Hearty, authentic Latin American cuisine is the star of the new winter menu at El Cupo restaurant in The Cove dining precinct at Coast.

Designed by chefs Jason Cook and Wemerson Nunez, the menu also features more vegetarian, gluten-free and dairy-free options to ensure there is something everyone can enjoy.

Feijoada Vegetariana, a stew of beans and aromatic spices, topped with rice, salsa fresca, and slices of fresh orange

Restaurant manager Federico Jairala says that while the summer menu was based on more light, street-style meals popular during the hotter months in Latin America, winter meals are more substantial and warming, in keeping with the cold weather that is similar to the climate in New Zealand.

New to the snack section of the menu are Fritas Cargadas, (loaded fries) with Velveeta cheese sauce and chicken tinga; Traditional Ceviche, market fish cured in lime juice and tequila, spiced with chili peppers, red onion, coriander, and fire-roasted capsicum served with corn chips; and Yuca Fritas served with chimichurri and chili aioli.

Yuca (pronounced YOU-ka), also known as cassava, is a starchy root vegetable that is native to South and Central America, and the Caribbean and used quite often in Latin dishes. It is dense and full of carbs and fibre, and yuca root is packed with vitamin C and protein. 

There are three new salads on the menu: Papa a la Huancaina, a Peruvian salad consisting of agria potatoes tossed in a spicy herb cream sauce, on a bed of garden greens and topped with olives and boiled egg; Ensalada de Pallares, marinated white bean salad with tomatoes, red onion, and coriander, served on a crunchy tostada; and Chickpea & Quinoa Salad.

New winter mains include Pastel de Papa, a layered potato, slow-cooked beef, egg, and fire-roasted capsicum, gratinated with three cheeses and served with chimichurri; Milanesa a la Napolitana, panko-crumbed beef, served with Napoli sauce, three cheeses and fries; and Feijoada Vegetariana, a stew of beans and aromatic spices, topped with rice, salsa fresca, and slices of fresh orange.

Traditionally, Feijoada is a stew of beans with beef and pork but the recipe has been adapted to cater for vegetarians and vegans, Federico says.

Those with a sweet tooth have not been forgotten – new desserts to choose from include Churros served with dulce de leche (a South American sweet milk caramel sauce) and a chocolate hazelnut sauce; Pudim, a popular Brazilian take on a caramel flan/crème caramel served with whipped cream; and Alfajores, cookies found across South America filled with dulce de leche and chocolate hazelnut served with vanilla ice cream.

Visit elcupo.co.nz to see the full menu and book a table.

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