Pachamama with Lord Y

Roll up, roll up… I’ve news for y’all… there’s – guess what? – yet ANOTHER Peruvian restaurant in town.

Pachamama Marylebone

The latest is Pachamama and, seeing as it pours pisco sours in closest proximity to my front door, I thought I should pop down to check out their fare. However, Yablon Abbey is slightly lacking in the babysitting department this week so I opted for a lunch and immediately decided to take my old man in tow… never one to pass up on some midday nosh.

For those who don’t know, Lord Y is my block, of which I am his chip. And I knew exactly the way our rendezvous would pan out.  One of the world’s most thorough and efficient planners (as well as orators), he had a mental list at the ready so as to make full, absolute and precise use of our time together. Practical matters, logistics concerning future holidays, long-term goals, every day chit chat, we hardly paused for breath.

MY Lord Y and a few of his empty plates

He says that I used to be embarrassed by his jovial manner with waiters and other Lord Y quirks but I don’t remember ever finding this man annoying. Great company and an enthusiastic eater, no one could dispute just how perfect a restaurant reviewer he could have been!

Pachamama in Marylebone

Anyway, enough with the misty eyes, Pachamama is in Marylebone and opened its doors a month ago. Decorated like an eccentric family home in Peru, the 120 seater feels like an underground cave with an unusually long 16-seater cocktail bar.

Pachamama Marylebone

PachamamaWhile photographing the eclectic interior pre-lunch, I met the rather wacky interior designer and his even wackier dog.

Pachamama

The kitchen, headed up by Tom Catley (of Ottolenghi previous life), serves up a Brit take on Peruvian cuisine. Lord Y and I immediately opted for the 3 course set tasting menu and cleared all the plates easily. The food is pretty tasty as well as pretty and reasonably spicy in taste.

quinoa, avocado, tomato and apple salad

quinoa, avocado, tomato and apple salad

sweet plantain with feta

sweet plantain with feta

grilled mushrooms in sweet miso

grilled mushrooms in sweet miso

We thought dessert should be a must and the almond milk panna cotta didn’t disappoint either.

almond milk pana cotta with passion fruit and white chocolate

almond milk pana cotta with passion fruit and white chocolate

I feel I should caveat this post as Peruvians are a little difficult for me to review. You see, in restaurant terms, Ceviche is my long-term boyfriend and Andina (as its sister restaurant) feels more like a brother in law. Pachamama is good, really good and comes in close with Coya, Lima and all the other tiger milk havens. However if you are looking for the BEST, it just doesn’t knock (my) Ceviche off its Peruvian pedestal.

Pachamama 18 Thayer St W1

 

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Reconstructing Renée

It seems that this particular Halloween, Renée Zellweger felt the need to go the whole hog by ordering herself a brand new face for the occasion. I say Renée Zellweger as that’s who I can only presume is behind that recently revealed stretched, pulled face of intense shock. But to be honest, it could be anyone… simply terrifying the ghouls, vampires and anyone who might ever be tempted by the horrors of plastic surgery.

Renée on 20th October (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

Renée on 20th October (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images)

But, fear not, oh taut ones, I’m not about to wax lyrical in this week’s post about the idiocy of Botox. No, right now, I’m more interested in Renée’s bid to reconstruct herself. With a career twisting uncomfortably between success and failure, here is an actress who has never made a comeback since the days of Jerry Maguire. Bridget Jones was, of course, a heart-winning performance but in such a desperately pitifully way. Perhaps even you and I wouldn’t have bounced back from those needy binges and single awkwardness.

So Renée, it appears, has turned to her face to exercise some sort of control over her image and has seemingly hidden her issues behind an ever-tightening mask. And, readers, I suppose I do understand this. Many of us feel the need to evolve and alter our external image and sometimes this desire can be overwhelming. So I suppose I see Renée’s reconstruction as just one step further than this. That said, I’d opt for a purple rinse any day rather than ever go under that knife.

This article first appeared in my Mum About Town column in The Lady Magazine.

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the birthday edit

A few of my readers were curious enough to ask me what I was given for my birthday (a couple of weeks ago). I suppose I fall into that dreadful category of ‘impossible to buy for’ or ‘she gets given everything’ and therefore whatever I might have received would have to be either just out or simply quirky… or both.

At first I thought the post might read all wrong; a showing-off of my new toys… so I kept putting it off. And then last weekend someone persuaded me that actually it would serve as some food for thought for any birthday or early Christmas gifts you might be hunting for…. So, here you are, a few of my favourite things which made turning 43 that bit more fun.

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Books… never ever enough and look at those delicious hardbacks which you can’t justify buying for yourself.  Natalia herself sent me her stunning first book and I leapt for joy.  Her passion for cooking with beautiful, seasonal ingredients comes across perfectly in The Kitchen Orchard.  Vivienne and Stephen are no brainers… I can’t wait to get stuck in.  Small choose me the 712 more things to write about.  It’s written by the San Francisco Writers’ Grotto and sets you some pretty wild writing tasks.  I’m going to ask lots of people to write in it this year (together with Small and I who love to challenge each other with silly missions!).

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The books are sitting in a vintage wire shopping basket which is perched on an even older science lab stool – both were purchased with birthday money from a local hardware store.  Perfect as photography props and I just love the stool’s tubular steel frame and plywood seat. SO old school.

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A girl can never have enough beauty products, that’s for sure.  This Perricone MD Chloro Plasma mask will make you green – with jealousy.  It only takes 5-10 minutes to work its magic before revealing a detoxificated and rejuvenated you (from under the blue green algae). Pores refined and wrinkles smoothed, it’s a perfect gift for anyone (man or woman) in preparation for the party season!

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Together with a faint rose smell from Diptyque (needs to hardly smell at all or I feel sick), gentle but effective Perfect Cleanse by Nude and By Terry’s far superior lip Baume de Rose, I feel set for the year ahead.

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My craft desires were more than satisfied by this luscious gel printing plate with paint roller.  As the rain rolled in yesterday, we made greetings cards to our hearts’ content.

Oh and last but certainly not least, He bought tickets for four of us to see Richard Bean’s play Great Britain (recently transferred from the National Theatre) now on at Theatre Royal Haymarket. A very amusing account of the goings-on at a fictional tabloid newspaper, I would totally recommend booking for the girl who has everything (else).

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au pair turnover

Oh DO write about your au pairs!’ I have been begged many a time.  But, if I’m honest, the stories are best told over a bottle of wine and, besides, name-and-shame has never really been my game.  Not really.  But, as one packed her bags this weekend, we found ourselves reminiscing over our international lodgers at Sunday breakfast.  The good, the bad and the ugly weren’t our specific categories but we did take a closer look at our statistics as Mini scribbled down the long list of foreigners who have lived with us over the last seven years.
"Sorry, we operate on a strict one-in-one-out policy"

“Sorry, we operate on a strict one-in-one-out policy”

‘We’ve had more au pairs than Tottenham’s had managers!’ He chuckled as I quickly tried to justify our rather rapid turnover.   Of course, it’s not all down to the girls as I suppose we’re not in the least bit perfect and living with a family can’t be easy either.  Some girls are homesick, while others are blinded by the freedom of being abroad without their parents.  But the idea is that they really do enjoy their taste of London while finding the Smalls (and less small housemates) amusing, fun and not too noisy.

So, in anticipation of the impending arrival of our next unsuspecting victim, I’ve dusted the bedroom and crossed my fingers that we can make this one a winner.

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