Outdoor terraces in London are hot property, especially given the glacier-melting summer we’re currently basking in. Pretty much every pub in the city with a stretch of cigarette-strewn pavement is plonking a table on it and calling it the best spot for alfresco drinking in the capital. And while Chicama’s outdoor terrace is admittedly overflowing onto the pavement, it’s a particularly lovely bit of concrete in West London.
A short bus ride from Sloane Square, the Peruvian restaurant is doing outside drinking with commitment, enclosing the exterior around its building and stringing it with fairy lights and stuffing it with plants. In fact, they’ve done such a marvellous job of changing an otherwise dull bit of high street, you might forget you’re in London, especially when the range of fresh, seafood plates start filling up your table. Named after a town on Peru’s coast, Chicama dishes up the day’s catch in innovative and fiery South American ways.
Take the Squid Chicharonnes (£8), for example - a dish that anywhere else would be calamari, is given the gourmet treatment, as tender squid is encased in a salty, slightly spiced, pop corn-like shell. Vegetables are similarly praise-worthy; aubergine (£9) is deep fried in light batter, leaving it gooey on the inside, and perfect for scraping through the sour cream. If, like me, you want more of the squid (£19), the main dish is a grown-up, knife-and-fork affair, as chunks of meat have been marinated in garlic and a spicy red pepper, before being chargrilled and placed on top of paprika quinoa.
Much like the dishes, cocktails are light but crammed full of different flavours. The Costa Verde (£10) was a long, cool glass that could have fooled me into thinking it was a health juice, as cucumber, green apple juice and lemon, hid the alcoholic tang of Hendrick’s, pisco and prosecco. With a few precious months of summer left, choose your summer drinking spot and choose it wisely. Bringing a high-end taste of Peru, light and healthy cocktails, and a pretty as hell bit of side street, Chicama is surely making the cut.
Chicama's outdoor terrace is open throughout summer; find it at 383 King's Road, Chelsea, SW10 0LP.