South American Flamboyance
The Lost Alpaca serves a range of cocktails inspired by the flavours of Latin America
Review by Martin Stickley
The Amazon rainforest has come to London! No, I’m not talking about the gaudy tourist café in Piccadilly Circus or the oppressive humidity we’re experiencing, I am instead referring to Lost Alpaca, the new hidden cocktail offering from Floral by Lima. Tucked away in the basement of Floral near Covent Garden, Lost Alpaca serves a range of cocktails inspired by the flavours of Latin America through speciality spirits that best represent the different countries. Floral itself is already well known for being the younger sibling to its Michelin starred sister; Lima London, and seeing how the rest of the family which prides itself on its ground-breaking Peruvian cuisine and flavours, the Lost Alpaca should be treat to anyone looking for some South American flamboyance.
The 30-cover basement venue has recently been refurbished; with its pastoral colour scheme and reclaimed wood panelling the interior is certainly quite striking. Despite being downstairs the décor certainly doesn’t leave you feeling claustrophobic and the bar is definitely the perfect setting in which to relax and enjoy a cocktail or two. With a soundtrack featuring predominantly Latin American beats and acid-jazz it’s a great bar to unwind after work with friends or colleagues. With around ten house specialities the cocktail list isn’t overly large but this allows the bar tenders to concentrate on providing consistency. Besides, they always happy to mix something up to meet special requests. The house cocktails themselves are pretty good and all have a definite summery South American feel. My personal recommendation would be the El Chapo (Ron Cartavio Black rum, Aji Amarillo, grapefruit, lime and agave) if you’re looking for something refreshing and tangy. Or maybe the Lima Negroni (Bozal Mezcal, Campari, Cynar and Dolin Sweet Vermouth) if you’re looking for Lost Alpaca’s twist on a classic. If spirits aren’t your thing there is a great beer list to chose from. Whilst the atmosphere may be relaxed and cocktails very quaffable, Lost Alpaca takes its food menu much more seriously. The bar snacks are both delicious and distinctive with offerings including Peruvian fried chicken (with potatoes and a lime and lemongrass dip), Cuzco corn cake (served with sour cream and peanuts) and the addictive Tequenos (Venezuelan cheese sticks with spicy fruit sauce). If the snacks aren’t quite enough to still your hunger you could always pop upstairs to the main restaurant where a new sharing menu will be available from recently appointed Head Chef, Patricia Roig.
Despite being part of such a well-established family, Lost Alpaca delivers good value for money considering the quality of its menu; both the food and drinks are particularly well priced when compared to similar bars. With a fun and creative interior the friendly and laid-back ambience only serves to bolster to Alpaca’s obvious plus points.
As well as providing food and drink, the Lima team have partnered with Cool Earth, a charity organisation that works alongside rainforest communities to halt deforestation and climate change, a collaboration which should lead to some exciting announcements in the coming months.
Enquiries: Lost Alpaca, 14 Garrick Street, Covent Garden WC2E 9BJ / 0207 2405778 / www.lostalpaca.com/