Pachamama East is the latest outpost from the same group that launched Pachamama in Marylebone in 2015 (now known as Pachamama Central) and Chicama on King’s Road, Chelsea in 2016. While Pachamama Central and Chicama both focus on Peruvian flavours, the eastern outpost adds to this Chinese flavours and techniques, blending them seamlessly with South American influence. This is thanks to chef John Javier who has brought the ideas of Chifa cuisine, the blend of Peruvian and Chinese flavours that occurred with a wave of Chinese immigration to Peru in the 19th century, in to the menu. Pachamama’s menus have always been exciting, but the Chifa influence makes this restaurant’s food even more of a delicious thrill.
Pachamama East has a pared-back, shabby-chic interior with bare walls, exposed pipes, strings of lights and plenty of plants alongside wood tables, mismatched chairs and spotted tiles. The open kitchen provides an exciting focal point and at the back of the restaurant is a cosy bar area – the perfect spot to start an evening.
Cocktails at Pachamama East are extremely well thought out and include a lot of temptingly updated classics, including a Banana Negroni and the delightful Avianca – an Aviation by another name made from gin, violet, maraschino and lemon. The punchy Café is a twisted Espresso Martini, made from pisco, coffee, cream and nutmeg. Suited to the Peruvian style of Pachamama, the drinks list includes a dozen different versions of pisco. And you can also order the Peruvian take on a Pickleback (a shot of whisky followed by a shot of pickle brine) that at Pachamama has been transformed into a Tiger’s Back: a shot of pisco followed by a palette-cleansing shot of tiger’s milk – the spicy mixture of lime, chilli and fish that comes from marinating ceviche. The restaurant caters well to oenophiles too: the wine list starts at a very reasonable price level and has an excellent range of organic options.
The menu at Pachamama East is a real voyage of discovery in perfectly paired flavours and techniques. It is divided into snacks, small plates, noodles and rice, and large plates and it’s recommended you get a selection from each section to share across the table. The prawn toasts are crisp, light and moreish, unlike any you’ve had before, and are topped with a generous amount of irresistible bonito flakes and mayonnaise, a perfect combination. The sweet and sour beauty of the fruit ceviche is a surprising treat not to be missed, while the hamachi with baby turnips, radish and aubergine cream is beautifully plated and extremely flavoursome and the caramelised aubergine with peanuts and coriander oil is supple and delicious. Don’t overlook the rice and noodle section, which is as original and imaginative as the rest of the menu, especially the fried rice dishes and the cheung fun with sesame paste, fried leeks and peanuts, which is a tasty, chewy treat. From the larger plates, the fragrant sea bass with ginger, spring onion and shiro dashi comes recommended, as does the umami mushroom mapo tofu. For dessert look no further than the “roast potato”, an extraordinary creation that arrives looking like a single roast potato but turns out to be an exotic cousin to a baked Alaska made from potato ice cream, deep fried and rolled in olive oil and a cookie crumb.
A meal for two including cocktails and wine comes to around £120.
While still having a lot in common with its Marylebone sister restaurant, Pachamama East is refreshingly new and different. Its focus on Chifa cuisine is carried off with aplomb, making it a fascinating and fun place to visit. The staff are wonderful, always on hand with excellent explanations or recommendations and the space is buzzy, relaxed and chic. Pachamama East is worth crossing London to discover – even for the roast potato alone.
Pachamama East, 73 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3HR; pachamamalondon.com