Peruvian food seems to be the new thing in London. Lima recently won a Michelin star and a handful of Peruvian influenced places have sprung up since then, including Pachamama in Marylebone which I visited a few weeks ago. You find Pachamama through a missable door off Thayer St, at the south end of Marylebone High St, and head downstairs into the light, bright, and really quite large space that Pachamama have created. The walls are decorated with flowers and a full size horse figure, and the tables by the bar sweep round the corner into a larger dining room, which has smaller, private, lounge type rooms coming off it. They serve fresh and delicious sharing dishes for lunch, and something a bit more substantial for dinner, when the lights go down and the music turns up.

We went for lunch on a Saturday and the restaurant was about half full, meaning the service was impeccable and we were very well looked after. I took the boy with me, so the restaurant also had to work around his chilli allergy, something they looked a little scared by to begin with but accommodated well - there was the odd chilli doused dish which made its way to our table, but a non chilli version was brought out each time they realised too, so the boy could enjoy the same dishes as me. As it's a sharing menu we chose 9 dishes between us. Not of course before a cocktail - the Mama's Pisco, a blend of Pisco (South American brandy), fresh raspberry, mint and orange juice. It was refreshing but punchy and certainly shook our hangovers off!

But the food was the main event! We started with what turned out to be my 3 favourite dishes. The first 2 were ceviche dishes - sea bass, samphire, radish, sweet potato and chilli-free tiger's milk, and portobello, king oyster mushroom, corn and truffle chilli-free tiger's milk. I was expecting to love the raw sea bass and I did. I'm a massive fan of raw fish, and particularly love it with tangy tiger's milk, so this went down a treat. It tasted so clean and fresh. The veggie version was the one I was unsure about before I tried it, I couldn't imagine how it was going to work, but it was great! The mushrooms were soft from their marinating, and the tiger's milk brought the whole dish together. They were also both very pretty dishes to look at (not that they were on the plate long enough for that!)

Next up was veal anticuchos (grilled meat on a skewer) with celeriac puree. This had been marinated in chilli before cooking so I got to eat it all to myself, and it was incredible. The veal was soft and tender, and the sauce so smokey and fiery, I could've eaten about 10 skewers of it. I really like celeriac puree with red meat and here it was the perfect vehicle to mop up all the juices that dripped off the skewers.

We followed this with a selection of dishes - quinoa, avocado, Granny Smith, tomato and coriander vinaigrette was a lovely light dish, with a delicate flavour. I liked the texture of the soft avocado with the grains of quinoa.

Then we had sweet plantain, feta and English malt, with a hot yellow sauce - I didn't mind this dish, but plantain isn't my favourite thing, I'm not sure if it's the taste or the texture or just that it reminds me of bananas but I could live without it. We also had the purple potatoes, mint, peanuts and crispy onions. Again, I wouldn't go for this dish next time. It wasn't bad, I just preferred the meat and fish offerings at Pachamama. Like the chicken anticuchos with charred corn - succulent, juicy chicken that disappeared from the plate in seconds. The boy tried it first and told me how good it was - he's not normally a massive chicken fan so this was quite the compliment. We fought each other for the rest of it! The last dish we had was the mackerel fillet with criolla sauce - another spicy, hot sauce, so this one was for me. I liked the way they kept it simple, all a fillet of good mackerel needs is a little, punchy sauce, so it was perfect to end the meal. All the dishes on the lunch menu are priced at £6 each.

Though we didn't quite end the meal there. We had our rubber arms twisted into ordering pudding, and went for the chocolate fondant, brittle, salted peanut ice cream and the almond milk pana cotta with passion fruit and white chocolate. Both were fantastic. The fondant was oozy and decadent, balanced wonderfully with the salty, nutty accompaniments. But our favourite was definitely the pana cotta. It was wobbly and creamy, and was lifted by the fresh fruit on the plate. The white chocolate covered brittle was just delicious. After a little mix up with salt in my coffee instead of sugar, and a lovely chat with the restaurant's manager we headed on our merry way, back into tourist-filled central London.

I'm really looking forward to going back to Pachamama one evening when it's a bit more lively as I think it'll make a great place for cocktails, food and some Latin American music - I've already got my eye on the Josper oven-cooked crispy lamb belly, miso, green aji sauce and the flamed octopus, purple potatoes, capers and crispy shallots from their evening menu. Full details of the restaurant, and their menus can be found HERE.
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  1. Lima was the first Peruvian restaurant I discovered. The food at Pachamama looks great. I quite like the kitsch decor. xx

    1. You should check out Pachamama, quite different to Lima but still really good. It felt so light and airy in there with all those plants around :)

      Rosie xx

  2. After reading your review, I went to Pachamama this week with a friend. I totally missed the door, and wandered up the street for a while. The artiness of a place with no name evaded me, I have to say. I thought the food was incredible, and the staff were very good. As attentive as I wanted them to be. It was a bit stuffy in there, and I thought the prices were a little high, but I guess that's what you pay for good quality ingredients.

    1. It is a bit elusive isn't it?! Did you have lunch or dinner there - we went for lunch, where every dish was £6 regardless of what it was, which I thought was good value for what it was, but I know the prices are different in the evening. I've been meaning to go back and not yet made it, but I can't go for too much longer sans Peruvian food!!

      Rosie xx


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