After collabing with Kris Yenbamroong of cult LA Thai spot, NIGHT + MARKET to bring Chet’s to The Hoxton, Shepherd’s Bush, the hotel group has now brought an East Coast import to East London with Llama Inn. The Peruvian restaurant, headed up by Juan Correa and chef Erik Ramirez, is a cult fave across the pond in Brooklyn having racked up the awards (including a Bib Gourmand and a place on the New York Times’ Top 100 Restaurants list in 2023) and praise for its fun and creative take on Peruvian cuisine.
The Shoreditch outpost is on the seventh floor of The Hoxton, Shoreditch, taking over the space that was previously home to Soho House’s Mexican joint Maya. There’s a dedicated entrance through the yellow door on Willow Street, so you don’t have to go through the hotel – look for the llama graphic to get in the right lift. It’s a lovely space, filled with plants, terracotta tiles, mid-century furniture, and booth seating opposite the long bar, with tables and an open-air terrace at the back.
The ethos of the Williamsburg original has been transferred to London with a menu shaped by Erik’s Peruvian-American upbringing. The kitchen is headed up by chef Marcin Maliczowski who previously worked at Yakumanaka in Barcelona, led by celebrated Peruvian chef Gastón Acurio, and he’s turning out a take on modern Peruvian food that’s not commonly seen in the capital – yes there’s ceviche and anticuchos on the menu but there’s plenty of less familiar ingredients and flavour combos.
Snacks of charred cabbage with a moreish saikyo miso dressing and sprinkle of quinoa furikake and oozing corn and smoked mozzarella croquettes are the perfect way to kick off with a pisco sour or two. The NYC restaurant is known for its killer cocktails created by bar director Natasha Bermudez and some of the faves, like the ‘Chupetini (one shot martini)’ and the pisco, rum and red wine ‘Llama Del Rey’, have made the journey over to London.
It’s a pleasingly concise menu so you can try a fair few of the dishes (though we skipped ‘the show must go on’ section as these are designed for 3-4 to share). The scallop and dragon fruit ceviche is undoubtedly the standout, a monochrome stunner that nods to Nikkei cuisine with nori crackers and yuzu kosho, along with meaty pieces of scallop in a thick, zesty sauce. We also loved the crispy squid, served with a citrusy corn and yuca ceviche for dipping; the zucchini caucau (a stew normally made with tripe but turned veggie here), with aji amarillo and turmeric-rich, curry-like sauce around the courgettes, served with bread for scooping up and sharp onions to freshen it up; and the caramelised pork chop with a zingy cucumber salad and green sauce.
We opted for just one dessert, the lucuma tart with miso manjar blanco (a Peruvian dulce de leche) and matcha, which was one giant sugar hit. Lucuma, a fruit native to South America, is sweet, tasting like a mix of butterscotch and sweet potato, the manjar blanco is sweet, the pastry is sweet, with only a light dusting of matcha providing any kind of counterpoint (it’s a tart crying out for something tart) so approach with caution unless you’ve got a major sweet tooth.
The food and drink offering is more than exciting enough on its own to draw you into Llama Inn but the rooftop location, and its views of the East London skyline, is the cherry on top.
1 Willow St, London EC2A 4BH