Peruvian food has taken London by storm offering an abundance of flavour, colour and new ingredients not often used by most of us at home. This exciting new cuisine has started popping up all over the city, our latest list checks out the best ones to go to.
When Virgilio Martinez, chef patron of Central in Lima, Peru, ranked number 15 on San Pellegrino’s 50 Best Restaurants in the World, brings a restaurant to London, you know its going to be a good thing. The main restaurant has 60 covers and serves a menu put together by Virgilio and Head Chef Robert Ortiz. Here they showcase some rare native vegetables, fruits and fish from remote places in the Amazon basin and the Andes altitudes which push the diner along to discover and taste new flavours. The ‘Pisco Bar’ has a menu made up of essentially Peruvian tapas, finger food that is shared. Paired alongside an extensive cocktail list with lots of Pisco and yet more native ingredients. The A La Carte Menu includes Seam Bream Ceviche, Andean Sucking Pig and Fillet Pachamanca while the Pisco Bar Menu includes Cauliflower and Foie Grass Cornetto and King Crab Brioche Bun.
With signature dishes like seabass ceviche with samphire and radish or crispy lamb belly with jalapeno miso, it’s no surprise that Pachamama has come onto the Peruvian scene, stirred it around and left the others shaking in their boots. Brining an element of the unusual to the streets of Marylebone, Head Chef Adam Rawson has put together a series of dishes designed to share but that changes with the seasons. Recently just opened for brunch, their early weekend menu features Peruvian baked eggs, beef short-rib porridge and quinoa waffles with Gloucester bacon and yacon syrup.
Having just opened up a second branch in Old Street, Ceviche is continuing to produce tasty snippets of Peruvian cuisine at really reasonable prices and in a fun relaxed atmosphere. Their Ceviche is prepared freshly at their Ceviche Bar on show to diners and like their competitors; their Pisco Bar features a drinks menu with infusions galore that smacks you round the face with flavour. The Drunk Scallops are not to be missed nor is the Corazon Mio; beef heart marinated in panca chilli with choclo corn and rocoto chilli cream.
Another restaurant by Martin Morales, Andina describes itself as a modern Picanteria, which is an all-day pioneering restaurant serving healthy food and drinks inspired by the Peruvian Andes. Their juice bar opens at 8am serving own blend Peruvian coffee, juices and smoothies aswell as healthy breakfast cups. As well as featuring a Ceviche bar, on weekdays for £9 you can choose two dishes from the day’s specials including Quinoa Burger, Chicken Skewers and Sacha Inchi Green Beans. Also, on the first Wednesday of every month at 6pm you can pop along for a Pisco Sour Masterclass with their bar manager Migel Arbe. For £55 on the third Wednesday of every month you can take part in a ceviche masterclass, the price includes all ingredients as well as a pisco sour cocktail.
A visit to coya is a night out in itself, their Pisco Bar specializes in bespoke pisco infusions unique to Coya and boasts over 40 tequilas with an extensive rum list. The drinks are complimented with music from either bands or DJ’s exploring Latin American culture which gives great ambiance and a fantastic start or end to your meal. The main dining room overlooks an open charcoal grill and serves up dishes including Ox heart with Aji rocotto parsley and Lamb chops with crushed aubergines. On Sundays a Champagne Brunch is available form £59 a head, where you can choose from slow roasted pulled pork, Chilean seabass, or a lobster, chimichurri, cucumber and avocado salad.
Offering a much more chilled out and relaxed vibe compared to some of the other Peruvain restaurants on the list, Senor Ceviche is based on the colonial and bohemian district of Lima, Barranco. Its downtown Lima in Londons Soho and is perfectly suitable for small bites at lunch, big groups for celebrating at dinner, or just to pop in for a drink after work. The food is brought out when its ready, the design of the interiors is fairly stripped back and their ethos is all about having a good time. The food includes cassava croquettes with aji panca sour cream, stone bass with miso, mirin brown sugar and fennel salad, and passion fruit possett.
Starting as a small market stall in Camden, Tierra Peru showcases Peruvian food with a modern twist bringing an exciting blend to Essex Road. Perhaps the least well known of Peruvian restaurants in London it brings a pretty good fight to the table. Starters include panko battered octopus with fried cassava, salsa criolla and wasabi mayo or marinated raw white fish with tigers milk, black botija olive cream. The braised duck leg comes with stout and cilantro based risotto with a salsa criolla and the spicy seafood stew with pan fried rice and bean tortilla. The décor is understated and relaxed, while the food is punchy and the menu offers a real selection of Peruvian cuisine.
Amaru, which translates as ‘fertility’ in Peruvian and ‘abundance’ in Japanese is a new restaurant with the brain force from co owner Bal Thind, the original investor in Hakkasan and Yautcha. It is back with a smaller site this time over at St Katherines Docks with a restaurant called Amaru. It’s another blend of Japanese and Peruvian so you can expect the usual offerings of sushi and ceviche. Offering mainly take- away dishes and juices, there is also seating for 15 as well as street side eating then the weather looks up. The interior design is reminiscent of an ‘izakaya’ (a Japanese gastropub) and features a wall of living moss at the back of the room. Signature dishes include prawn ceviche with coconut, mango, rocoto pepper and red onion, and a toasted sesame crusted tuna.
Not resting on just one cuisine, Chotto Matte blends together a mix of Peruvian and Japanese food, or Nikkei. It’s a glamorous establishment in the heart of Soho with an upbeat vibrant bar with dim lights and loud music, at the rear of the venue sits the restaurant, adorned by a huge mural injecting the colour in. Their menu includes four cooking sections; the sushi bar, barbecue, sautee and tempura which results in an extensive list of small plates designed to be shared. Dishes not to be missed are the warm beef fillet tataki, the seabass yellow chilli and anything from the Nikkei Barbecue.