Nov 16 2012

Tierra Peru


This is the most traditional Peruvian restaurant in London. But it is a bit hard to rank this, because it serves traditional, home, cooked Peruvian food, and had this place been in Peru, I would have given it a much lower rating as every second restaurant would offer you this type and quality of food. But this place is in London, where you can’t really get traditional stuff (Ceviche and Lima are more fusion places and don’t really offer the true traditional Peruvian food), and because my boyfriend and I had been so desperate to recreate our Peruvian memories through food and drink and a bit disappointed when we went to Lima and Ceviche, purely because these places were adjusted for the European palette, we both really enjoyed it. Tierra Peru is located on Essex Road, which is a “not the kind of road a woman wants to be alone at night” just off Upper Street in Islington, and even though Essex Road area does not have many restaurants around there (and the ones that are there are empty), when we arrived to Tierra Peru on a Friday at 7, all the tables were full and buzzing, and I could not believe how lively a restaurant in this area could be, and as we did not have a booking we had to beg for a table as they almost could not find any space for us. I first wanted to go to Tierra Peru many many months ago, when I first started dating my boyfriend and I saw this place in his neighborhood. He was not keen to go there as he thought Tierra Peru looked dodgy and only after we had been to Peru, and also visited the other Peruvian restaurants in London, he became super keen to go there, as he just like me had fallen in love with Peruvian food, and he had been begging me for many weeks to go to Tierra Peru. What I love about the restaurant is that the sign written above the door features Nazca line symbols and also on their website you can see symbols from the very Peruvian traditional Nazca lines. Inside the restaurant there are pictures of all things Peruvian, like Machu Picchu, Cusco and Peruvian food. There is also a TV showing a movie about traditional and famous Peruvian things. When we were seated we were quick to order pisco sours, the traditional Peruvian cocktails that both of us love, and they were great (I only needed 2 and I was super happy). The menu was very traditional and I finally got to order the things I have not been able to find in Ceviche and Lima and as a starter we ordered a cebiche mixt0, the traditional Peruvian ceviche, which had pieces of fresh fish, prawns, calamari and shellfish marinated in green lime juice with red onion and cilantro served with corn kernels & both sweet & regular potato. We also shared something we thought we had not tried before, “Tamalito tradicional de Pollo”, which was  ground corn mash wrapped and steamed in banana leaves filled with chicken, olives and egg served with salsa criolla (tomato, onion, cilantro & green lime), and after we got it we realized we actually had had it in the amazon rainforest whilst on a boat trying to spot alligators. The ceviche was amazing, very traditional, better than the ceviches I had in Lima and Ceviche restaurants and the best outside of Peru I have had (apologies for the bad picture of the ceviche I took which only shows the salad leaf and does not show the actual dish, but my boyfriend was so keen to start eating this, I was under a lot of pressure to take the picture quickly). The tamalito was also nice, but heavy and starchy, so you have to enjoy this type of food to eat these kind of Peruvian dishes. For the main course we had another dish that we really enjoyed when we were in Peru, the “Aji de Gallina” which had Shredded chicken cooked in a mild sauce of aji amarillo, cream, and walnuts served with steamed rice, and the yellow chilli pepper gives the dish the yellow color. It was a nice version of the dish, unfortunately they did not give you enough chicken, and we had eaten the chicken in about 3 minutes and were left with a lot of yellow sauce, and it also did not seem as flavorsome as in Peru, but still this was a great. We also shared another main course which the waiter recommended and we had not tried before, that comes from the northern coastal side of Peru, called “Majarisco” and it had Sweet green plantain mashed, pan fried and mixed with seafood, onions, garlic, tomato & fresh cilantro. This was another starchy and quite heavy dish, but I quite enjoyed it. By this time the manager of the place came up to me and asked me which magazine I worked for, as I had been taking so many pictures (I have a new lens and I am trying to get to know how to use it, quite unsuccessfully really), and I had to explain that I was just doing a food blog for fun. I am giving this place a 1 small m smaller rating than the restaurant Lima, as even though I personally enjoyed the food more in Tierra Peru, Lima was more sophisticated, the décor was smarter and also the ingredients slightly better and more skill went in to create that fusion, but if you are just after traditional stuff, this is the place for you.

Price for 2 with 4 pisco sour cocktails and service charge: £79.98
Location: Islington
Date: 16/11/12

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Maija rated: 



Tierra Peru
164 Essex Road N1 8LY
United Kingdom
Tierra Peru Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 3