Don’t you just love it when places live up to expectations!? I’d been excited to go to Pachamama for what felt like forever – it had been arranged and booked for almost a month as Marcus had a busy tournament period and we had a few other brunches lined up but it was so, SO worth the wait.
When I put Pachamama into maps I was pretty surprised at how central it was – just a couple of minutes’ walk from Selfridges, and when we got there I was even more surprised at how tiny the front was! There was a solitary glass door with a wooden board outside but apart from that there was no branding or even a hint of what awaited besides a couple of menus pinned up.
Inside it’s a whole different story though – it’s absolutely incredible! As soon as you enter you go down a wooden staircase and it opens out into the most beautiful underground room. The whole room is so pretty; wooden floors with plaster and exposed brick walls, with a half-finished look and quirky decor creating a lovely atmosphere. Marcus thought it had more of a feminine vibe but I don’t think it’s uncommon for brunch places to feel that way (as there are often large groups of women!) and there were plenty of mixed groups and couples there too. Everything was presented beautifully with perfect attention to detail – pastel pink menus were waiting on our table with beautiful pale green pastel plates and a glass vase with little white gyp flowers (I’m totally clueless about flowers – I only knew the name because we’d looked at wedding flowers a few weeks ago!). Like a lot of good brunch spots there was a lively atmosphere with some long tables for bigger groups, but there were also plenty of smaller tables and higher tables with bar stools too.
Obviously I was most excited about the waffles – particularly the sweet ones of course! – but as usual I started off with some of their savoury options. We were brought flat whites almost immediately, those too served in beautiful pastel green mugs. The coffee was lovely – not the best or the prettiest I’ve had but it was lovely and strong and we were more than happy to have several cups to wash down our brunch!
To start we got cheddar tequenos, chicken anticuchos, fried chicken waffles, caramelised sweet potato and a hot smoked salmon bowl. All of the food came quickly, with the exception of the hot smoked salmon bowl. You know that feeling when they bring every dish but one and you feel like it’s been that long that they must have forgotten it!? That was it. We occupied ourselves munching on one of the chicken waffles (while I tried to be a good blogger and not eat the rest of the food!) and it was amazing. I’m not a huge fan of fried chicken (yep I’m weird; I don’t like KFC at all!!) but the waffle was insanely good. I chose a quinoa waffle and it was beautiful – was light, fluffy and soft with a subtle savoury undertone – I would’ve happily eaten it on its own!
The hot smoked salmon, when it eventually came, was lovely – the barley was a perfect side, cooked al dente in a lovely creamy sauce. I’ve never had barley before but I think it was similar to spelt in size and texture and I loved it. The sauce was a vibrant green; the menu mentioned wild garlic – I couldn’t taste any if I’m being honest but it was still delicious. My only fault with that dish was that the egg was too runny. I’m all for a runny yolk (obviously!) but for me at least the white has to be cooked – this was more like a minute egg with the white almost still translucent, the whole thing barely even holding its shape so it just disintegrated into the rest of the dish.
If I’m being fussy another non perfect plate were the chicken skewers. I found them too salty.. all of the non-waffle dishes we were served were generally quite salty but these were too much. The sauce was lovely and the meat was tender but truthfully for me it was all overwhelmed by the saltiness.
The cheddar tequenos were delicious though. I didn’t know what to expect as I had no idea what a tequeno was but I was sold on the cheese part and when it came I certainly wasn’t disappointed – it was fried cheese wrapped in pastry! How can you go wrong with fried cheese!? Add crispy spring roll-like pastry and you’re onto an absolute winner!
The caramelised sweet potato was a hit too. Not what I was expecting – I’d imagined sticky caramelised onion/honey glazed sweet potato cubes but we were served a beautifully smooth bowl of sweet potato purée, topped with deliciously crunchy corn kernels which added much needed texture (and a surprisingly spicy kick too!).
Very satisfied by the mains, we moved onto the highlight of the meal – the sweet waffles. While we were deciding we were brought more coffees but we since one of the options sadly contained peanuts it was a pretty simple decision – we got berries, ginger yogurt, seeds and yacon syrup on a sweet potato waffle and Peruvian chocolate, toasted quinoa ice cream and a cacao crumb on a quinoa waffle. They came quickly and they were absolutely beautiful! Most importantly they tasted every bit as amazing as they looked and I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that they’re up there with the best waffles I’ve ever had. Of course I knew the waffles were going to be good; I’d already had a savoury one earlier on but the toppings made them even more divine!! The Peruvian chocolate literally tasted like chocolate ganache, the cacao crumb added texture and the ice cream was beautifully smooth and creamy. It had an almost peanutty taste to it which was mind blowing for me (peanut flavour without the reaction!) – Marcus definitely panicked when he first tried it! Predictably the chocolate one probably was my favourite.. but only just – and possibly only because of our choice of waffle base. The berries were light and fresh, I love ginger as a flavour and the syrup was sweet and delicious. Based on how amazing the two waffles we had were, I’d definitely advise splitting the third with a friend – peanut butter, grilled plantain, cacao nibs, coconut and peanuts sounds like the dream for all you peanut butter lovers.. if only they swapped peanut out for almond and I’d have ordered five!
Of the two types I definitely preferred the quinoa waffles. I wouldn’t have expected it and I have no idea how quinoa was involved but they were incredible – soft, sweet and savoury all at the same time where the sweet potato was (as you can imagine) much more dense.
I can’t recommend this place enough – I mean their brunch menu revolves around waffles!! Seriously though.. beautiful interiors, pretty plates and bloody good flavour packed food – what more could you want!? 🙂
Link to their website: http://pachamamalondon.com