Peruvian cuisine has been one of the few major omissions from the Beijing culinary scene as it has developed over the past few years. With the recent RAW Peruvian Pop-Up by Mosto, the return of Buena Onda at the Hatchery, and now the pop-up opening of Pachakutiq in the original location of Buena Onda in China Central Place, it looks like something is catching on with Peruvian cuisine in Beijing! While all of the past and current Peruvian concepts are either set to be available for a limited time frame, we still have our fingers crossed that Peruvian cuisine will find a more permanent home in Beijing. So while it’s still a bit off and on, now is the time to get your fix.
Situated in the Cafe Flatwhite in the open courtyard space of the CBD’s China Central Place (in front of the Baccarat store and south of the Ritz-Carlton’s main entrance). Taking over the Cafe Flatwhite space every day after 5PM, this is pretty much the same deal that Buena Onda also first launched in. While it’s not necessarily convenient for those who aren’t based near the CBD, it is a great spot in the evening for a few drinks and refreshing snacks if you work in the area. But this is a Peruvian Pop-Up worthy of visiting.
Having learned from the Chia sibling team of two brothers and a sister – Francisco, Maria and Juan Carlos Chia, they were born and raised in Lima, Peru with a family history of making Pisco, they are now keen to bring their family’s Pisco to China and also open a Nikkei gastronomic bar with a Peruvian chef that comes from Osaka, one of the most famous Nikkei restaurants in Lima.
“Let me give a brief introduction of Peruvian fusion cuisine. Early settlements in Peru brought about the birth of new types of cuisines. For example, Chinese-Peruvian fusion would be called Chifa, and in the case of Japanese-Peruvian fusion, it would be called Nikkei. Pachakutiq is a Nikkei gastrobar where our menu and ingredients primarily focus on bringing Nikkei flavors to China. We brought over a Peruvian chef that previously specialized in a popular Nikkei restaurant in Peru as well.
At Pachakutiq, we focus on authentic flavors. We offer 11 dishes flavored and seasoned with ingredients and spices that until today, cannot be found in China: Lucuma only to be found in Peru, Rocoto of the Peruvian type brought over from the outskirts of Lima, and real Aji Amarillo a type of pepper from Peru, and that flavors the majority of Peruvian most famous dishes. Our Pisco menu is made only from imported Peruvian Pisco. With management and chef all from Peru, as well as the full support of the Peruvian embassy, you can be sure that we are only going to bring the most authentic flavors of Peruvian Nikkei cuisine. Even our music is primarily Peruvian (unless by request). The moment you’ve arrived, you will experience a unique Peruvian experience. If you are lucky, perhaps even get a salsa lesson from our in house Peruvian Salsa teachers.” – Francisco Chia
Exterior of Pachakutiq Pop-Up, Taking Over Cafe Flatwhite after 5PM Daily
Busy Friday Night
One Page Menu of Select Peruvian Bites & Cocktails
*Note: This Menu has now been updated to be a pretty swanky new one with photos included!
As the set-up is currently designed around this being a temporary pop-up until Pachakutiq can find a more permanent home, the limited menu currently showcases a curated list of until 10 food items (on the top half of the menu) and a range of cocktails, red and white wines, beers and non-alcoholic refreshments.
While the dishes are listed first, I’ll start with the drinks as you’ll definitely want to start off your meal with a Peruvian Pisco Sour in hand.
“At Pachakutiq we also focus on Pisco, where the know-how comes definitely from my family. Pisco is the stellar spirit, where we divide our menu on Sours, Chilcanos, and Pachas, Pachas being basically other Pisco-based drinks like Algarrobina, or the Pacha sangria, the strongest thing we have on the menu so far.”
And while you see Pisco Sour as a pretty common cocktail on most bar menus, there’s actually quite a significant difference between Peruvian and Chilean Pisco Sours and Francisco does us a favor by breaking down this difference so you can understand just how precious their Peruvian Pisco is through its unique distillation process –
“While Peruvian and Chilean Pisco share the same name, what most people don’t know (including Peruvians and Chileans), is that they are actually different spirits. Chilean Pisco is made out of a distillation of wine, which due to that second distillation will take its levels of alcohol to more than 60 degrees, and then will have water added to bring down the alcohol level to human consumption levels (similar to the distillation process of whisky, vodka, etc.). On the other hand, Peruvian Pisco is the distillation of fermented grape juice and after distillation, it goes straight into the bottle. Since it only goes through one distillation process, it comes out with the right level of alcohol for human consumption, hence, no water is added. This way of making brandy is quite unique in the world. To produce a liter of Peruvian Pisco, you will use an average of 8 kg of grapes whereas other brandies will only use about 2.5 kg of grapes.
This does not mean the Peruvian way is tastier, or better than the Chilean one, and each person is entitled to their own opinions, but this should help to explain why Peruvian Pisco is more expensive and also not always used to make a Pisco Sour cocktail. As Pachakutiq is a Peruvian concept, we only serve Peruvian Pisco Sours.”
The Classic Pisco Sour (RMB 60)
Raspberry Pisco (RMB 60)
Algarrobina (RMB 80)
The cocktails are where Pachakutiq really shines. While I have a soft spot for a proper Pisco Sour (as these certainly are!), the Algarrobina is also a really unique cocktail. Francisco described it as a type of honey, but it actually had a similar flavor to coffee but much more complex and interesting. Tough to describe, so best you just try it out yourself! Pair these drinks with some tortilla chips and some dips, this sets the stage for a relaxing post work start to your Peruvian party of flavors.
Now onto the Peruvian dishes – –
Between 5 of us, we ate our way through the entire menu twice. Part of that is because we really did enjoy it, but also because half of us showed up late and the first half didn’t feel like waiting. #foodieproblems
But what I’m really trying to say is that between 2-3 people (depending on how hungry your stomachs are), you can share and make your way through the entire menu. I think most dishes are great for sharing, but the portions aren’t massive and made to be like bar bites to accompany their Peruvian Pisco Sour or Pisco Sour variations like the Algarrobina (with Peruvian honey), Passion Sour or Raspberry Sour.
We table of foodies loved the tiradito and the chives dip for the deep fried beef spring rolls. The zesty citrus, the sharp sour kick and the subtle flavors of the fish were just right for the tiradito.
The ceviche and salmon tartar were also lovely, but weren’t fans of the Cau Cau (cow stomach stew) or the beef avocado rolls. Everyone at our table was totally open and keen to try to cow stomach stew even though their team warned us that it was designed for their Chinese guests and not so suited for foreigners. But the problem wasn’t anything to do about feeling squeamish about eating cow stomach, but that the dish was just very bland. The rice that accompanied the cow stomach was amazing as we think it cooked with butter, but the dish itself needed more flavor as we expected a yellow pepper stew to pack more of a punch. The same applied to the beef and avocado roll – we love both beef and avocado, but the dish was a bit flat. But considering that they’re making all of this with very limited space and timeframe, all of these dishes should be considered as the initial stages rather than the finished product, so here’s hoping they keep on refining the dishes on their menu as it’s clearly a solid concept with a lot of potential!
Peruvian Mix Ceviche (RMB 75)
Salmon Tartar with Mango & Avocado (RMB 60)
Beef Roll with Chimichurri sauce (RMB 45)
Cau Cau – Cow Stomach, Potato, Carrots and Peas in Yellow Pepper Stew (RMB 50)
Tiradito with Sliced Sea Bass, Rocoto Sauce, Cilantro and Glazed Sweet Potato (RMB 60)
Passion Fruit Tiradito (RMB 60)
Beef Roll with Lomo Saltado with Oriental Chimichurri Sauce (Chives, Garlic, Bell Pepper and Olive Oil)
Every Friday Night, Pachakutiq Invites a Peruvian DJ to keep the Party Going
I’m not sure how we forgot a photo of their dessert but their Mangosteen dessert with Lucama is like dolce de leche and it is one-of-a-kind. Clearly we accidentally ate it before we even thought to photograph it!
Overall, this is a pretty cool spot! Don’t be intimidated by its surroundings of luxury stores and the Ritz-Carlton, Pachakutiq is super low-key and in a little outdoor oasis of its own! They’ve only got a few seats indoors, so this is really a great spot for al fresco dining. And on Friday nights, they even have a Peruvian DJ blasting tunes to get the party started. If this is not your thing, you can plan to go any night other than Friday night and you’ll be golden.
As the Chia siblings are still working towards setting up a more permanent spot for their Peruvian gastro bar, stay tuned for more updates!
Pachakutiq Contact Details:
- Address: Across from the entrance of the Ritz-Carlton, in the Open Courtyard in China Central Mall in front of Baccarat, between buildings T1 and T2, 81 Jianguo Lu, Chaoyang District
- Tel: 186-1131-5111
- Opening Hours: Open Daily from 5PM-late
Kristen Lum has an accomplished background in PR, communications and events in China. Born and raised in California, Kristen has been based in Beijing since 2006 and is founder of the lifestyle blog called LumDimSum, covering mostly restaurant news and reviews alongside upcoming events around town that relate to Beijing’s muti-faceted, quickly-developing creative industries like art, music, film, health and fitness, fashion, nightlife, charity events, and travel tips.