Pachamama in Marylebone
Peruvian-inspired restaurant Pachamama, in the heart of Marylebone, introduces its new weekend brunch menu just in time for spring.
The 118-cover restaurant can be found tucked away on the lower ground floor behind an unassuming front door on Thayer Street, decorated in a rustic, shabby-chic style, with worn wooden floors and furniture. Hanging lampshades, exposed brick walls ornamented with frames and bookcases, and knick-knacks in every corner help diners feel instantly at home. Filled with bright light, it’s an earthy setting with plenty of hanging plants giving a greenhouse feel, honouring the restaurant’s name and the Mother Earth deity to which it makes reference.
Choosing to begin our brunch with a drink, we opt for the popular Bellini with a twist: made with Peruvian chicha morada and topped with prosecco, it has a sweet, mulled wine flavour, with a lightly syrupy texture that remains refreshing and easy to drink. Together with this, we enjoy the Smoked Cheddar Tequeños, a light spring roll filled with béchamel, smoked cheddar and feta, and served with a yellow chilli sauce. Lightly glazed in a caramel sauce, the dish offers a diversity of flavour with every bite, as the creamy and salty filling is cut by sweetness and liberal heat from the chilli.
The Hot Smoked Salmon is beautifully presented as a warming bowl filled with edible flowers, micro herbs and grass-green barley, adorned with a perfectly poached egg. Though it doesn’t meet its peers in flavour, with less seasoning and a blander turnout, it is still pleasing, the tender salmon flaking willingly under the fork alongside silkiness created by the runny egg yolk stirred in. The barley is still firm to the bite, with a lovely hum of wild garlic that has just come into season and showcases Pachamama’s use of ingredients available right here in the UK.
The second substantial entrée is the Pan con Chicharrón, made with a Galician beef patty, pork belly chicharrón, ají rocoto ketchup, ají amarillo mustard and salsa criolla. Served in a sweet cream bun, it is well balanced and juicy with a zing and freshness from red onions and herbs, and a salty kick from the pork that tops the beef. It is, however, served medium-rare without warning, which may displease some patrons.
Accompanying our mains are Caramelised Sweet Potato and Aubergine, Smoked Yoghurt, Pecans. The former is a sweet and smooth purée with a strong garlic flavour that adds earthy sweetness, and an element of fun and crunch from toasted corn kernels. The latter, strongly (and, rightly so) recommended by restaurant staff, offers soft and delicate pieces of aubergine coated in a ground achiote paste that is dark and rich, lifted by a cool and sweeter yoghurt.
With little room to spare, but with plenty of determination, we decide to end our meal at Pachamama on a sweet note, opting to try their famous gluten-free waffles. The Peanut Butter, Grilled Plantain, Cacao Nibs, Coconut, Peanuts option, made with quinoa flour, delivers more than promised, and is instantly promoted to the star dish of the day. With a light batter and just the right amount of crunch from crushed nuts, each bite is a joy to eat. The sliced plantain is soft but not mushy, while the peanut butter that generously coats the waffle leaves behind a rich and salty sauce that is far superior to any typical jarred kind.
Summoning the colours, textures and tastes of the season, the new and inviting spread of dishes on offer at Pachamama is sure to delight both new and more seasoned brunch-eaters. Served tapas style, with food arriving in waves, it is easy to take time over each beautifully presented and carefully considered dish, and stay a while in the relaxed setting.
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To book a table at Pachamama, 18 Thayer Street W1U 3JY, call 020 7935 9393 or visit here.