Boy am I one happy blogger right now. I went to my first ALL PERUVIAN RESTAURANT since I touched down in the UK, four months ago. It’s the moment I had been waiting for…and it didn’t disappoint.
Tito’s Peruvian Restaurant in London Bridge, is one of the main Peruvian restaurants in London. London has a fair amount of South or Latin American restaurants, but very few which are solely Peruvian. Tito’s are aware of this too, calling themselves “the representatives of this flavoursome cuisine”, and have been established since 2003.
Tito’s is a family run restaurant, situated in London Bridge, just around from the station. I was apprehensive from looking at the website (with it’s “Machu Picchu tour company” look) but when we turned up to the large two floor restaurant, with Peruvian decor, music and a good buzz, I sighed with relief.
Unfortunately, despite our reservation for two, we were ushered upstairs, to the large chilly area, with tables not laid and no atmosphere. I was too impatient to wait for a table downstairs, so we made do, and waited eagerly for the menu.
We were offered Pisco Sours, the Peruvian classic made of Pisco brandy, lime, sours and egg whites, and Cusquena cervezas. I went straight for the Pisco, whilst my boyfriend went for the beer.
The menu was as Peruvian as it gets, without including Guinea Pig. Offering a great selection of Peruvian appetisers: ceviche, Papa al Huancaina (potatoes with milky cheese sauce), Yuca Frita (fried casava), Causa Rellena, Papa Rellena (potato stuffed with beef and raisins), empanadas and calamari. Well, there was no way that we weren’t going to try the Ceviche Mixto, but we also ordered the Yuca Frita served with a classic Huancaina sauce.
The ceviche, was deliciously refreshing. It came out, classically presented (my photo doesn’t do it justice) served with sweet potato and corn on the cob. Sure, the corn on the cob isn’t quite the same has the huge maize kernels you get in Lima, but it’s tastier! The fresh cod, prawns, mussels and squid, all mixed in a zesty marinade. It was heavy on the lime, and a little heavy on the chilli also, but for a ceviche lover, it hit the mark.
The Yuca Frita choice, was really because there’s few other places to try casava. The tougher, drier version of the potato, does lend itself to being fried and dipped. Although, maybe it was still a little too dry. The salsa, typically Peruvian, made from milk, cheese and aji amarillo was deliciously creamy and flavoursome. I could have dipped anything into it…I may have even chosen it over mayonnaise with chips (shock horror).
So with our starters being a hit, let’s move on to our mains. I already knew exactly what I was going to go for: Aji de Gallina. This is one of my favourite Peruvian dishes that I tried out there. I originally described it as a “cheesy creamy curry”, on my first discovery. I’ll now attempt to elaborate on that a little.
Gallina is shredded hen, in a cheesy, peppery sauce made with aji amarillo (of course), cheese, milk, pepper, chilli, and nuts. Full of flavour and not at all hot like a curry, it is a rich and filling main. The chicken used was soft and tender, lending itself well to the thick creamy sauce. As you can see from the photo, it was presented with egg and olives, also a typical Peruvian accompaniment. Whilst the dish was delicious, there was something missing from how I remember it. Maybe it was the texture, maybe it was that the ingredients are slightly different being over here. Who knows, but I’d still highly recommend it.
Other than my choice, there were a number of other classic dishes to choose from: Lomo Saltado (classic South American fried steak with onions and peppers), Seco de Cordero (Lamb in coriander sauce) and a variety of fried rice dishes displaying Peru’s influence from the Orient. However, we tried the Pato en Aji, a leg of duck cooked in a spicy chilli sauce, apparently.
The sauce was definitely not as spicy as it was made out to be. I had never tried this dish before, but usually Peruvian food isn’t generally heavy on hot chillies. I enjoyed the sauce, not being much of a hot spicy person, but it wasn’t as exciting for my boyfriend as it could have been. For me, the selling point of the dish is the duck, a favourite meat of mine, as it was cooked beautifully. Served with rice and yellow beans, it made a hearty filling meal, rather than an exotic one.
All in all, the food was great. If only I had a larger stomach (and bank balance) to try out more dishes! As for the price, our bill only came to approximately £45 for two people, two courses and two drinks. The service was poor, but don’t let that put you off, it was a Friday night after all, and the our waitress was very friendly.
Head over to Tito’s on a week night, to get your authentic taste of Peruvian food (and to sit downstairs!). After all, it’s the food that matters, and this is clearly what Tito’s focusses on. It gets a big thumbs up from a real Peruvian food fanatic, and I’ll be back.
To view Tito’s Peruvian Restaurant’s website and menu click here.