When owners Pierre Guillet, Jaffer Shahryar and Maja Bernau met at the prestigious Ecole Hôtelière de Lausanne (EHL) hospitality school in Switzerland in 2013, they knew they wanted to create an out-of-the-ordinary dining experience somewhere, sometime… Fast-forward seven years to Cape Town, 2019, and the trio have manifested their dream in the form of a chic double-volume Japanese-Peruvian restaurant on Loop Street.
Maaya is housed in a turquoise-painted heritage building. Downstairs is an ode to nature, with a double-volume plant wall that forms the backdrop for plush velvet booths. Upstairs, the vibe takes a moody turn, with dim lighting, cool neon signs and 150-year-old exposed brick walls, setting the tone for late-evening cocktails.
Pierre describes the menu as a coming-together of Peruvian and Japanese styles and flavours – the common ground being fresh fish, served raw. For starters, expect an array of seafood options, such as seared tuna sashimi, salmon mango tartare and octopus rock shrimp – the latter of which was well-prepared and delicious.
The four main courses cover the taste-bud spectrum with seabass ceviche, orange-glazed chicken, a mushroom burger and teriyaki-glazed seabass. Naturally, sushi has a starring role – but here it’s been given an American twist. Purists, proceed with caution! The Trust Me roll (marinated salmon, avo and mango, topped with caramelised salmon) is divine – you can trust us on that one!
Maaya is also open for breakfast – we’ll definitely return for the Where Is The Avo Toast: poached or scrambled egg with blistered bok choy, micro sprouts, wild berries and poppy seeds. And the Peruvian croissant, which sounds intriguing.
Dining with a vegan? There are loads of vegan and vegetarian options available throughout the menu.
Go on, take your taste buds on a fun ride, and step into the turquoise side.
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