What they say
Ayllu is a Peruvian/Japanese restaurant in the heart of Paddington’s recently rejuvenated Regent’s Canal area. Serving contemporary sharing plates, sushi, ceviche and cocktails, ‘Ayllu’ now offers an all-new discounted menu with dishes starting from as little as £5.00. A refreshing prospect I must admit, in the wake of so many establishments recently hiking their prices.
‘Ayllu,’ which takes its name from a self-sufficient and cooperative system of living used by The Incan Empire, bills its West London Restaurant as an opportunity to ‘come together with friends and family’ to take ‘time to share an experience of great food and innovative cocktails.’
Located beneath the canal-side ‘Smith’s Bar and Grill’, down a rather unassuming staircase… the actual restaurant is stylishly put together with deep green walls, moody lighting, individual lamps on the tables and some rather unusual clay lilypads mounted upon the walls.
The restaurant is quite busy for a subzero Wednesday evening in January. And it would appear that three of the other tables are celebrating birthdays on the evening we visit. I tease my husband (a Capricorn) that it must be the new discounted menu that’s lured all the thrifty goats in.
Other diners include European tourists and a young family who must be regulars because the waiter greets them like old friends.
To Eat and Drink
To drink, we share a carafe of the delicious house Sake which is served in a beautiful china carafe on crushed ice.
The menu, a mix of Japanese and Peruvian cuisine, is an intriguing combination of diverse flavours and overlapping ingredients. And the menu is vast – but since a lot of what’s on offer is essentially raw; sushi, sashimi and ceviche, I keep an open mind. We start with some Spicy Edamame and Yucas Bravas (cassava fries) which aren’t the best we’ve ever had, but are redeemed by a very moreish spicy dipping sauce.
The other dishes arrive all at once – so we share. The Spicy Salmon Roll is well made, the Beef Tataki is tasty, but a little salty. The Mixed Ceviche, however, from the Peruvian side of the menu, was perfectly balanced and came with a zingy tiger milk and crispy toasted corn.
For dessert, though my husband claims to be full, I insist on ordering the Churros and I’m glad I did, because they were delicious. Light, crispy and heavenly when dunked into the unctuous, zesty chocolate orange sauce. Of course, in the spirit of Ayllu, I’m forced to share.
The menu was interesting and whilst I’m not a hundred percent sure what is to be gained from the fusion aspect, I’m thrilled to find a new spot that serves freshly made Peruvian cuisine. And on the way home, intrigued by the concept of ‘Ayllu’, I read a little more about the demise of The Incan empire and wonder if I should have shared those Churros after all.
In a Nutshell
The new affordable menu offers some of the lowest prices in West London. If it’s value for money in a vibey restaurant atmosphere that you’re after, then you can certainly get that here.
Ayllu is located beneath Smith’s Bar and Grill at
25 Sheldon Square, Paddington, London W2 6EY