It actually wasn’t until last year that I discovered how rather wonderful ceviche, and Peruvian cuisine in general, is. Another party I’m late to. Last year, Katy and I paid a visit to Senor Ceviche for a lovely, pisqu sour-filled brunch date, and ever since, I’ve been determined to get more Peruvian food in my belly.
The night before I went on my solo trip to Iceland, Conor and I indulged in a lil’ bit of a date night dinner. While I’d been aimlessly scrolling on social, I’d spotted a Tweet to win a three course meal at Pisqu, London – and one RT later, I was all booked up for our prize meal.
For our first course, we both chose the Ceviche Pisqu – featuring a line up of sea bass, sweet potato, lime, coriander, tiger’s milk and Inca corn. Me because I BLOODY LOVE ceviche; Conor because he’s never tried ceviche. It turns out he doesn’t share my enthusiasm to it, so I basically had my bowl AND his.
Which was a VERY GOOD THING, because it was actually delicious. The sharpness of the lime contrasted perfectly with the smooth tiger’s milk, the sea bass tasted incredibly fresh, and quite honestly, I could easily have polished off a third bowl.
My main course was the Chicharron, two delicious and decently-sized slabs of confit pork belly, with a crisp crackling that was incredibly satisfying to crunch into. The pork flesh itself was much softer, tender and with a good meaty flavour.
The sweet potato mash on the side of both dishes was weirdly served cold, which could be a normal Peruvian way of serving it, but it honestly didn’t float my boat at all. It worked much better with the ceviche, but with a hot dish, it wasn’t a combination I enjoyed.
Despite not being the most Insta-worthy plate, the beef on Conor’s Lomo Saltado dish was really well cooked, and the only complaint was that there’d been more of it. Unfortunately though, the chips were overcooked and uninspired – the rice was fine, but in a restaurant, you’d hope it’d be pretty hard to actually get rice wrong…
With a hit-and-miss main course behind us, dessert had the potential to impress. And my Amazonian Chocolate Mousse With Matcha ice cream did just that. From the moment the creamy mousse began to melt on my tongue, the rich cocoa taste tickled all the right tastebuds. Seriously dreamy, and perfect with a touch of the light matcha ice cream and some juicy, ripe berries. Highly rated.
The Alfajores, a traditional Peruvian biscuit with a dulce de leche filling, were also enjoyable. Strangely reminiscent of jammy dodgers in terms of biscuit taste (but with the dulce de leche rather than jam, of course), they were tasty to bite into. However, the dish as a whole lacked in terms of portion size – two or three more of these small bites would have gone down a treat.
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Honestly, I don’t think Pisqu lived up to the high expectations I had for it. Don’t get me wrong – the atmosphere was nice, the big open windows prime for people watching, and the pisqu sour cocktails were bang on. There are definitely areas in which Pisqu excel, and offer some great flavour combinations and really good quality fish in the ceviche. However, some of the more unusual combinations are also what tended to let the dishes down slightly. If you’re looking for Peruvian cuisine in London, Pisqu definitely isn’t your worst bet – but it’s also not your best.
23 Rathbone Pl, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1HZ