Peruvian and Japanese cuisines blend with a flurry of flavour and love at Pachamama East by Old Street.
Sitting right on the busy Great Eastern Street, this split-level restaurant is a buzzing foodie hot spot. You’ll feel as if you’re hanging outside some old rickety restaurant in South America with potted succulents crawling all over the walls, festoon lighting hanging across the room and all the earthenware your Pinterest-living mother could ever hope for.
The mood is further heightened by the ever-cool staff you find in Shoreditch’s spots like this. Fortunately, they’re super friendly folk who can communicate exactly what’s going on – and they have opinions about the food – all refreshing finds. The tapas-styled menu is broken up into ‘snacks’ ‘small dishes’ ‘noodles and rice’ and ‘large plates’ from which you can pick and choose as many as your belly can fit.
Either go in on their Peruvian Feast set menu to make ordering easier – sometimes we just want someone to bring us food and surprise us with what’s on offer. This is a great spot for that. But you can just as easily go with your waiter of the day’s personal favourites and add in a few random dishes for the sake of it.
We were all about the sticky pork belly chicharrones to start off with, fighting over these cubes of fat and meat as we sipped on some essential pisco sours – a must for any Peruvian dining experience. And, of course, the menu is full of glorious ceviche dishes with the sweet potato and seabream topping the list. These highly acidic soupy dishes balance brilliantly against all the heavier and fatty dishes.
And because it all just comes out as it’s ready, with small ceramic plates and bowls consuming the table over time, each bite is followed by something totally different.
Even do what some may call sacrilegious and mix dishes, playing with flavour combinations as you go. Because screw culinary rules. This is how we’d eat at home. Play. Mix and match. Order more drinks. And repeat.
And we can’t talk of Pachamama East without mentioning their ‘duck on rice’ dish which is far more enticing than the simple description. It is served with some mysterious thick yellow sauce which works well with the perfectly cooked duck breast.
Pair it with the hokkien noodles with puffs of fried beef fat and sweet soy sauce and you’re sorted. And, if you must, get around the caramelised aubergines which just turn to delicious moosh in your face as you tear into them.
Dessert is also a winner. We recommend you order what they call ‘a roasted potato’ and just go with it. Don’t ask what you’re actually getting – it’s certainly not a roasted potato. We won’t tell you what it is. Just order it and thank us later.
And the menu doesn’t offer up much of a description when it comes to each dish – but that’s a part of the fun. Some restaurants do this to be a little pretentious but Pachamama East rejoices in the unknown. Go a long for a ride. You won’t regret it.
73 Great Eastern Street EC2A 3HR