Tag Archives: bream

LIMA London

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

The Pot Kiln, Yattendon

I’m not fanatical about the royals, but what girl doesn’t dream of being a princess. Well, on my birthday, I got to play Kate as we walked my slightly less glamorous one-eyed dog to The Pot Kiln (sorry Archie), just a hop, skip and a jump away from the Middleton’s family residence.

Anyway, you’re not here to read about my dog walking, so on to the food. Ever since I sunk my teeth into one of their delicious venison scotch eggs at the end of last year, I’ve wanted to go back to The Pot Kiln for dinner.

With a menu that might give vegetarians sleepless nights and vegans nightmares, almost everything hinges on meat either shot on the neighbouring estates, or caught off the coast of Cornwall. As a fish lover, I ordered the Oak Smoked Mackerel Croquettes to start and Roast Cornish Bream with Mussels, Watercress and Sea Spinach for main.

Both courses reaffirmed my love of good gastropub grub – the croquettes were crisp, sweet and perfectly teamed with the sauce gribiche (a cold egg sauce with pickles and capers) and my main was bursting with fishy flavour from the bream, mussels and salinity of the sea spinach.

As for the die hard meat eaters, my parents shared a Haunch of Deer from the specials menu, and what a haunch it was – there was enough tender, juicy meat and roasted, garlicky vegetables to feed four hungry men, which pleased my dad as the majority was taken home in a doggy bag ready to be devoured the next day.

Personally, if I’d gone with meat for my main, I would have sided with The Boyfriend, who went for Hereford Beef Cheeks with crispy shallots and celeriac mash. Fortunately for me, the boyfriend was feeling a little under the weather, so I was allowed to demolish half the divine dish that quite literally melted in the mouth.

For pudding, we all shared a chocolate mousse topped with honeycomb and raspberries…

…and rhubarb and ginger fool, with a rich compote at the bottom and oaty, ginger biscuits on the side. They didn’t last long, so must have tasted pretty good – sadly the happy haze of gluttony had overwhelmed me and my memory by that stage.

I will give The Pot Kiln a LLE Rating of 9/10. It’s by far the best and most satisfying pub food I’ve tasted, whether snacking on a Scotch egg at the bar, or feasting on half a deer in the restaurant. Food this good does come at a price though – around £35 a head without wine – but it’s worth it and you’d be hard pushed to find the same quality in London without paying more.

The Pot Kiln, Frilsham, nr Yattendon RG18 0XX