Jason Allen 29/08/23
Llama Inn | A Peruvian restaurant on the 7th floor
You know those wonderfully inconspicuous & under-the-radar gems that, unless you know about them, you’d almost certainly never stumble across?
The Llama Inn is one of those places.
For one, it’s on top of the Hoxton Hotel in Shoreditch, meaning that it’s not visible from the road. And then there’s the fact that you don’t access it from inside the hotel, either. You’ll need to find your way to the quiet, secluded Willow Street around the back 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 looking out over half of East London.
For a little background, the Llama Inn is the work of restaurateurs Juan Correa & Chef Erik Ramirez who opened the original Llama Inn in Brooklyn back in 2015. Since then, the place has been basically collecting awards the whole time ranging from Bib Gourmands, to spots on the New York Times’s latest top 100 restaurants list, to finalist places at the James Beard Awards which, for the uninitiated, is like the Oscars of the food world. Then, the duo decided to open a second branch in London (presumably saying ‘alpaca bag’ a lot) and here we are.
And what a place it is. The restaurant is tied together with a glass roof and great big windows, all flooding light onto the terracotta tile flooring. The whole space is decked out with a lot of rustically earthy tones, some pine & maple chairs, an array of indoor plants, and hand-woven statement chandeliers. And right at the back, you’ll find one breathtaking all-white rooftop terrace for dining.
The food is absolutely wonderful, with the same lineup of modernised traditional Peruvian dishes that made the Brooklyn original such a standout. Here though, they’ve enlisted the help of head chef Marcin Maliczowski, who has worked closely with famed Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio. Don’t worry if you don’t understand the menu, there’s a glossary on the back to explain the various ingredients like ocopa (a black mint sauce), pitaya (a kind of cactus), and cancha (toasted large-kernel corn). Expect the likes of delectable pork shoulder sliders with sweet potato; Cabbage skewers with an absolutely beautiful saikyo miso sauce; crispy squid ceviche with a punchy red pepper sauce; and a giant pork chop that’s been bathed in a fragrantly herbal aji verde.
It’s been a couple of paragraphs since we mentioned an award, so let’s talk about the cocktails: Bar Director Natasha Bermudez has a couple of James Beard and Tales of the Cocktail award nominations under her belt, and here, she’s brought along a couple of the classics that helped cement her hallowed reputation in the drinks industry, including the ‘Chupetini (one shot martini)’ which blends gin with something called umami bomb and blue cheese olives, and a punchy number that mixes pisco with rum, red wine, chicha morada, and pineapple.
It’s called the Llama Del Rey.
NOTE: You can find out more, and make a booking at Llama Inn, right here.
Llama Inn | The Hoxton Shoreditch, 1 Willow St, EC2A 4BH
It’s in good company… here are the best Peruvian restaurants in London
The Hoxton Shoreditch, 1 Willow St, Shoreditch, East London, EC2A 4BH
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8.9 | Great
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