Angel Loves Indies… Mr LoBo
Mr Lobo, 176 Upper Street, N1 1RG
Paddington Bear isn’t the only success story from Peru. Meet Miguel Elespuru and Katia Viaud, owners of Peruvian restaurant and bar Mr LoBo. Here they share their journey from impressive home cooks to bringing Peru’s unique cuisine to the capital.
Hi Miguel and Katia! Tell us how this all started.
Miguel: I have been in hospitality all my life and started as a sous chef in Peru where I quickly rose to head chef. After a few years I shifted to become a mixologist (cocktail aficionado) and opened my own bar in Lima. I then sold this and moved to Europe where I worked as a mixologist in top restaurants including Michelin-starred venues in Paris.
Katia: I’m from a business analyst background in the financial industry. My role involves a lot of people skills hence I’m very comfortable and love working with people and in the service industry. I’m a very organised person so I do most of the business’s administration.
Please introduce us to Mr Lobo.
Miguel: Our business is fully independent and our first one – of hopefully many more Mr LoBos! We offer Peruvian sharing plates for people to try different dishes and flavours. We have a small team of five people at the moment but we are looking for new staff to ensure our service remains of a high standard. Once the team is fully up and running we will look to start with some brunches and Latin evenings, which we’ll announce on Instagram.
Katia: Why did we start? Well since I met Miguel he always talked about a place in London. He loves cooking and is really good at it. All our friends and family were in love with the food and cocktails he made at home that we just decided to make it happen. We looked for the right place for a while even before Covid. We fell in love with this place in Angel and here we are.
Where does the name Mr LoBo come from?
Katia: There are two stories behind this that are quite long and better being told by Miguel in person 😉 but it has to do with his nickname, his previous business in Peru and his family. LoBo means wolf in Spanish so for the logo we thought of putting a wolf face surrounded by some Inca signs that recall the Peruvian culture.
Tell us a bit about the cuisine in Peru and how it differs to other parts of South America.
Miguel: Peru has seen much immigration from Japan, China and Europe. Peruvian people took all of these influences and created their own dishes which we also reflect in our menu. For example, tiradito that can be described as sashimi-cut raw fish, and lomo saltado which is a sautéed dish with soya. All of this makes Peruvian food unique from other Latin American cuisine. Peru also has a large variety of different ingredients with 100 different kinds of corn, potato and pepper varieties, which once again we use in our menu.
It’s also interesting to note the World’s Best Restaurant and chef for 2023 is Peruvian – Central in Lima.
What are your most popular dishes? What should people new to Peruvian food try?
Katia: Ceviche would be one of them – fresh fish and octopus served on a bed of ice. It is the key dish in Peru and is just the most delicious fish.
Miguel: Peruvian food will surprise you and has options for all food lovers from pescatarians and meat lovers to vegans.
You also create some beautiful cocktails – tell us about your favourites.
Miguel: Most of our cocktails are done with Pisco the white brandy from Peru and if you have never tried it you have to try the Pisco sour, the signature Peruvian cocktail.
Katia: Miguel has created some brilliant cocktails that appeal to all tastes, some more sweet to more sour or strong. Each name has a personal meaning behind them.
Who is your typical customer?
Katia: Anyone that enjoy a good cocktail and a good meal and is not afraid to try new flavours.
Why is food your passion?
Miguel: Cooking is a passion, it is an art that I love as you can create so much with simple ingredients. We are both food lovers. We spend money on good food and holidays because food is life and most importantly food brings people together.
What makes your business unique? Why should people visit?
Miguel: The love and passion we put in everything we do, our food, cocktails and service is given with love. We will treat you not like a stranger or customer but like a friend we welcome in our house as this is the way we want to feel when going out for a nice meal or drink with the people we love. I think this is what makes people come back so often and sometimes so quickly.
What does the future hold for Mr LoBo?
Katia: Who knows! Hopefully many more Mr LoBos but what we want right now is to keep seeing some of our regulars and new regulars coming back and leaving happy because they have enjoyed their time spent at Mr LoBo.
And finally, what is your…
Favourite tipple? Red wine.
Go-to snack? Cheese (Miguel), sweet cakes or chocolate (Katia).
Perfect Sunday? A meal out in a nice place followed by a good movie at home with a nice red wine.
Three items you’d take to a desert island? A manual squeezer so we can make nice juices and keep hydrated, knives, pans to cook nice things over a fire.
+++ Are you an independent business in Angel and would like to feature here? Drop Sarah an email at email@example.com.