An offshoot to Marylebone’s Pachamama, on which see my review here, Chicama brings Peruvian food to an unassuming corner of Chelsea. Though perched on an unexciting corner of the Kings Road (the Imperial Wharf end), it’s a spot worth seeking out. Peruvian food has rightly enjoyed an explosion in popularity in London of late, with bookings at other ventures proving to be hot tables: Andina, Michelin starred Lima with an accessible sister branch (Lima Floral) near Covent Garden, Coya with restaurants in Mayfair and the City, and “vibey” Pachamama.
Like Pachamama, Chicama is chic and charming. The restaurant retains a neighbourhood feel, whilst oozing a sense of Peru’s Chicama beach in northern Peru. Festooned with salvaged wood, vintage mirrors and shell pink tiles, instagrammers would feel very welcome here – the space feels like a Wes Anderson movie set. A photogenic pastel marble counter stretches across the restaurant, separating the dining room and open kitchen. A heated terrace is also open to cater for the new-normal way of eating. Tables inside are somewhat cramped, but the vibrant atmosphere compensates, as do the cheery and enthusiastic staff.
Focusing on seafood, Chicama’s entire menu is free from meat. Whilst the seafood served here, delivered daily, is sourced from Cornwall, the menu celebrates many interesting ingredients native to Peru. As a meat-free establishment, there are a plenty of veggie / vegan small plates. Those shouldn’t be missed, given the top quality produce and Japanese – Peruvian influences sitting side by side. A vegan tasting menu is also available (£40 per person).
Dinner began, naturally, with a round of Peruvian cocktails: an incredibly punchy Mezcalamity (£13.50), made with a smokey mezcal, bergamot, gentian and lemon; and a chilli hot Locoto (£12) with jalapeno and coriander infused tequila, orange liqueur and lime. Like the dishes, the drinks here are crammed full of flavour.
Then came a smoked mushroom ceviche, ceps tiger’s milk and smoked olive oil (£12). Delicate ceps, salty samphire, crispy mushrooms to fnish, all sitting above a light but intensely flavour EVOO. Mushroom magic.
The sweet potato and sesame (£5.50) was charred to perfection: the skin blackened to a rich charcoal finish, offset by the luscious sweetness of its melt-in-the-mouth interior. It tasted almost like a desert. Meanwhile, sprouting broccoli (£10.50), served with an unusual coffee and smoked chilli dip, provided a healthy dose of high quality greens. The dip was another eye-opener.
Bringing a high-end taste of Peru, light and healthy cocktails and food, and a pretty interior and terrace, Chicama is worth the long walk down the King’s Road.
Chicama, 383 King’s Road, London SW10 0LP