El Pan de la Chola
Mixto – Ham, Queso, Alioli Chola
House Toast – Avocado, Peruvian Salt, Olive Oil
Oatmeal, Chocolate, Pecan Cookie
Noted by almost every food-savvy person in Peru as Lima’s best place for Bread it was early Saturday morning that a stop was made at El Pan de la Chola, self-taught Baker Jonathan Day’s quaint space at La Mar 918 teaming with activity both at the tables packed with customers and in the kitchen where no less than a half dozen workers could be seen mixing, rolling, stretching and forming loaves in a wide variety of sizes and shapes.
Originally just a passion project while at school in England, a few Breads sold at local markets helping the young man pay some bills and build skills for a future not yet known, 2018 now sees Day as the owner of two locations and recipient of both local and international accolades including mentions in Vogue as well as Travel + Leisure, the long days peddling goods in the streets finally paying dividends but his enthusiasm still evident in a collection of items stretching across countertops and scrawled on chalkboards.
Open from 8a-10p Monday through Saturday and 9a-6p on Sunday, “La Chola” as Day is known to friends usually present with Flour on his hands, guests arriving at the flagship shop in Miraflores can expect to be greeted by a line at registers from which orders are taken, a number exchanged for cash or credit and a brief wait to follow during which Water, Coffee, Tea or Juice is available.
Dividing the menu almost 50/50 sweet and savory, large loaves of Focacccia for making Sandwiches and Seed Breads flanked by Viennoiserie, Cookies and Quick Breads, it was with a small table soon flooded with wooden boards that Breakfast began, the lightly cooked Avocado sprinkled with Sea Salt creamy atop hearty Cereal Bread served with Olive Oil while El Pan’s signature Mixto Sandwich was a beautiful creation featuring fluffy Focaccia around Ham, Cheese and Special Sauce with subtle heat and plenty of Herbs.
Clearly attentive to international trends, the Avocado Toast but one example, those looking for something else not seen commonly in Peru should strongly consider investing in one of El Pan de la Chola’s Pecan Rolls featuring tightly wound Brioche and restrained sweetness, the Oatmeal Cookie also featuring chopped Nuts and chunks of Chocolate good but a little over-baked which made it crisp from edge to center.
Going so far as to make his own Whole Wheat Flour on-site and creating everything from all-natural ingredients it should come as no surprise that Day’s Pastries also come across as something high effort, the Butter Croissant as good as many in France with arching lamination while the Almond version veers Peruvian by way of filling the twice-baked shell with Almonds in Manjar Blanco.