Pachakutiq is a Peruvian gastronomic bar and restaurant that I previously reviewed when they first opened as a small pop-up, taking over the evening shift of Cafe Flatwhite in the CBD Dawanglu at China Central Place.
Now, they have expanded their menu offerings and moved into a new location in Sanlitun SOHO so I was keen to get down there and see what developments have been made.
I had known that they moved from their very temporary pop-up shop to a permanent space in the B1 level of Sanlitun SOHO, which is a big step for them. But I didn’t realize that the new restaurant is still in collaboration with Cafe Flatwhite, so once again the space is a Cafe Flatwhite by day and morphs into Pachakutiq by night. The main difference is that this time the space has a better (and larger) kitchen so the menu has significantly expanded.
Inside, it feels a little weird. Part of this is down to Sanlitun SOHO which isn’t known to be well-designed or well-managed. However, part of this is due to the fact that they have yet again spliced a cafe with a Peruvian restaurant. The result is always going to be incoherent. As a pop-up, your expectations were pre-set and it was actually quite well-done, but as a permanent space, it just looks half-baked. The photos of the space’s exterior and interior speak for themselves.
LDS Snapshots of Pachakutiq’s New Set-Up at Sanlitun SOHO:
An illuminated “Cafe Flatwhite” Sign and Floor to Ceiling Banner of their Food Offerings Overshadows Pachakutiq’s Signage
This Giant Poster Greets You Upon Arrival
A Flag and Some Artwork Unsuccessfully Mask the Space that Serves as Cafe Flatwhite’s Ordering Counter
Some Artwork on the Walls and Colorful Tablecloths
Looking over their new menu, their signature drinks are still featured prominently (as they should be!)- Pisco sours galore and some speciality Peruvian drinks that you won’t be able to find elsewhere. Their pitchers look like a great option if you are going with a group.
The food has some really interesting creative notes along with some very creative descriptive skills.
The Nikkei Tiradito and the Glazed Pork with Taro Mash were unusual in a good way. Well presented, well thought out and well-executed.
On the other hand the Lomo Saltado – billed as tenderloin steak with fried potatoes, turns out to be steak chunks over a pile of fries. Needless to say, this was not what we expected and fell short of expectations.
The Hot Ceviche was an interesting idea that suffered from poor execution. Ceviche in a dish with a super heated rock that should then in theory heat the broth that is subsequently poured on, this just didn’t materialise. We ended up with a spicy and tasty, but luke-warm soupy ceviche. Having said that, with a few tweaks, this dish has a lot of potential. The flavours were sharp – spicy, tangy and savoury. The dish just suffered from the tepid broth!
LDS Snapshots of Pachakutiq’s Peruvian Dishes:
Nikkei Tiradito with Tuna, Cucumber, Yuzu Sauce, Scallions, Fried Quinoa (RMB 65)
Lomo Saltado with Beef Tenderloin, Tomato, Aji Amarillo, Onion, Vinegar, Coriander, Fried Potato (RMB 80)
Hot Ceviche with Octopus, Prawns, Scallops, Seabass, Garlic, Aji Amarillo, Lime, Chili, Onion, Red Pepper, Tomato, Tiger’s Milk and “Hot” Rock Sauce (RMB 120)
Glazed Pork Parmesan Cheese and Taro Puree (RMB 75)
Crema Volteada – Peruvian Crème Caramel with Condensed and Evaporated Milk, Eggs, Sugar & Vanilla (RMB 40)
For dessert we tried the Crema Volteada. This one split opinion down the middle. My foodie partner loved the thick and stodgy texture and flavor, but I think I was hoping for a smoother, silkier Creme Caramel, which this definitely wasn’t.
So, with a more convenient location and a couple of intriguing offerings, it is worth a try. Our bill for two was RMB 380, which would normally be a fair sum, but it seems pricey considering how casual the atmosphere and service is. While the food is interesting and for the most part quite tasty, the dining ambiance is lacking. You’re essentially sitting in a Cafe Flatwhite that has hastily thrown up some Peruvian wallpaper and a few flags.
And their service was non-existent. While we enjoyed Francisco’s passionate introduction at their original Pop-Up in CBD’s China Central Place, there were only two people working behind the ordering counter the night we went (which is fine because there was only 1 other table of customers aside from us) and we still had to get up from our chairs to seek out their attention every time we wanted to order another dish or ask for the bill.
My tip would be to give it a try, but adjust your expectations regarding the set-up and go for their ceviches and tiraditos. Stick to the Peruvian Nikkei classics, down a couple of Pisco Sours and you can overlook the rest that falls short.
Pachakutiq’s Contact Details:
Address: Cafe Flat White, B1/F, Sanlitun SOHO, 8 Gongti Bei Lu
Opening Hours: Daily from 17:30-late