Peruvian small plates at Chicama

The name of this Chelsea restaurant originates from a coastal town in Peru, which is fitting considering that the menu is completely centred on seafood. I first heard of Chicama whilst reading Time Out Magazine on the tube and I immediately wanted to visit. The name was added to my long list of places I want to eat in and ultimately forgotten about, until now.

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I rarely venture to Chelsea, I work in the City so it’s easy to pop to Shoreditch or Soho to meet pals or back up home, in North London. A few weeks ago I found myself in West London as I was headed to The Bletchley (a spy-themed cocktail bar), and needed somewhere quick to grab a bite.

The interior could have been lifted straight out of a Wes Anderson film and placed into Chelsea. A marble top bar divides the open kitchen and dining area with dusky pink velvet seating, illuminated by lamps which hang from the ceiling.

We were seated at the bar, overlooking the kitchen, and started the long process of trying to decide what to order…

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The idea is to order 2-4 dishes each and share, and I’d note that it’s not very cheap, but their food is a knockout. The flavours are fresh with bold Peruvian spices, marinades and sauces. From the selection of small plates, we ordered the salmon ceviche which was served with grapefruit and pickled onion. Potentially my favourite dish of the evening, the little cubes of fish were perfectly sized and was beautifully complemented by the citrusy spicy sauce it was served in.

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In a bid to get in some greens, we ordered the vegetable ceviche, half of the veg was served raw and the other half was cooked. My favourite element of the dish was the asparagus which was served battered.

There’s a selection of fish on offer which is done over the charcoal grill (and grilled seafood always takes me back to seaside dining with my family so I couldn’t resist). We opted for the sea bass, the quality of the fish was gorgeous and was cooked to perfection, as it flaked off fabulously off the bone. We also ordered a side of the avocado jalapeño sauce, which was so smooth and perfectly completed the fish.

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It’s a shame we didn’t have time to eat more as we were rushing to make it to The Bletchley on time. I’m dying to try the tapioca marshmallows (deep-fried fish cubes with parmesan)… so I guess I have to add Chicama back onto my list of places that I want to eat in.

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Chicama, 383 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW10 0LP

 

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Tombo: Sushi and Matcha Cafe

Japanese food is definitely one of my favourite cuisines, so when Serena presented me with the opportunity presented to visit Tombo, I jumped at the chance.

It’s situated in South Kensington and tucked away from the hustle and bustle from the tube station. It labels itself as ‘London’s first authentic Japanese cafe and delicatessen’ and offers a Japanese twist on traditional European delicatessen dishes (and the majority have the addition of Matcha). Tombo is incredibility sleek  and welcoming, and you can choose to either sit by the large front window and watch the world go by, or dine in the more relaxed restaurant at the rear of the cafe.

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They pride themselves on creating healthy dishes using top quality ingredients. They do this through their healthy six which comprises of seaweed, miso, tofu, multigrain rice, seasame seeds and matcha. It’s perfect for someone who doesn’t want to feel guilty for over-indulging in this food paradise.

You can’t really go wrong with what you order. Serena ordered a eclectic mix of salmon avocado maki, prawn tempura temaki, and a hijiki seaweed salad, whereas I went for the salmon sashimi don. My dish was served in a bowl and at the bottom was a combined of rice and mixed black rice, and then it was topped with salmon sashimi, salmon tartare, salmon roe and avocado. We washed our dishes down with a iced matcha latte.

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Now you can’t go to Tombo and not get desert – their menu is an incredible, and it’s the sort of the menu which makes it hard to decide what to have. We ended up going to the Matcha soft-serve and the flavours were perfect with an earthy-sweetness. If you ever visit Tombo, make sure you leave room for pudding because it’s definitely a highlight.

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I was overjoyed when I discovered a second Tombo is opening in Soho this summer as I no longer have to trek to the other side of London to get my matcha fix.

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Tombo, 29 Thurloe Pl, London SW7 2HQ, nearest tube South Kensington