Food review: Explore Paddington’s Peruvian roots on Abbeydale Road

Food review at Pachamama on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield. Pictured is owner Juana Mau, with Jenifler Carrillo, and Yoanna Londono.
Food review at Pachamama on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield. Pictured is owner Juana Mau, with Jenifler Carrillo, and Yoanna Londono.
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A marmalade sandwich was the obvious choice to commemorate the sad passing of Paddington Bear creator Michael Bond.

Instead, we opted to tip our floppy red hats to Paddington’s cultural roots in ‘deepest, darkest Peru’.

Food review at Pachamama on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield. Pictured is the Peruvian Ajide Gallina.

Food review at Pachamama on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield. Pictured is the Peruvian Ajide Gallina.

Saving ourselves the 6,000-mile trip across the Atlantic, we dropped into Pachamama on Sheffield’s Abbeydale Road for a taste of Latin American cuisine.

Paddington Bear - who liked to store his favourite snack under his hat, is unsurprisingly not big in Peru, owner Juana Mau, who hails from Chiclayo, close to Peru’s Pacific coastline, tells us.

But while there were no marmalade sandwiches on the menu, she was offering customers free coffee when we visited, as a mark of respect to the Paddington writer.

“Paddington’s not famous in Peru and when people asked me about him here at first I didn’t know who he was, but I’ve read the books now and I was a bit sad,” she said.

Food review at Pachamama on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield.

Food review at Pachamama on Abbeydale Road in Sheffield.

Juana came to Sheffield a decade ago with her husband Andy, whom she met in Peru, and they now have two children, Arturo, aged nine, and Sandia, aged five.

Having worked in the export industry for most of her life, her passion for cookery only developed after she grew homesick for the flavours of her native country.

She spent hours on the phone checking recipes with her mum, and watched countless YouTube videos in her quest to perfect the dishes she had grown up with.

Having run a series of popular pop-ups, she took the plunge and opened her own restaurant at the beginning of the year.

You wouldn’t know from the food on the small but perfectly polished menu that Juana is a relative newbie in the kitchen.

The ceviche is a delightfully fresh and zingy mix of marinated seafood, the tortillas with refried beans and pulled beef pack a punch, and the chicken with mole sauce (made with sesame seeds, ancho chilli and dark chocolate) strikes the perfect combination of sweet but bitter, even if the poultry itself is a touch on the dry side.

This being Latin American food, even the chocolate cake comes with chilli, cutting through the sweetness without being overpowering.

The reclaimed wooden tables, fairy lights and colourful walls stacked with cookery books give the place a relaxed, homely vibe.

And at just £33 for a three-course meal for two (it’s bring your own bottle), this is value to shout about from the top of the Andes, or at least Sheffield’s hills.

Star rating rating out of five

Food: 4

Service: 4

Atmosphere: 4

Value: 5

Three more to choose from

LA MAMA, ABBEYDALE ROAD

LA VACA, BROOMHILL
AMIGOS, LONDON ROAD