Pop-up restaurants have taken the capital by storm; eating at temporary, makeshift restaurants with a one-off set menu is in vogue. They usually only run for a month or two and book up fast. As quickly as they ‘pop-up’, they then disappear, before relocating to another place. Pop-ups are a great way for restaurateurs to experiment with different menus or try out new business ideas.
There are many kinds of pop-ups (not confined to food and drink either) specialising in all kinds of different cuisines from around the world. Peruvian food is pretty hot right now, so it was only natural for Sñr Ceviche to put together a combination of pop-ups and experimental Peruvian food.
In May, Sñr Ceviche popped up in West London at The Imperial Arms pub on the New Kings Road. For one day every week, for a month, Señor and “the Ritas” put on a Peruvian fiesta of fresh and exciting food and tangy cocktails. Having missed out on their appearance in East London last Autumn, I was desperate to get a table this time. Even though organising a chaotic party of 5+ girls was difficult, Señor Harry worked really hard to find us a table at relatively short notice (it really does book up quickly).
At £25 for a 4 course set menu, it’s a pretty standard deal for a pop-up. Naturally, a classic Peruvian ceviche was to make an appearance but I was curious to find out what these Confit Duck Lollipops with Umeboshi and Miso were all about. With my friends not being all that familiar with real Peruvian food, I was interested to find out what their impressions would be…
The girls were instantly sold on the Pisco Sours and the sweet and sticky duck lollipops – a perfect aperitif. I never had duck when I was in Peru and I certainly have never had it on sticks, but it was clear that Sñr Ceviche’s menu drew on Peruvian food’s Asian influence with more of an exotic experimentation.
Next came the tangy Señor Ceviche with crispy chilli squid as a garnish.
This take on the classic ceviche was given a little something extra with the lightly battered squid and juicy king prawns. The portion was a little small but just enough to cleanse the palate after the rich sickly sweet sauce of the duck lollipops. For some of the girls this was the first taste of ceviche and it was a complete success, hence the portion complaints.
But these complaints didn’t last long when the show-stopping main course came out…
The Parrillada de Carne consisted of slow-cooked shredded pork brioche buns with a spicy coleslaw and salsa criolla, accompanied by some of the tastiest rosemary salt papas fritas I’ve ever had and a creamy but spicy Rocotto mayonnaise.
The previous courses were clearly just a warm-up. There was so much to love about this course. The slow-cooked pork was beautifully seasoned, with a hint of Asian flavours and pungent coriander. The spicy rawslaw gave it a tangy kick which balanced out the sweet brioche bun. The hand-cut chips were beautifully seasoned with rosemary salt.
We couldn’t decide what was better, all our pretend carb worries went out of the window when we polished off all the brioche and every single last chip there was.
We asked for a well-needed short break before our postre was to arrive. From looking at the menu, I wasn’t entirely sure what picarones were, but I was certainly excited for the Dulce de Leche ice cream, so I was keen to see what appeared. What arrived in front of me was a rather phallic looking churro!
Not one to be put off by appearances, I was pleased to find that picarones are like churros or doughnuts but made with sweet potato and squash (got to love a health dessert!). Deep-fried and dipped in cinnamon sugar, these light and fluffy doughnuts were just perfect after the full three courses!
At the end of the night we were full of food and drunk on the lively atmosphere that Señor and the Ritas worked hard to create (the Pisco Sours and Cusqueña beers had nothing to do with it!)
I fully recommend catching Sñr Ceviche when they next return to London; for a fun but laid-back evening of experimental Peruvian food and a party atmosphere, you really can’t go wrong. My Señoritas and I give it a big thumbs up.
Sñr Ceviche, http://www.snrceviche.co.uk (Twitter: @snrceviche)
Price: £25 for 4 courses