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Rupert Hohwieler 09/04/24


The Best Peruvian Restaurants in London

London, 2012.

A series of events that took months of preparation; captured the hearts of Londoners; and whose demonstrations of talent, determination and teamwork were ultimately to ‘inspire a generation’.

We’re talking, of course, about the openings of Ceviche Soho and Lima.

Sure, they weren’t the first Peruvian restaurants in London. But their central locations, vibey interiors and amazingly colourful dishes heralded a new approach that – genuinely – set the bar for all other Peruvian restaurants opening in the capital in the years to come, and kick-started our ongoing love affair with the cuisine.

Ceviche Soho

The South American country has a multicultural backbone with influences that trace as far Japan and China, spawning Nikkei and Chifa cuisine respectively. And with national dishes that take the shape of ceviche (raw fish marinated in citrus juices), anticuchos (beef heart skewers) and lomo saltado (a beef steak stir-fry typically served with tomatoes, onions and chips), it’s pretty easy to see why Peruvian cuisine has proved such hit here.

So, from the high-end stuff to the more animated party places, we’ve done the hard labour and shepherded up the best Peruvian restaurants in London. Oh, and one last little thing: Always order a pisco sour – it’s an unofficial law…

 

Lima London | Fitzrovia

lima london

Lima London set an unfair standard for the other Peruvian restaurants in London when it arrived on the scene, bagging a Michelin star in 2014 (the only Peruvian restaurant in Europe to do so). Having recently reached the ten year mark, owner-brothers Gabriel and Jose-Luis Gonzalez have made the call to update the restaurant with a more minimal look (warm woods, brushed concrete walls and rainbow-coloured woven cane lamps) and a rejuvenated menu full of sprightly flavours – that transports you across the Andes and the Amazon without having to undergo the 14 hour flight…

Details: 31 Rathbone Place, W1T 1JH | Book here

Ceviche | Soho

Ceviche Soho

Modelled off Lima’s artsy Barranco neighbourhood, this purveyor of all things Peruvian in Soho has sent home many piscoed-up punters straight on the internet to explore the notion of taking a sabbatical in the country’s capital. As expected, the kitchen puts on a ceviche clinic, but everything else on the menu is spot on too; from cassava fries with amarillo chilli to the corn cake, lomo saltado and desserts that are well-worth stretching the rest of your stomach for (see pumpkin doughnuts with cinnamon ice cream or dulce de leche crêpes). Half the fun is also getting acquainted with the pisco bar that turns out chilcanos and four shades of pisco sour, including a Cathedral. Be warned: they’re very large… 

Details: 17 Frith Street, W1D 4RG | Book here

Lima Cantina | Covent Garden

lima cantina

Set in an old stained glass workshop, Lima Fitzrovia’s sibling offers a window into one very specific part of Peruvian cuisine: rotisserie chicken. The restaurant’s proudly home to London’s only rotombo oven, in which whole birds are slowly roasted over charcoal for a gorgeously smoky flavour – enhanced by a 24 hour marinade – and perfectly crispy skin. Throw in a couple of house sauces like aji Amarillo and huacatay, and you’ve got yourself a real Peruvian feast. The standalone bar, meanwhile, shakes up signature negronis made with mezcal in place of gin, and pisco-spiked mojitos.

Details: 14 Garrick Street, WC2E 9BJ Book here

Pachamama & Pachamama East | Marylebone & Shoreditch

pachamama peruvian restaurant

In Peru, Pachamama is worshipped as the goddess of nature (she’s known over there as Mother Earth). Over here though, it’s a slightly different story. Pachamama is a trendy Peruvian restaurant down a basement in Marylebone, but still greatly revered nonetheless for its freshened-up takes on the country’s most famous dishes – where British ingredients are incorporated into things like Cornish sea bass ceviche and josper-grilled crispy lamb belly with miso, to bring the food closer to home. Weekend DJs, potent pisco-based drinks and group-friendly proportions also make it a popular stop before big nights out. 

Details: Pachamama, 18 Thayer Street, W1U 3JY; Pachamama East, 73 Great Eastern Street, EC2A 3HU | Book here

Tierra Peru | Islington

Islington, land of the unexpected gems (a city farm with goats, a gig space in a listed church…), can add another to its tally with one of the most welcoming Peruvian restaurants in London. It’s passionately run by two brothers, who have dotted the walls with portraits from their homeland and turn on the telly above the bar whenever the national football team is playing.

You’ll find the full spread of traditional dishes here; from a ceviche bar to shots of leche de tigre, dulce de leche-filled alfajores cookies and ají de gallina (a creamy chicken stew). Pisco sours get passed around at a rapid rate, as they tend to do, but there’s also a handful of Peruvian wines and lesser-known pisco cocktails like the chilcano (pisco, lime juice and ginger ale) to delve into…

Details: 164 Essex Road, Islington, N1 8LY | Call 020 7354 5586 for bookings

Chicama | Chelsea

chicama

Pachamama’s seafood-obsessed sister made a splash when it opened in Chelsea, quickly becoming a contender for the best Peruvian restaurant in West London with its top-notch coastal dishes. It takes its name from a tranquil beach town in Northern Peru and dips into the ocean for most of its menu. There’s market fish delivered daily from Cornwall and chargrilled over a robata grill, blackened octopus, miso seabass, trout cooked in banana leaf, and with a sauce game that’ll you wanna bottle up and take home (avocado and jalapeño, mango and ají limo or ají panca… big decisions). Wash it all down with something from Chicama’s excellent wine list or one of the cocktails: the coffee and orange-infused pisco Negroni goes down swimmingly…

Details: 383 King’s Road, SW10 0LP | Book here

Llama Inn | Shoreditch

llama inn peruvian rooftop restaurant

Finding Llama Inn isn’t all that easy – you’ll need to find your way to the quiet, secluded Willow Street around the back of the Hoxton hotel, and look for a yellow doorway surrounded by street art. Inside, you’ll then need to take the hotel’s dark service elevator to the seventh floor, where you’ll finally be introduced to the venue itself: a beautiful, sweeping, glass-covered rooftop peeping over the rooftops of East London. And you’ll be glad you did, because the lineup of Peruvian dishes at this Brooklyn import is absolutely wonderful…

Details: The Hoxton Shoreditch, 1 Willow St, EC2A 4BH | Book here

Señor Ceviche | Soho

Best Peruvian Restaurants in London: Señor Ceviche

Ten years ago, London was blessed with a South American pop-up called Don Ceviche. It was chef and owner Harry Edmeades’ way of getting a read on his renditions of Peru’s national dish before they were ready to stand on their own two feet in a restaurant. You’ll now locate that restaurant in Soho’s Kingly Court, and we have to tip our hat to Señor Ceviche as his renditions have turned out pretty darn good (the sea bass and octopus one with ají amarillo tiger’s milk in particular). When you’re feeling ceviche fatigue, look to other Peruvian specialities like tequeños or crispy pork belly chicharrones, and for drinks: tap into large quantities of Cusqueña beer or signature cocktails that dizzy the senses.

Details: 1st Floor Kingly Court, Carnaby Street, W1B 5PW | Book here

Coya Angel Court | Bank

Best Peruvian Restaurants in London: Coya

With a lively Latin playlist and an impressive stash of Incan trinkets, Coya is probably more brazen than coy… The menu has all the main points covered (ceviche, tick, anticuchos skewers, tick) and also invites a few of those Nikkei dishes to the party too (see tiraditos, aka Peruvian sashimi, like yellowfin tuna or beef tataki). When drinks are on the radar, make a beeline for the pisco bar. You’ll encounter classics infused with exotic fruits and signatures like the pisco royale, which is the fancy way of saying a pisco sour topped up with Veuve Clicquot champagne. 

Detail: 31-33 Throgmorton Street, EC2N 2AT | Book here

 


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