Chilli Pepper, Dublin review: A magical fusion of flavours comes to one of the city’s coolest food markets

Deliciously fresh Peruvian food has influences from China, Japan, Africa, Italy, Spain and the Incas

Chilli Pepper
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Address: Merrion Square, Dublin 2
Telephone: N/A
Cuisine: Peruvian
Cost: €€

What’s on offer?

On his day off chef Michelangelo Dalla Pieta and his partner, Rochi De Las Casas, pitch their Peruvian food truck at the splendid Merrion Square food market. They see it as an opportunity to introduce Irish people to traditional Peruvian food, a cuisine that takes influences from China, Japan, Africa, Italy, Spain and the Incas of Peru. The short menu is chalked on a board and typically includes two types of ceviche, the Peruvian marinated fish dish that traditionally is only eaten at lunchtime. There are also stews and a Peruvian croquette with mashed potato and beef.

What did we order?

Ceviche; tamal (steamed, stuffed cornmeal dough); and aji de gallina (chicken stew with rice).

How was the service?

Efficient and friendly, if you have any questions, they’re happy to chat. You place your order and wait for it to be called.

Was the food nice?

The ceviche is made using tilapia, a firm freshwater fish, that has been cubed and briefly marinated in “leche de tigre”, a creamy blend of lime, onion, coriander, ginger, garlic, salt, pepper, red chilli and celery, with a little bit of fish. It is deliciously fresh, and a generous portion served with plantain chips and boiled sweet potatoes. The tamal (which may have originated in Mexico as tamalli means “wrapped”), is a dough made from cornmeal that has been stuffed with small pieces of sautéed pork, onion and garlic and steamed in a banana leaf. The banana leaf has been removed before serving. It is a thick dough, designed to fill you up for the day. For the stew, pulled chicken mixed in a creamy sauce is served with rice. The sauce, which has crushed pecan nuts, is almost the texture of korma, with a light flavour of Parmesan coming through.


What about the packaging?

All packaging is recyclable – brown cardboard boxes and paper bags.

What did it cost?

€34.50 for lunch for three people – ceviche, €12.50; tamal, €9.50; aji de gallina, €12.50.

Where does it deliver?

There is no delivery. Chilli Pepper operates exclusively at the Merrion Square Market every Thursday from noon to 2.30pm.

Would I order it again?

Yes. The ceviche is delicious at lunchtime on a sunny day.

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave

Corinna Hardgrave, a contributor to The Irish Times, writes a weekly restaurant column