One of the latest additions to Fitzrovia’s food haven. I’ve read so much buzz online about Lima by the online foodie community and positive affirmations from friends who had tried, tested and loved. This greatly helped my head spinning decision of where to take Him for his birthday, especially when there’s so many choices out there (I literally had 2 other restaurants booked which were cancelled at the last minute!). Plus, you must be in good hands when chef Virgilio Martinez has a list of culinary accolades next to his name – chef patron of Central, the #1 restaurant in Lima and Executive Chef at one of the San Pellegrino World’s Best Restaurants – Astrid y Gaston.
The menu: With Peruvian cuisine on the menu, you’re immediately in for a sensory surprise – look out eyes & tastebuds! Upon arrival we were escorted to an intimate corner table (a kind gesture to my request for a nice table for a birthday dinner which was acknowledged on arrival). Seated, both Him and I were slightly perplexed by so many foreign sounding ingredients on the menu… but I’ve been assured by fellow bloggers that trying to interpret each dish is meant to be half the fun! On cue, our lovely waiter arrives to our rescue, candidly explaining her favourite dishes and asking if we had ever tried a pisco sour before…a typical south american alcoholic concoction with lime juice and egg white. I put my hand up for one of those cocktails, while the other half orders a beer.
Between us, this is what we ended up ordering (we couldn’t resist 3 starters and 3 mains since everything sounded so delish… time to detox after this!):-
organic salmon tiradito • rocoto pepper • tiger’s milk • samphire • ginger
love2feed: if the concept of tiradito is unknown to you, think of a Peruvian style sashimi or carpaccio in a spicy sauce. it was refreshingly tasty and citrusy but the dish looked a little messy with the sauce covering the beautiful salmon!
sea bass causa with yellow potato puree • crushed avocado • red shiso
love2feed: the sea bass was delicate all round. thought the potato was going to be starchy but was pleasantly surprised by the fluffy light texture. the red shiso sauce was a nice accompaniment and lifted the dish. His second favourite entree!
braised octopus al olivo • organic white quinoa • botija olive bubbles
love2feed: the winner… our favourite entree dish! beautifully presented… while purple sauce may seem scary to some, being an adventurous pair and massive olive lovers it worked for us. we loved the octopus – lightly grilled and nicely complemented with the flavourful combinations of the grainy quinoa – a staplefood for south americans.
crab • purple corn reduction • huayro potato 4000 metres • red kiwicha
love2feed: when i look at this dish, the theme song ‘under the sea’ from the Little Mermaid is on constant replay in my head – don’t ask me why? maybe it’s the bold colours of this dish that remind me of bright coral. hearty and substantial, we were surprised as assumed it would be a fairly light seafood dish. the crab was placed on a bed of potato (supposedly grown at 4000m in the Huancayo highlands) which again didn’t seem too overpowering like the usual creamy bed of mash.
confit of suckling pig • roasted amazonian cashew • lentils and pear
love2feed: WIN! we don’t take pork belly seriously unless there’s crispy skin involved! this was a happy medium, the skin wasn’t ‘break ur tooth’ hard nor chewy. great portion size and the lentils blended well.
braised lamb shoulder • coriander and pisco jus • black quinoa and white grape
love2feed: lamb brilliantly braised and well cooked almost sweet like oyster sauce. black quinoa and grapes gave an earthy feel to the dish, but the pisco jus was too overpowering for our liking. we highlighted this to the waitress to add to her list of mental notes to chef and she mentioned that another table had made the same comment, so must have been ‘tonight’s batch’ that was too strong. i’ll stick to pisco in my cocktails thanks!
dulce de leche ice cream • beetroot crust • chancaca honey
love2feed: one word… YUM! i think every flavour profile is covered here, the sweetness of the honey and saltiness of the dulce de leche caramel flavours seemed to be matched in harmony with the specks of crunchy beetroot. unlikely combination as have never in my dear life had beetroot in a dessert, but we enjoyed this and would order again!
cacao porcelana 75% with mango and blue potato chips
love2feed: this dark chocolate dessert was too decadent and rich for me! would have ordered just the above if I’d known. blue potato chips was a slightly odd twist. would have liked more of the mango flavours to come through (love Mango!).
The verdict: Would recommend Lima for a special occasion such as a birthday or a night out with friends who enjoy their modern contemporary food and don’t mind splurging a little! Loved the fresh flavours and the way each dish was boldly presented – never a dull moment in sight! We paid about £150 for 2 people for the 3 starters, 3 mains & 2 desserts plus the cocktail & beer to start and a bottle of white to share so don’t expect a super cheap meal (a la tapas style) here unless you’re coming in a group where economies of scale may work in your favour! In hindsight, one less main (lamb) and one dessert to share (dulce de leche) would have been fine as we didn’t quite make it to our post dinner cocktail session – we were seriously stuffed!! Would like to try the ceviche in tiger’s milk one day as have heard good things.
Address: 31 Rathbone Place, London W1T 1JH
Tel: 020 8600 3600