Pachamama, London

12.08.2014

What is so attractive about raw fish marinated in lime juice (ceviche/tiradito)? Peruvian food, have you heard of it? Yes? No? Yes? No? It seems to be a big thing at the moment in London, with Lima being the front runner (winning a Michelin star). Whilst I'm writing this, there are probably new Peruvian foodie hangouts opening up, can't keep the pace up at all. Pachamama described themselves as Peruvian food with a British twist.

Already had a glass or two of wine with oysters before walking to Thayer Street, on the end of Marylebone High Street just few minutes walk away from Selfridges. Let's have more cocktails and wine. Started of with a Mama's Pisco, made up of pisco, fresh raspberry, mint, orange juice which was very refreshing. Mrs T had Papa's Pisco, a mixed of pisco, lime, egg white, Amargo Chuncho. To go with our a meal, we ordered a bottle of El Muro Macabeo, Spain 2013, their house white wine. Chicharrónes came as a nibbling dish recommended by the waiter. It's deep fried pork rinds with pork belly. A nice start to the evening.

Chicharrónes, sweet onions, mint

Squid, prawns, mussels, culantro, palm sugar, devil's milk

Wild Cornish sea bass, samphire, radish, sweet potato, tiger's milk

Portobello, King Oyster mushroom, corn, truffle tiger's milk

Mama's ceviche caught our eyes on the menu. I love raw fish, Mr T loves raw fish and so does Mrs T. I don't know what traditional ceviche taste like. I had sashimi many times but not ceviche. You probably will be wondering what's "tiger's milk", is it actually tiger's milk? Believe me not, I thought the same. Leche de tigre, or tiger's milk is the Peruvian term for the citrus-based marinade that cures the seafood in a ceviche dish. We ordered three different kinds, bear in mind one of the dish was non seafood. Everyone loves mushrooms, but this mushroom dish is so easily forgotten that one can skip it. The sea bass was delightfully fresh with a crunchy sweet potato against the soft fish. The clear winner was the squid, prawns and mussel swimming in a pool of devil's milk was just full of flavour, fresh and zesty.

Crispy duck belly, miso, green aji sauce

28 day Aged Dexter rib-eye (Lomo saltado)

Mussels, pisco, ginger, coriander

You can easily be ordering all the raw dishes, but the food doesn't stop there. What was supposed to be lamb belly was sold out already, thus it was replaced with duck belly. The meat was tender with a crispy layer and good compliment of green aji sauce (no idea what it is). The rib-eye is a big disappointment, the meat was tender but the dish can easily be passed as a stir-fry beef from a Chinese takeaway. The Peruvian inspiration has definitely been lost on its way. The mussels really took us for a surprised, it was fat, juicy and probably one of the biggest size of mussels you have ever seen.

Squash, charred Brussels sprout, heritage carrots, salsa criollo

Flamed Octopus, purple potato, capers, crispy shallots

Veal heart antichuchos, celeriac purée

With all the consumption of meats and seafood, it's easy not to order vegetables. The flamed octopus and veal heart was a great success, the smokiness from the grill against the sweet purée and moreish. It disappeared fairly quick with the vegetables still remaining to be eaten before entering the dessert world. The vegetable dish is actually good, it maintains its crunch bar the squash (squash cannot be crunchy) and seasoned nicely.

Rice pudding, quince, toasted almonds

Chocolate fondant, brittle, salted peanut ice cream
By this point, there was barely any room left for dessert. We ordered and we emptied the plate.  The rice pudding was creamy and sticky, with a sweet note from the quince and the crunchiness from the toasted almonds all worked nicely. I would have been more impressed from the fondant if it was turned out from the ramekin which would have shown the skills of the chef. Nevertheless, it wasn't the most prefect fondant but still had all the quality of it. From the other guests, they were more impressed with the ice cream, intensely peanuty, smooth, salty, rich. The perfect combination, to mellow richness of the fondant.

Despite the flaws and inconsistency, I loved the food at Pachamama. You will be disappointed if you want authentic Peruvian food as there seems to be influence from all over the world. It's an all rounded good fusion menu that I will be returning if I can get a table. Apparently they have live DJ playing at the restaurant, not that I remembered. But then I was drenched in rain that night and I have to apologise for the poor quality of the photos, it was dark in the restaurant and I only have a insufficient iPhone 5 to use.

Score Rating: 3.5/5
Price: £30/head (50% off soft opening, £75 for 3 people)

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http://pachamamalondon.com/

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