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Journey into the Amazon with Pisqu’s head chef, William Ortiz
Nov 18th 2016 | Written by Baldwin Ho

Journey into the Amazon with Pisqu’s head chef, William Ortiz

It is fascinating to create a ‘family tree’ for chefs in the London restaurant scene, because everyone seems to be connected with everyone else. You might think the name William Ortiz sounds familiar, that is because the head chef of Pisqu is the brother to pioneering Peruvian head chef of Lima, who won a Michelin star in 2013. The bromance is very much in evidence, as Pisqu is situated virtually next to Lima Fitzrovia.

Pisqu is an informal welcoming affair; a place where you can pop in for breakfast before you start work or enjoy a late evening meal as they close just before midnight. The decor is in the vein of less is more, although there is a very alluring chandelier left over from the days when the site used to be a bar. One thing I did find awkward was sitting with my back leaning on the restaurant window; it isn’t uncomfortable but make sure you are wearing your best looking outfit.Pisqu exterior

Pisqu celebrates the fact the Peruvian cuisine has such diverse influences from Spanish, Chinese and Japanese styles and also embrace the many indigenous ingredients to Peru from the Amazon to the Andes. A common recurring theme is the use of aji peppers on the menu.

Their ceviche Pisqu has chunkier pieces of sea bass than other Peruvian restaurants in London and that distinctive citrusy taste from the tiger’s milk.Pisqu ceviche

Some people do avoid ordering chicken dishes when they are dining out fearing it might be bland or too simplistic; however their signature chicken dish here is a must order. The meat is moist, tender and beautifully flavoured with spicy amarillo salsa; the chilli gives the dish depth of flavour without the overpowering heat plus the dish comes with filling real fries.Signature marinated chicken and corn cake

The Chicharron, which is confit pork belly is another excellent dish. It isn’t overly fatty and uses one of the other highly popular chillies in Peru, which are the rocoto peppers. Peruvians love dipping all their dishes in rocoto sauce.Chicharron and corn puffs

The vegetarian options are less lengthy here but equally fascinating. Inca corn does make a regular appearance from the corn grain cake to their house salad which also uses both red and white quinoa. They are very strong on their superfood options, which doesn’t just appear on their dinner menu, but in their breakfast yoghurt pots to superfood juices. Even the dessert we had which is a sorbet containing camu camu would not meet with disapproval from your GP, as camu camu is increasingly used as a health supplement because of its high antioxidant properties. The texture of the dessert is highly interesting and resembles an ice lolly rather than a sorbet.Camu Camu sorbet

They also make some very refreshing pisco sours here; we particularly enjoyed the version with purple corn syrup. Pisqu really is a great venue you can enjoy at any time of the day.

baldwin@townfish.com

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