PLATE WITH A VIEW: Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge Peru
Saturday 12 February 2005
Just seconds from the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu, the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge boasts not one but two restaurants with a view. In the Tampu restaurant, the starters include carpaccio of alpaca accompanied by a gooseberry chutney, and "ceviche" - white fish marinated in lime juice that is considered to be Peru's national dish. For a main course, try Urubamba kingfish skewers in a chickpea escabeche, served with Peruvian tree tomatoes and green corn cider. The highlights, though, are the desserts, which include camomile parfait with caramelised pears and a frozen curd souffle with a thyme and whisky sauce.
You can just see the outer walls of the ruins but it's the brooding Urubamba mountain range that captures the eye. Think Lord of the Rings and the Crack of Doom. Several hundred metres below is the mighty Urubamba river and, above that, a thick layer of cloud forest hiding countless species of rare orchids. As the mist rolls down over the craggy peaks, you can't help but think of the mysterious mountain gods whom the Andean people still venerate. When you're done drinking in this panoramic vision, head for the terrace by the entrance to the World Heritage Site to admire Wayna Picchu, Machu Picchu's sister mountain, in all its unearthly glory. Clambering up its sheer cliff face is a sure-fire way to work off lunch, as well as a chance to marvel at one of the planet's greatest wonders.
The buffet lunch is served daily from 11.30am to 3pm and costs $24 (pounds 12.60) per person.
Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge (00 51 84 21 1039; www.orient-express.com), Carretera Hiram Bingham Km 7.50, Monumento Arquelogico de Machu Picchu, Peru
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