From the Andes to the Pacific, the highs and lows of Peruvian terrain help to explain its varied cuisine. But what was going on behind the scenes at this small Essex Road eaterie to account for our visit’s ups and downs we could only guess at. Things began badly after our booked table was given away – though a couple of complimentary pisco sours helped keep us sweet.
The starters were a success. Grilled baby octopus appeared smothered by black Peruvian botija olive cream, yet the sauce was light as sea foam and the olive flavour vibrant. A ceviche was fantastic, the fish barely coaxed out of rawness. At this stage, the owners’ decision to move on from their original Camden market stall seemed justified, so it was a shame that one main – lightly battered fish and cassava – arrived unacceptably lukewarm. And the seafood in a creamy picante de mariscos stew seemed too subdued and insubstantial.
The lengthy menu, trying to cover all their nation’s culinary bases, probably doesn’t help. Decor is simple – polished dark-wood tables, long brown banquette, white walls adorned with colour photos – and the drinks list includes Peruvian beer, wines and Inca Kola.