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The team behind Marylebone’s hit South American joint, Pachamama, have headed to Chelsea to open this seafood-led take on their popular Peruvian-style cooking. Chicama is a modern space – copper-pipe and rough-wood clad, and boosted by pulsating energy from the frenetic open kitchen. The South American-inspired wines and cocktails match perfectly with the neighbourhood’s Sloaney drinking culture, and we loved our rhubarb-flavoured Pisco and Champagne Spritz brushed in cinnamon spices. The meat-free menu is based on the daily catch from Cornish day-boats, souped-up by coastal Peruvian flavours. Sharing plates arrive when ready, loaded with South American spice and zing: witness a decent salmon ceviche, drenched in a zesty coconut milk, with mango and red quinoa. Other hits include thin slivers of tuna on a creamy jalapeño and avocado sauce, topped with crunchy fried leeks, and the star of the show – soft, gooey cubes of crispy-coated tapioca marshmallow. As at Pachamama, the charcoal-fired Josper grill forms a big part of the appeal. Barbecue fans should bag a ringside seat to watch the never-ending roster of fish hit the coals. We chose a John Dory, which came expertly grilled, filleted and full of flame-licked flavour, alongside a smoky ají panca salsa. For dessert, the sweet-potato tart might sound like a strange choice, but think of it as a particularly sweet pumpkin pie and you won’t be far off. Blessed with a gorgeous terrace off the King’s Road, and proficient South American service, Chicama is already attracting Sloaney locals in numbers – and rightly so.
Chicama enters the London restaurant scene with much pressure. Its sister restaurant, Pachamama, has been one of London’s favourite Peruvian joints since inception. As such, one would wonder whether Chicama could equal Pachamama’s success, or even surpass it. Especially as the younger sister, located on King’s Road, does not serve meat.Named after the small coastal town in Peru famous for its symmetrical, synchronised surfer waves, Chicamama is quaint, bright and airy. There’s a patio that makes up for great al fresco dining when the weather is on the dry side.
More from Musings from the girl next shore »
I really like Pachamama, so when I read that Adam Rawson had opened a new spot in Chelsea called Chicama, I immediately made a resi for a dinner with our friends Shane and Ashleigh. I got a bit concerned when I read that they don’t serve any meat and that the menu is centred on seafood and veggie dishes exclusively. Shane and Stewart and the guys tend to go out, and always devour copious amounts of meat so I double checked if they would be ok to go meatless for one night only.Chicama is absolutely adorable and buzzy and even has an outdoor seating area, something that London just doesn’t have enough of.
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I had a birthday brunch at Chicama’s sister restaurant, Pachamama, last year, where Mike had demolished the highly decorated Pan Con Chicharrón burger – winner of 2015’s Slider Decider – and James 1 had got so drunk on pisco punch he’d accidentally broken someone’s arm. It had been a fun afternoon, and had firmly established Peru in Mike’s head as one of the meat capitals of the world.
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