-coated mangoes.
Tono, 01-49/50 Duo Galleria, 7 Fraser Street, 6702 7320 / 9452 1008