If you’re yearning for something different but like to remain in the safe haven of South West London, head to Chicama, a new Peruvian inspired delight on the Kings Road.
Ah, Chelsea—one of the prime locations in London for watching the world and his (very glamourous) wife go by. Chicama is nestled in the nook of the Kings Road—opposite my favourite hairdresser Lockonego as it happens—just where it kinks round towards World’s End. The Peruvian inspired set up is from the team behind one of my favourite other restaurants in London, Pachamama, up in Marylebone. Chicama acquired its name from a beach on the north coast of Peru, and this rings true with the rustic interior décor and zingy fresh dishes.
Start with a cocktail, a Pisco Sour will hit the right spot and compliment any small plates you have to start. The Barberola cocktail is their signature and not to be missed either – a dangerous but delicious concoction of Barsol Pisco, rhubarb and cherry.
WHAT TO EAT
The head chef, Tiago Duarte, is ex Roka, Zuma and Chiltern Firehouse so you are in extremely safe hands.
To accompany your cocktails, try the popped corn monkfish cheeks with ají amarillo mayo – so delectable were these, that we swiftly ordered another portion.
Ceviche cannot be ignored on the main menu, opt for the sea bream ceviche with grilled peach, radish, basil in white tiger’s milk with jalapeño (note—not actual tiger’s milk before you embarrass yourself with the waiter) which tastes so vibrant and different it was impossible to make even small talk when this was still in front of me.
Another highlight was the blackened octopus with confit potato, sundried tomato chimichurri and cauliflower. Nice to mix up the hot and cold small sharing dishes and the veggies among you can rejoice as the fried aubergine with plantain miso came with pecans and easily competed with some of the fish dishes. Fresh grilled fish is also an option to share, and is delivered daily from the Cornish coast, sadly we couldn’t try this as it had run out…a good sign of popularity and freshness, we assumed.
Mismatched chairs and tables add charm and there is a definite relaxed atmosphere. No white tablecloths to be seen.
Outside if it’s a balmy evening, but they have heaters for chillier months.
Book a long table for a bigger group celebration, perfect with sharing plates and flowing cocktails. I’ll be back for sure.
Dinner from around £50 per person including drinks.
Chicama, 383 King’s Rd, London SW10 0LP (020—3874 2000; chicamalondon.com)
We visit Heston Blumenthal's pretty Tudor pub.