I'm a London-dwelling northern lass who swapped the East End for Far East on the trip of a lifetime. I blog about food, travel, yoga and spirituality. www.sophiesnotinkansas.com
Published September 16th 2014
Enjoying a cocktail at Lima
Last night, we took advantage of a special offer to dine at a top notch eatery for the princely sum of only £20. Lima is a Peruvian restaurant that recently stormed onto the London scene, boasting four accolades from the great and good of the food world as well as its very own Michelin Star. Trophies that are bulging on its metaphorical mantlepiece include: 'One to Watch' by the National Restaurants Awards, 'Restaurant of the Year' at the Food and Travel Reader Awards, 'Best New Restaurant' at the Craft Guild of Chefs Awards and 'Best New Latin American Restaurant' in the Time Out Eating & Drinking Awards. But enough of all the credentials - how about the food itself?
Home made corn and sesame bread
We arrived at the Fitzrovia restaurant to find a laid-back, cafe style place that looked unassuming, despite its many awards. As it was a dusky, Indian summer's evening, we asked to sit outside and the friendly staff accommodated us. Bread was brought to the table in a beautifully hewn wooden bowl - fresh baked corn bread and sesame seed with a side of yoghurt and ground Maca (a Peruvian root vegetable), topped with ground corn. Nom Nom!
Sea bream tiradito
For starters, we ate sea bream tiradito with Rocoto tiger's milk and munia corn. Yes - I didn't know what most of those ingredients were either, but the dish was divine - perfect pieces of bream whose flesh could be chopped with a fork, dashed in a kind of pimiento tomato sauce and finished with pleasingly crunchy corn that, looking like pistachio but tasting completely different, discombobulated the senses.
We also shared the organic salmon ceviche with yellow ahi Amazonian bananas. Another feast for the eyes - this dish arrived in an explosion of colour, with chunks of salmon floating in lime juice, spiked with fresh red chillies, piped with pureed whorls of Amazonian banana and finished off, origami style, with a splendidly fried, twisted piece of banana. It looked too good to eat but tasted to good to leave. In fact, the only disappointment was that I was not provided with a spoon with which to drink up the remainder of the lime juice. Again the staff were friendly and present, offering to change up our lovely little porcelain sharing plates.
The cocktail which was included in the menu
The express menu includes a glass of wine or a cocktail and we couldn't resist trying the cocktail at the suggestion of the waiter. Delicious, fruity and finished with a fresh strawberry, it was the perfect compliment to the light, fish starter.
The meaty tuna ceviche
Moving onto the main event and we shared the hot tuna ceviche with yellow tiger's milk and seaweed. Arriving as two deep fried balls, the tuna was meaty and fulsome, cut through nicely by the salad. However, it was the rough organic braised lamb served with '4,000 metres' potatoes which came in the clear winner. As the dainty cocktails had gone down pretty quickly with the starter we polished off a glass each of rather pleasingly full bodied, but slippery sooth Peruvian red, the perfect accompaniment to the rich lamb sauce.
The lamb was to-die-for
We decided to pay an additional £3 each for a desert and shared the classic alfajores with sweet elderberries sorbet. Typical of the South American region, alfajores are a shortbread biscuit sandwiched with dulche de leche caramel. Hard to get wrong in the best of circumstances, but Lima's biscuits were a cut above - with light, buttery, feathery pastry. And the big surprise was the ice cream, which was a wondrous mix of very cold, crunchy, sweet and runny - all at the same time. Again the senses were tested by the appearance of a crumbly purple misters, which looked almost like lavender but tasted savoury.
Alfajores with sweet elderberry sorbet
Finally we shared the suspiro dulche de leche with purple corn crisps. This was a bowl full of love - a light, meringue-esque topping with burnt, caramelised sugar gave way to bubbly, whipped dulce de leche and was finished with a topping of multi coloured delights - again unidentifiable to the western palate but we think that it was corn crisp and.. something else.
Suspiro Dulche de Leche
We were left completely satisfied but not over-full and wandered away from Lima raving about how excellent the price, the service, but most of all the food was - a multi coloured explosion for the senses and a pleasure to the eye. Go there. Now.