When I visited: February 2015 and June 2016
Location: London, Fitzrovia and Covent Garden
Team: Virgilio Martinez, Gabriel & José-Luis Gonzalez (founding partners), Robert Ortiz (Head Chef)
Rating in the Michelin Guide: 1 star
What to wear: Men – jeans or nice trousers and a shirt; women – jeans and a smart top or a smart dress / workwear
Ambience: Fun, busy
Course of the meal: Vegetable root warm ceviche, Aji Limo Tiger’s Milk. Asparagus, red quinoa
If I could change one thing: More charm
As readers will know by now, I’ve been to lots of fine dining restaurants in my time, but only when I went to Lima did I really experience Peruvian food. That is Lima’s USP, but it also offers a fun, friendly atmosphere great for friends after work, or for a date.
I had the dinner a la carte menu and started with hand dived scallops served with yellow ahi pepper, corn and muna mint. One of my fellow diners had braised octopus with quinoa and olive sauce dots. Although the starters looked and smelled unusual, they tasted lovely and were perfectly balanced.
For my main I had the vegetable root warm ceviche, which came with aji limo tiger’s milk (something I’d certainly never had before), asparagus and red quinoa. My friend had duck escabeche with magnet, aji marital, algarrobo tree syrup and papa criolla – I won’t pretend to be able to tell you what all those things are but they apparently tasted great.
The desserts were equally unusual, with cactus mousse with rocoto pepper, meringue and coconut being my choice. It wasn’t weird for the sake of being weird though – it was really tasty and refreshing.
If you’re looking for an unusual and high-quality meal, you could do a lot worse than Lima.