Think ‘Peru’ and what most likely comes to mind is llamas, Machu Pichu and - if you’re me - pisco sours. In the long list of things that I associate with the South American country, Sunday roasts are near the bottom, beaten only by cheese and chutney sarnies and the Great British debate on how you should layer your scones. Pachamama East, however, has different ideas; freshly launched this February, its Sunday offering is a Latin take on a UK classic, I went along to see how a Peruvian roast dinner fared.
It seems strange that somewhere quite this beautiful in such a busy part of London isn’t absolutely packed on a Sunday. Perhaps it’s that the restaurant isn’t visible from street level, or that a main entrance is in the back, but whatever the reason, there’s plenty of seating under the strings of lighting that hang from a slab of concrete ceiling. Shoreditch chic has been nailed at this Peruvian-inspired spot, from the upstairs windows that flood the dining room with afternoon light through to the mix of oak floorboards and spotted tiles.
There’s a sense of homeliness too, with pictures from the founders’ childhood on walls and retro bell lampshades dotted about - perfect for the comfort I’m craving on a hungover Sunday. It just so happens that the food menu is also attuned to what us Brits need come the end of the week. Before we can tuck into the Peruvian take on our national dish, we start with bites of pork belly (£7.50); cubed morsels of fatty meat soaked in a rich, fruity, prune glaze. The Sichuan fried chicken (£8.50) is their take on Chinese and Peruvian cuisine, with three chunks of chicken to dip into a berry-sweet side sauce.
This is Pachamama’s first foray into our Sunday delicacy and despite the promise of a Peruvian twist, things are pretty traditional. Not that this is by any means a bad thing; layers of pink lamb are covered in a meaty gravy, alongside fluffy Yorkshire puds and grilled sprouting broccoli (£20). The biggest difference is the smoked potatoes, whose skin is crisp and paper-thin tearing into soft flesh. I end with a Peruvian chocolate (£8.50), a smudge of thick, creamy mousse, with a light quinoa ice cream and crunches of crumble-like biscuit bits - it’s the perfect finish to a stuffing session.
The DesignMyNight Digest
South American food is my jam - if I had my way, ceviche would be on the table for every meal. Pachamama’s roast was delicious - everyone should start smoking their potatoes - and is a nice addition to their repertoire, however dishes from past visits have already won my loyalty. If you want a Sunday with a slight twist, head here, and if you just want some utterly beautiful South American food on any day of the week; head here.
Hungry for more? Check out our pick of the best Sunday roasts in London here.