Best New Latin American Restaurant (Time Out Eating & Drinking Awards 2012), One to Watch (National Restaurant Awards 2012) and Restaurant of the Week (London Evening Standard, 18th July 2012). Wow, Lima must be EXCELLENT.
It also crossed my mind that Lima must live up to the hype, as I made my booking for The Boyfriend’s birthday. But they’d have felt no pressure from us. That was saved for Giles Coren, sitting on the table opposite.
Two Pisco Sours kicked off the celebrations, accompanied by fresh bread, oil and red salt. “Red salt?” I asked Juan, our knowledgable waiter. “It’s from the Amazon” he replied. At that moment I knew our meal would be special. If, albeit, a little pretentious.
Pisco Sours became wine as red salt became starters – Sea Bream Ceviche for me and Braised Octopus al Olivo for The Boyfriend. The ceviche was made with white tiger’s milk. White tiger’s milk?! This was all getting too much, but it turns out Head Chef Virgilio Martinez doesn’t have a white ‘milking’ tiger in the garden. Instead, it comes from fish and is one of the essential ingredients that made my bream tangy, tender and ultimately, delicious.
Half way through the ceviche, The Boyfriend’s octopus caught my eye, so I went in for a bite. The succulent, lightly charred tentacles (shudder) made my stomach crave another forkful, much to The Boyfriend’s dismay.
For main, we went with Juan’s recommendation of Halibut with Andean Herbs and Confit of Suckling Pig. Polar opposites in taste and presentation, they were both wonderful. But, it was the halibut that won the main course trophy, mainly because of the Cancha Corn Parfait that lay alongside. It was like a delicate corn bread. Sweet and savoury, spongy and crisp, it was the perfect accompaniment to the fish, yet could have done the job on its own.
Our Peruvian adventure ended with Cacao Porcelana 75% with Mango & Hierbabuena Granita, topped with…wait for it…Blue Potato Crystal. I was impressed that without asking, Juan had arranged for Happy Birthday to be spelt out in granita on our plate. I was also impressed that Juan hadn’t sung happy birthday as the pretty chocolate dessert made its way to our table. No offence Juan.
I loved this restaurant and, if it wasn’t for the slightly scary prices (our meal with drinks came to just under £120 with tip), I’d go back in a heartbeat. Lima, you can now add one more accolade to add to the list – a LLE Rating of 8.5 / 10. You never know, that might actually mean something one day.
Lima, 31 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia, London, W1T 1JH