Peruvian food is one of my culinary passions and having had the pleasure to try world class, traditional ceviche at Sonia in Lima, the latest openings of Ceviche and Lima restaurants got me really excited. So my craving for Peruvian food found some good satisfaction with dinner at “Lima” in London.
Virgilio Martinez and his team are dedicated to bring unique and organic produce from Peru, primarily the Andes and the Amazon to the plate. Sustainability is also one of their goals, so a lot of the ingredients are actually sourced in the UK.
If you’re a true geek, you’ll probably research some of the menu’s ingredients before but half of the experience is to go, order and being surprised. The surprise is not just on the palate, it is very much about pleasing the eye.
Oh and what I mean with “innovative” in the title is the combination of excellent ingredients, eye-catching presentation and the fact that for most people reading the menu is like reading a dictionary just without the translation. Please don’t be so tedious and ask the waiter for an explanation for every single item, just start on the journey and ENJOY.
So let’s eat – OR first, let’s order a traditional Pisco sour. A note on the drinks menu, all cocktails are Pisco based, so Bloody Maria or Mojito are revamped. Lima is keen to make Pisco more popular and known to people.
Let’s share some starters: the sea bream ceviche with white tiger’s milk, sweet onion skin and inka corn is not (yet) daring, delicious but still a very good ceviche. The tiger milk is the marinade which is usually a mix of lime juice, salt, seasoning, herbs, chill (and maybe some more). This ceviche version was actually not very spicy, so good for the ones who cannot stand heat; I personally would have liked some more spiciness. Still, the ceviche had a wonderful acidity, combined with some creaminess of the marinade plus the tenderness of the fish. The onion skin added some crispiness for the extra twist. The corn did its decoration job but did less so for the taste.
The second starter was a sea bass cause with a yellow potato puree. Essentially a cause typically includes mashed potatoes, avocado and fish, in our case the sea bass. Not sure if the puree was soooo delicious because of the colour and the potato variety – I suspect there’s a correlation between those two or if there’s some other magic going on.
Starter 3 were the artichokes. For me the winning dish among the starters – and please not because I liked the colour (which I did in fact:-)). Anyhow, the artichokes were just perfectly cooked, coated with that emulsion of tree tomatoes, not a tomato at all but in deed, the familiar tamarillo fruit. Molle pink pepper is also known as Peruvian pepper. More information can be found here.
Lamb shoulder made it as a main and it came with a coriander and pisco jus (I heard white wine is so yesterday for creating jus:-)). Black quinoa and white grape accompanied the braised meat. The meat was as you like it to be buttery soft and melting. The quinoa was rather crisp and nutty; overall a very very well done “side”. The word side is a bit offensive, as the quinoa was so good that I”d just order it as a main.
Merluza was the star fish of the second main. Merluza is from the cod-family, so it’s got firm, white flesh and was doing well with kohlrabi and capers. I was so happy to see kohlrabi on the menu as it’s quite German and I am big fan since childhood. My mum used to make delicious kohlrabi stew for me. The piquillo and maca root compote was velvety mellow and soooo good that I’m still dreaming of it. So Lima people take a note and be a bit more generous with the compote and add a big dollop of it.
To complete the so far very satisfying dinner came to an end with a South American classic, dulce de leche as ice cream. Beetroot emulsion was stated on the menu but was very mindfully added and was certainly not overwhelming. Maca root honey (I for my part didn’t even know that you can get honey of it but this restaurant is all about learning) gace some pepperiness. Awwww, I am desperate for some dulce de leche ice cream now as this version is a little piece of dessert heaven and I usually don’t do dessert (not counting the obligatory sharing spoon now:-)).
31 Rathbone Place
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