Posted on Friday, 5th December 2014

Pachamama is the latest addition to the Peruvian food scene in London, and a really exciting one at that. It serves innovative dishes by combining together an interesting array of quality ingredients, with fish from Cornwall and meats from Yorkshire. It is going up against other Peruvian heavy weights such as Michelin starred Lima, Coya and Ceviche. But Pachamama is as good as it gets, and holds its own with class.

The décor of Pachamama was unconventionally un-Peruvian and resembled the style of an old British colonial home with reclaimed antiques. But it was very tasteful and comfortable, with the restaurant stretching along an L-shape and backing onto the open kitchen. There is also a swanky cocktail bar serving Peruvian classics such as home-infused Piscos with seasonal berries, herbs and fruits, and other creative and reasonably priced cocktails such as The Curandero – a vodka, lime and chilli sherbet drink topped with ginger beer (£8).

We visited Pachamama for lunch, to try their special ‘Pick and Mix’ set lunch menu which features dishes from various categories – ceviche, robata grill, Josper oven, salad and dessert, all at a very reasonable £6 per dish. This special menu is only available during weekday lunchtimes, and in the evenings and weekends Pachamama offers an a la carte menu.

It wouldn’t do to not try ceviche at a Peruvian restaurant, and at Pachamama we had the chilled prawn and sea bass ceviches. Both were resounding fresh, with the bouncy prawns being paired with some fabulously crunch onions, squash, English mustard and tiger’s milk. It was refreshing and tangy, but a little too sharp on the palate. As for the sea bass ceviche with tiger’s milk, this was very pleasant, especially with the crunchy samphire, radish and luscious sweet potatoes.

Pachamama – Chilled prawn ceviche

Chilled prawn ceviche

Pachamama – Sea bass ceviche

Sea bass ceviche

We loved all the salads and I would easily go so far as to say these were the true highlights of our meal. The quinoa salad with avocado and tomatoes tasted beautifully fresh and vibrant. There was also some finely chopped Granny Smith apple running through the salad which added a hint of sweetness, all of which came together with a light and zesty coriander dressing. The potato salad with new and purple potatoes was also a winner with its earthiness. Some wonderfully crunchy peanuts acted as garnish, and the dressing of mint, coriander, honey, chilli and lemon was delightful with some crispy onions adding an enjoyable crunchiness to the dish.

Pachamama – Quinoa salad

Quinoa salad

Pachamama - Potato salad

Potato salad

Not so much a salad but sitting in the salad section was a dish of short-grain rice with spring onions and nuts. It was wonderfully moreish, having been made with a mixture of spices including turmeric, ginger, garlic and spring onions. There was a good bite to the rice, and a lovely crunchiness coming from the pistachio and Brazil nuts. This was hearty, satisfying cooking at its best.

We tried a couple of the chicken dishes including chicken anticuchos with a charred corn puree. The chicken was moist and juicy and the corn puree was smooth and sweet. Together, the two tasted fabulous. Also really yummy was the blackened chicken which was wonderfully moist with a slightly charred flavour.

Pachamama – Chicken anticuchos

Chicken anticuchos

Pachamama - Blackened chicken

Blackened chicken

The grilled mackerel was probably our least favourite of all the dishes we tried. It was nicely cooked and the fish was of a really good quality and it worked well with the salsa criolla. But it lacked for a touch of seasoning and it didn’t really produce the same wow factor like the other dishes.

Pachamama – Mackerel


To desserts, and an almond milk panna cotta was really good, although technically it didn’t have enough of a wobble. Nevertheless it was tasty, especially with the accompaniments of white chocolate and almond brittle and some zingy passionfruit.

But the dessert I fell in love with was the chocolate fondant. I’ve had chocolate fondant a million times over, but here at Pachamama it was a little more special. It wasn’t just that the fondant was rich and delicious, oozing with a molten chocolaty centre. It was also because the accompanying salted peanut ice cream was heavenly, with an incredibly creamy and smooth texture. Together the fondant and ice cream created something magical.

Pachamama – Chocolate fondant & almond milk panna cotta

Chocolate fondant & almond milk panna cotta

The lunch menu at Pachamama was incredible. It was incredible because for £6 a dish, we got some sensational cooking and wonderful flavour combinations that seem to come alive on our palates. This was cooking with flair, the result of which was food that was alive, vibrant and really enjoyable. The service was very accommodative and charming as well. Weekday lunch at Pachamama is great value and not to be missed.

Summary Information:
Weekday lunch rating: 4/5
Service rating: 3.5/5

Prices: The weekday lunch menu is £6 per dish. Pachamama recommends 3 dishes per person. So with dessert this is about £24. Excludes drinks and service.


Square Meal

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