Tito’s Peruvian Restaurant, London Bridge
Two years ago, I visited Tito’s for lunch.
I don’t live in London and I only go there a few times a year.
Yesterday I had a business meeting and we needed to go somewhere quiet for a coffee and a chat, so I recommended Tito’s as it was 11am, so too early for lunch.
It was closed with a window cleaner outside. The doors were open, but with a chair blocking the way in.
I called out and asked if we could come in for a coffee.
‘Of course you can!’ I was told. The chair was whisked away and the lights were turned on.
After our coffee was brought over, we were left in peace for over an hour.
Can you imagine that in an English restaurant? We would have been snapped at and told, ‘Sorry, we’re closed and we don’t open for 1 minute, 40 seconds.’ Then we would have been glared at for hogging a table without spending any more money.
It was the same Tito’s as before, and I’ll be visiting it again when I next go to London.
How lovely to receive a warm, friendly welcome like that!
Well done, Tito’s.
Some people deserve to succeed in life, and Maria Huapalla is one of those people.
Widowed at a young age, she lived a very poor life in Peru, with nine of them in one small house and hardly enough food to eat.
Wanting a better way of life for herself and her young son, Maria set off to look for opportunities. She visited several countries in Europe, and finally settled in London, where she worked for the Rank Organisation in the catering trade.
She brought her six-year-old son Fernando to the UK and she opened a small sandwich bar, which was a great success.
Then she opened the first Peruvian restaurant in London, Tito’s, followed by the nightclub, La Pollera Colora in the huge basement. They play South American Salsa music there, and it’s a very popular venue.
While I waited for my friend, who was stuck in a traffic jam, I had a Pisco Sour, the National cocktail of Peru.
It’s made with the distilled fire water Pisco with fresh lime juice, egg white, sugar and ice, and it’s topped with Angostura Bitters.
Honestly, it’s one of the best cocktails I’ve ever tasted! I thought it had a faint chocolatey flavour.
Another popular cocktail is Miraflores, made with Pisco, passion fruit, sugar and ice.
My friend was finally blown through the door, soaking wet and starving.
We were given a small bowl of what looked like peanuts, but turned out to be maize.
We chose two different starters so that we could try them both;
Anticuchos con choclo & papa a la Huancaina; two grilled marinated beef heart skewers, served with boiled Peruvian white corn and cooled sliced potatoes, topped with a creamy sauce, ‘Huanciana.’
Calamares Fritos; Batter coated shallow fried squid served with fried cassava, tartar sauce and tomato and onion relish.
I loved the beef heart skewers. I love hearts, but they can be a bit chewy and it gave me an idea of how to serve them.
For our main course I had Pato en aji con frijoles y arroz. This is Tito’s signature dish; a whole duck leg served in a mildly spicy Peruvian ‘Aji Panca’ Chilli sauce, served with steamed white rice and Peruvian style white beans, ‘Frijoles.’
My friend had Ronda Criolla, which is a Peruvian Platter that combines a selection of dishes included in the menu. It includes ‘Carapulcra,’ which is a Peruvian dried potato stew, shallow fried Peruvian style fried pork ribs, Tamal, which is a white corn parcel filled with chicken or pork, and shallow fried sweet potato slices.
My duck was so tender that if fell off the bones, and I loved the beans, which were like a very fresh, upmarket baked beans dish.
I had a Peruvian beer with my meal, and my friend had Inca Cola, which is the most popular Peruvian drink, green like limeade, and nothing to do with Coca-Cola – except that Coca-Cola has bought the Company now!
We were persuaded to try a dessert.
My friend had Chocoflan, the signature dessert. The bottom layer is moist chocolate sponge cake, topped with flan.
I had Mazamora Morada. It’s a home-made Peruvian dessert, like a warm jelly, made with Peru’s unique purple corn, ‘Maiz Morada,’ with dried prunes and cinnamon.
Interesting. I don’t understand how it stayed jelly-like when it was heated.
What did I think of Tito’s?
The staff were wonderful, leaving us alone but there when they were needed.
Peruvian food is simple, unpretentious food. But Fernando and his mother carefully source their suppliers,
A lot of it, like the drinks, comes from Peru, and the food is all good-quality, and mainly local.
Prices are reasonable, averaging £5-7 for a starter, and £10-14 for a main course.
Would I go there again? Yes, and I will. It’s at London Bridge, just outside the station, which is my station in and out of London. I shall pop in for a drink and a snack when I’m waiting for my train.
Tito’s Peruvian Restaurant
The TRUE Latin Experience
4-6 London Bridge Street
London SE1 9SG
0207 407 7787
0791 944 1070