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Beneath a budget hotel off Walworth Road, Emanuel celebrates Peru with vim and vigour. Folk or salsa music increases in volume as you descend the staircase to the brightly lit basement. Here, the red and white of the Peruvian flag dominate: white walls and floor tiles, white paper on red tablecloths.
Videos of treasured vocalists play on the TV. Such concentrated nostalgia finds favour with the Peruvian clientele, some of whom sing along. We’ve yet to find better renditions of Peruvian cooking in London. All the classics are here, which makes picking starters especially difficult. Ceviche is the obvious choice, but what about the chupe de camarones (shrimp chowder) from the astoundingly cheap set lunch that our neighbours were relishing? Papa a la huancaina won out, and the entirely authentic, dense yellow boiled potatoes covered in spicy, creamy, cheesy sauce didn’t disappoint.
Main courses are mostly plain (meat and rice assemblies, or fried fish), excepting the superb arroz de mariscos: squid, red pepper and plump prawns in a mound of turmeric-coloured rice, with a scallop shell full of ‘tiger’s milk’ (the salty, lime-juice ceviche marinade) with raw red onions. Topped by two giant prawns, and flanked by two mussels, the dish looked as good as it tasted. Drink Cusqueña negra beer or Inca Kola, round off with intensely sweet dulce de leche, and leave with a dance to your step.
18 Amelia Street
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