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“Peruvian cuisine is a melting pot of different cultures which have come together to form a unique blend of flavours and techniques. With the arrival European and Asian immigrants centuries ago, their ingredients and customs intertwined over the decades with those of the locals, creating what is known as Peruvian cuisine: one of the fastest growing gastronomical movements of today.” – LIMA
I’ve never eaten Peruvian food before, so in true London style I made sure my first experience was at Peruvian star chef Virgilio Martinez’s iconic London restaurant LIMA Floral.
Virgilio Martinez, voted #4 in the World 50 Best List and #1 in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list, started LIMA alongside the Gonzalez brothers in 2012 to bring the taste of Peru to Londoners. They currently have 3 London restaurants; the original in Fitzrovia, LIMA Floral in Covent Garden, and a summer (2017) pop-up in Harrods department store. LIMA Fitzrovia was awarded a Michelin star in 2013 – the first and only Peruvian restaurant in Europe to achieve this.
I popped along on a quiet Monday night to check out LIMA Floral London. Here’s my verdict…
The Food at LIMA Floral London
LIMA serves authentic Peruvian food in a way that’s also contemporary and stylish. All of the dishes are full of unusual ingredients and are a treat on both the eyes and the taste buds.
Before our meal, we were brought out a complimentary bread basket, the custom at most high-end restaurants. However, this wasn’t any old boring bread. The basket contained little squares of potato and cornbread with a refreshing mint dip. A thicker texture to regular bread, but combined with the dip made for a palate cleansing pre-meal snack.
The starters menu featured many interesting traditional dishes such as sea bream ceviche and lobster causa, as well as a smaller snacks section. As the result of a funny story involving a friend who brought a plantain thinking it was a banana, I decided to try the Plantain chips and Peruvian salsa to start. Guilt free and delicious!
Next, I went for the seared and slow-cooked rare organic lamb rump coated in huacatay herbs and coffee dust, with 4,000m Peruvian potatoes (Peru is home to 4,000 potato varieties), fresh cheese and red kiwicha (a Peruvian superfood seed). The succulent chunks of lamb paired perfectly with fresh and flavoursome sides.
When the dessert menu arrives it’s always tempting to opt for your usual ‘go-to’, however, after an evening of trying so many new and exciting flavours, I knew I had to finish it off with one more – the Peruvian Tree Tomato mouse topped with a layer of 75% Peruvian chocolate. The Tree Tomato mouse had the refreshing yet sharp flavour of passionfruit, which combined with the chocolate was mind-blowing!
The award for the most photographic dish of the evening had to go to Damien’s dessert – the Suspiro Ardiente – a light merangue with dulce de leche, lucuma fruit, beetroot and dry limo chilli pepper.
All of LIMA’s dishes were delicious, light and full of fresh Peruvian vegetables, fruit and even the odd superfood. I left happy and full but without feeling guilty or overfed (as all too often happens to me when eating out!).
To top things off, the hospitality was just as luxurious as the food, with the waiters talking us through all of the dishes and making sure our evening was as enjoyable as possible.
The Drinks at LIMA Floral London
If you only drink one thing at LIMA, make sure it’s a Pisco Sour! A classic alcoholic Peruvian cocktail which contains Pisco (spirit), luna quebranta lime, sugar, egg white and chuncho bitters. A delicious sweet and sour concoction. LIMA Floral even has a Pisco bar downstairs so if you don’t fancy dinner you can still pop along for a pre-theatre drink.
LIMA may not be the cheapest place around, but what else would you expect from a restaurant of such high standards!? Starters cost £8-£12, mains between £18-£29 and desserts £7/8.
Visit LIMA Floral London
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