El Pan de la Chola is a bakery and café all-in-one and it is one of my favourites.
I first visited about 6 months ago, but my friend Vanessa had never been, so I took this opportunity to introduce her to the wonders of the freshly baked bread here.
Jonathan Day, the owner, honed his baking skills whilst living in London after finding breads there that were not like those to be found in Lima. He brought his knowledge back with him to Peru, eventually opening El Pan de la Chola, home to amazing bread, coffee, extracts and sweet treats.
His bread is made just using flour (ground on site), water and a starter. No yeast, just the natural starter to help it rise and it is left to do so for 24 hours.
I personally love the focaccia (you can see it above!), and on this visit I took advantage of taking a huge slice home with me to treat my boyfriend. He loves it for breakfast, toasted with a drizzle of olive oil and sal de maras. At only S/10 it’s a steal! There are also other breads for purchase too including…
….their signature bread ‘Pan de la Chola’; a bread full of wholemeal goodness.
The decor and style of El Pan de la Chola reminds me of the bakeries popping up all over Europe.
Not the cupcake kind, but the old-style bakeries with wooden tables, bread baskets and blackboards with that hint of modernity in their sleek metallic coffee machines.
I love the mismatched chairs & benches and the chunky wooden farmhouse tables.
The area where the bread magic happens is actually visible to the public so you can watch Jonathan Day or members of his team kneading away at those loaves of bread.
Take a look at their blackboard menus and decide what tickles your fancy, then head up to the bar to order. You’ll be given a number for your table and then you can sit back and wait for your goodies to arrive!
We started with one of their freshly made extracts (S/12) and there are 3 to choose from; Naranja (orange & carrot), Verde (apple, ginger and spinach) or Roja (beetroot, pear and watercress).
I plumped for the ‘Verde’, and Vanessa went for the ‘Naranja’.
Mine was sweet but with a little sourness from the apple; absolutely perfect. The ‘Naranja’ was extremely refreshing and not overly citrusy; just what you need for a warm summer’s day.
I have to say though we both preferred the mix of flavours in the ‘Verde’ best though. This was our winner! Just look at that colour; a natural beauty.
Then the main events arrived.
We started with the tostada (toasted bread) with humous and olive oil (S/12).
Some of the bread, I believe, is their actual ‘pan de la chola’. So yummy, especially when warm and dipped in oil or slathered in humous!
Then we devoured the excellent caprese focaccia sandwich (S/17).
Basil, mozzarella and tomato, sandwiched together between the house-made soft doughy focaccia then pressed until melty and warm. Heavenly.
The price for the sandwich may seem a lot compared to other locales, however these sandwiches are really filling (there is actually more caprese in there than this photo gives credit for!) You could get away with sharing one between the two of you, or even if you eat it to yourself it would be the equivalent of eating two sandwiches somewhere else. Basically, it is well worth paying those extra few soles for the excellent bread and fresh ingredients that come in very generous sized servings!
To finish we chose a large pecan and dark chocolate cookie and a slice of their apple loaf cake.
The cookie may look slightly over-baked but in fact it was just right. The cookie was nice and crisp and the chocolate warm and melted on the inside. Absolutely delicious and I wouldn’t be surprised if you needed to head back for a second one!
The apple cake was extremely moist (my least favourite word) and jam packed with apples, but the top was sprinkled with sugar and had a beautiful crispness which contrasted perfectly with the middle. The brownies here are also delectable. Soft, fudgy and so, so, chocolatey!
I feel that I need to mention that they offer free filtered water on a self service station towards the back of the bar. This is ridiculously uncommon in Lima, and normally it requires asking 3 times before you finally get a glass in a restaurant, so this is just so refreshing in so many ways!
I still need to try their coffee so I can’t comment on that, but it does mean I need to make another visit to devour not only their coffee but more bread and brownies too. I think I’ll bring my laptop and stay awhile, like so many of their customers do.
Lunch in ‘El Pan de La Chola’ is a weekday treat not to be missed, and we highly recommend it. I love the back to basics feel of the place, no fancy facade, just proper baking and good food.
El Pan de la Chola – Avenida La Mar 918, Miraflores.
There is parking in front of the cafe, but there is also a car park with an entrance to the side of the building for when it is ridiculously busy.