Fastest food in Lima

Reviews, Travel

Sayel Restaurant, Lima

We were ushered through to a back room crammed with tables. The walls were white with big printed pictures of the sea mounted upon them, a sea a lot more idyllic than the churning grey ocean that borders this great metropolis. After a stumbling Spanish conversation we ordered the menu del día for 13 soles (~£3), which included three courses and a cold glass of ginger and lemongrass tea.

The waitress returned unnervingly quickly with a bowl of soup and a plate of ceviche fresh from the kitchen’s efficient production line. This was not ceviche as it is normally seen. The restaurant is wholly vegetarian, feeding an enormous lunchtime crowd with hearty meals before unceremoniously rolling them, and their much larger stomachs, back into the busy streets. 

The photos don’t do justice to the taste of the food

My ceviche consisted of tofu, cucumber, onion, sweet potato and a hefty quantity of lime and coriander. It was sharp and flavoursome. The contrasting textures of the vegetables and tofu worked very well together and just about managed to mask the fact that the tofu was fresh and flabby from its packet with no flavour of its own. As I put down my fork, another dish appeared.

My secondi was a full plate of rice, beans and some form of homemade mock-meat smothered in a coriander sauce. My sister commented that it was ‘aggressively delicious’, and aggressive it was. The conveyor belt of customers streaming through the establishment was mesmerising. Everyone left full and content within a maximum of half an hour, though most managed their three courses in a matter of minutes. Sorry McDonald’s, this is fast food at its finest. 

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I can’t say that I enjoyed the entire meal – we were presented with a small pot of cheese-scented yoghurt and what I can only hope was berry compote… it looked particularly and off-puttingly menstrual. I was happy for my £3 to cover only two courses. Some meals really don’t require the ‘cherry on top’. 

This meal was frantically fast paced but I loved every second of its finely kept balance between homeliness and efficiency. It was definitely a moving feast. 

Lima has not won my heart as a city but it’s restaurants have intrigued my taste buds and given me a beautifully chaotic insight into the heart of Peru.

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The best part of Lima: the endless pisco sours!

The Lucky Fox’s new veggie menu

Reviews

Tuesday 5th February was not a good day for me. I came lazily back from the library at 3.30pm to find that my house had a powercut – brilliant. The blackout lasted until 11.24pm exactly, meaning that cooking my evening meal (dinner, tea, call it what you will) was impossible in the dark with an electric hob. The Lucky Fox was, therefore, a godsend.

The Lucky Fox on Division Street is known for its Southern American inspired Chick’n Fries and Chick’n Waffles – it doesn’t exactly scream ‘vegan’. On an average day, a vegetarian would have limited options and a vegan could only have fries. However, on Monday and Tuesday evenings the restaurant is transformed; the chicken is packed away and replaced by a full veggie and vegan only service. I thought it was worth a try.

I went in optimistic, and I was not disappointed. I brought my housemates with me (two vegans, one meat-eater) and between us we tried: the vegan chick’n fries, vegetarian chick’n waffle, vegan fried chicken griller, vegan gravy fries, and a side of vegan doner meat. I ate my weight in seitan (a meat substitute made from wheat protein). After eating way more than I should have, and thinking it was a good idea to finish my friend’s chips, I felt suitably overwhelmed.

The ‘chicken’ is relatively realistic, mostly because the crunchy, well-seasoned batter gives the impression of their normal meat options – it even persuaded my meat-eating housemate! This worked really well in the ‘griller’ wrap, but was a little drier for the chick’n waffle option, which was helped by the liberal pouring of maple syrup over the entire thing (recommended). For me, it was the ‘doner meat’ that stole the show. They currently serve it in a wrap or as a topping for the most generous portion of ‘sharing’ (as if) fries I have ever seen. I found that if you didn’t eat it fast enough (which is a challenge when you are fighting your housemates for food) it didn’t taste quite as good cold, but when it was hot it was the closest thing this veggie has had to a kebab in two years.

This food definitely hits the spot for a beautifully and intentionally greasy meal. I wouldn’t eat it every day, mostly because I would be the size of a bus, and upsettingly it is only served two days a week, but it’s a great treat. It is easily affordable on a student budget, with the most expensive item on the menu being £8.50, plus they offer a 10% student discount! The staff are also some of the friendliest in Sheffield.

The vegan menu will be available for the foreseeable future, but only on Monday and Tuesday evenings. In the next few weeks they are hoping to get the food available on Deliveroo with an aim of eventually expanding their usual menu to include some vegan options. I wholly recommend giving it a try, even when your house is fully functional, just make sure you’re hungry.