Scotland's only Peruvian food pop-up proves popular with residence in Edinburgh speakeasy bar

One of Scotland's most exciting street food pop-ups which specialises in Peruvian cuisine has set up a more permanent residence in Edinburgh city centre.

Published 10th Mar 2020
Updated 8 th Aug 2023

Set up for the Festival in 2017, The Peruvian street food stall was Edinburgh-based entrepreneur Carlo Carozzi's answer to the lack of authentic cuisine from his home country of Peru in Scotland.

Originally cooking from a pitch in the grounds of a graveyard just off Lothian Road, his Leche de Tigre (Tiger’s milk) Ceviche and the Anticuchos – cow heart marinated for 24 hours in a Peruvian spice blend, cooked on a BBQ – eventually led to The Peruvian getting noticed at the Scottish Street Food Awards, leading to a triumphant trip to the British finals.

With dishes like the Lomo Saltado – a stir fry of marinated sirloin steak strips with Peruvian chillies, Cheese and Chips with Huancaina sauce – Peruvian spicy cheese sauce served over chips garnished with chives, and Peruvian staple ceviche proving massively popular with the crowds at events such as the Pitt, Platform in Glasgow and the Food and Flea market, it seems it wouldn't take long for him to find a more permanent home.

The Peruvian Edinburgh

The now-famous Anticuchos. Picture: Cask Smugglers.

As luck would have it, the Latin American cook teamed up with Cask Smugglers - a prohibition inspired bar hidden in plain sight in its position atop Princes Mall on Princes Street next to Waverley Station.

Picture: Cask Smugglers

Offering whiskey, cocktails, a great view of the Castle and of course, Carlo's hugely popular creations, the new bar is already proving a hit with the capital's residents.

The new menus

Moving from a small four to five-item street food menu to producing full dishes for the new 'restaurant' menu has been hard said the self-taught chef, but its a challenge he's relished.

"I thought street food was hard - early starts, late finishes, food preparation the day before, but running a full kitchen is much tougher.

"Thankfully though, I wouldn't change it for the world. I'm grateful to Cask Smugglers for giving me this opportunity - the next step in the journey to the dream of The Peruvian being a fully formed restaurant one day."

So what about the food offering? Has it changed as well as grown? Carlo explains that as well as new dishes, there is still lots there that Peruvian fans will know and love.

"We have kept some of the dishes those who know us from the street food scene will be familiar with, such as anticuchos, lomo saltado and our award-winning ceviche," he says.

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"We have included some more classic dishes such as the yuca fritas and salchipapas."

Pan Con Chicharron - Peruvian style pork belly.

"We have also included some more fusion style food to bridge the gap from familiar tastes to classic Peruvian cuisine."

Carlo added that they've just launched three new menus; a lunch menu, which runs Tuesday to Friday with dish combos and a drink for £10; a main menu, which runs daily from 4pm until 9pm, and finally an extended Saturday menu which features more street food dishes including the Peruvian fast-food favourite in salchipapas.

The salchipapas. Picture: The Peruvian

And don't worry if you're more of a Sunday social diner, he hasn't forgotten about you either, with plenty of stunning brunch options on offer to keep you happy.

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Featuring Latin American twists on your usual suspects, Carlo said the brunch menu features additional ingredients like Peruvian corn cakes, spiced pork belly strips and of course lashings of Huancaina sauce.

The street food cook adds that he is really excited to be running his own kitchen, describing being part of a great new city centre cocktail bar as "fantastic".

"It's good to be indoors, especially during the winter, plus," he jokes, "it means I can still wear shorts to work every day."

The now famous ceviche.

The bar itself is open from 11am until 1am daily, with Carlo and his kitchen serving up his exciting fare from 12 until 9.

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And the hard work seems to be paying off, Carlo states that his dishes - which include authentic imported Peruvian ingredients like Chilli Aji Amarillo, Queso Fresco and Purple Corn - are continuing to create a buzz not just from customers but also online too.

"I've had a lot of support from bloggers who have posted about my food since the early street food days which I really appreciate.

"It's also a really great feeling when someone I have never seen or heard of posts about how much they've enjoyed my food, because ultimately that's all I want. I want people to come and eat Peruvian food, enjoy it, and have a good time."

The story of the man who set out to bring Peruvian street food to Scotland's capital

Driven by a passion for all things drinks-related, Sean writes for The Scotsman extensively on the subject. He can also sometimes be found behind the bar at the world famous Potstill bar in Glasgow where he continues to enhance his whisky knowledge built up over 10 years advising customers from all over the world on the wonders of our national drink. Recently, his first book was published. Dubbed Gin Galore, it explores Scotland's best gins and the stories behind those that make them.
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