Founded about two years ago by Harry Edmeades, the concept started as a three-day pop-up at The Art Cellar, and went on to perform stints at The Doodle Bar and Dukebox.
The menu includes a variety of ceviches, all with a different tiger’s milk base: The Spaniard – Señor Ceviche’s take on paella, has a saffron and tomato tiger’s milk, and crispy chicken skin and hot chorizo topping the raw fish base; while the signature Señor Ceviche has an Aji Amarillo tiger’s milk and crispy tempura baby squid on top.
Edmeades told BigHospitality that he hoped the contrasting textures and flavours of the restaurant’s ceviches would set it apart from the flurry of Peruvian venues that have set shop in the capital in recent years (most recently, Pachamama in Marylebone).
“Menu-wise, that will hopefully set us apart, and off-menu, we’re very non-pretentious, very casual, with bright, young and fun branding. That’s reflected in the way we treat our staff and customers, but also in the ambience that we create, the design and music.”
The menu also includes a selection of Peruvian BBQ specials such as the slow-cooked Pachamanca pork ribs with pink pickled cabbage and super chicken with rocoto chilli mayonnaise.
Drink-wise, a cocktail menu largely focused on Peru’s national drink, Pisco, comes alongside broader South American favourites, as well as drinks and wine.
Edmeades explained that he originally tested recipes on friends and family members, and cooked for friends’ engagements and weddings before doing pop-ups, but it’s only after the concept proved successful that he took his first trip to Peru.
“A few Peruvian restaurants had just opened when we did the Art Cellar, and although everyone was still doing burgers and chicken, we wanted to do something different. When we released our name, a lot of people hadn’t even heard of ceviche, but being chefs, we were clued up on it.
“There was obviously a bit of risk but people took to it and it went really well. So many Peruvian restaurants have opened over the last two years and hopefully it’s going to keep growing,” he said.
While in Lima, Edmeades spent some time working at El Mercado, a restaurant renowned for its ceviche recipe, and exploring the Barranco district – a former colonial area with a variety of markets.
“Barranco is what we’ve actually based the concept and design of the restaurant on. It was colonised by the Spanish, so there’s a lot of colonial architecture.
“It’s all sort of run down now but there are lots of street markets with fish and vegetables, so we incorporated this street vibe and colonial architecture in the woods and brick work we’re using across the venue. We were trying to give a little slice of Lima to the central London public. It’s reflected in our design but also in our food and drinks,” he said.
Coming back from Peru, Edmeades did more pop-ups to test out the recipes developed overseas.
“I was pretty set on opening a restaurant – we had a good following and exposure in the press, so we wanted to expand on the brand. The pop-ups helped us test out our new recipes and ideas, and we sold out at all our events. We then started tying in with live music – we had cool Latin and Cuban bands coming to play throughout the evening.”
Though the 70-cover Soho venue doesn’t have a live music licence yet, it is something he is looking at incorporating in the future.
Edmeades is already looking for a second site, either around Shoreditch or Notting Hill, and expects to have opened four to five sites within the next five years.