Places To Eat In London: Chicama, Chelsea
There are lots of places to eat in London that are Instagram famous. You see their aesthetic interiors, pretty plates and perfectly composed, flat-lay ready dishes again and again in your feed, and they become just that, Instagram hotspots. I think people forget that they’re in a restaurant. One such restaurant you’ve probably seen pop up in your feed, probably without even realising it is Chicama in Chelsea. This was the location for our first Mummy/ daughter lunch of the year, and while I did not shoot that famous ‘gram (you know which one I mean), I did take loads of photos of one of the most delicious meals with unique flavours and flawless service I’ve had for ages because I need to urge you to go. Chicama is so much more than just a pretty picture.
Depending where you get seated, you’ll get a view out onto the wrong end of the King’s Road (I call it the wrong end as it is the end you need to take a bus or an Uber to get to, or enjoy a 20 minute walk from Sloane Square, it is still perfectly lovely!), or a view into the big open kitchen where a lot of your fish is finished on a big open grill. That is one thing to note about Chicama, rather than it’s sister restaurant Pachamama in Marylebone is that they serve exclusively fish and vegetable dishes – not one to take my father to who won’t eat most things that have come out of the sea!
We started off in our window seat with a delicious bottle of Chilean white (look at those lovely wine glasses) and a plate of warm courgette and cornmeal beignets with a herb mayo and chilli jam for dipping. They were impossibly light, and while I know the nibbles to start usually get ignored on small plates menus, take a moment to order a couple. These are a must, and the popped corn monkfish cheeks with ají amarillo mayo sound delicious, and the tapioca marshmallow with ocopa sauce sounds really, really curious.
As far as cold dishes are concerned, we had two excellent, very different sharing plates: a sea bream ceviche with candy beetroot, pomegranate, and compressed cucumber, and a simply divine salad of spicy green papaya, crab, fresh herbs, sesame and crispy shallot. The ceviche was light, fresh, generous on the meat and full of earthy flavours from the beetroot you simply don’t expect in a ceviche. However, I was so in love with the papaya salad. It is something I usually order when we’re getting Thai, and all of those savoury, umami flavours you love are there. The crab was light and delicate, and this is the dish I recommend you order above all others, but I want to say the crab was not needed. The veggie elements were heroes on their own.
As a hot plate we had grilled prawns, toasted almonds and a yuzu kosho dressing. God these were excellent, plum and juicy, with a beautiful char and zing flavours. The almonds added real creaminess, and the prawns were prepared perfectly so that they were really easy to make without getting too messy.
While we’d originally planned to move onto dessert, we felt that we needed to try just one more dish from the savoury section of the menu so after lots of deliberation with our fantastically helpful server we ordered a pair of tuna tostadas served with an avocado jalapeño sauce, fried leeks, lime and radishes. This equally as beautiful plate is another must, with generous amounts of fatty, tender tuna, and punchy accompaniments. I’d happily have eaten both myself, so it your date does not fancy them, get them for yourself!
The desserts at Chicama are equally as mouthwatering/ stunning (sorry I keep on gushing in this review, but they did not put a single step wrong, and went beyond any expectations I had of our lunch!) We shared the blood orange and Campari sorbet and yoghurt parfait, enclosed by raspberry meringue shards, and a slice of sweet potato tart with a wonderfully crisp brûléed topping and served with a coconut and lime cream. The sorbets, parfaits and meringue were punchy, light and refreshing, while the tart was rich, creamy and impossibly smooth. Get both of these, if you can.
As you’ve probably noticed, I have nothing but good things to say about Chicama. Okay, so it may be a bit of a sod to get to (I put off going until I moved a half hour walk away!) but it really, really is worth going – leave your camera at home and your phone switched off in your bag! I’ll certainly be back when the weather improves and makes it an enjoyable walk – they do a killer brunch menu at weekends – and if you’re still stuck for a Mother’s Day gift (have you seen my handy gift guide?) and your Mum likes something a bit more adventurous, they offer ceviche masterclasses for two or more people.