When celebrated chef Virgilio Martinez and his partners, Gabriel and José-Luis Gonzalez, opened Lima back in 2012, they were among the first wave of culinary crusaders to introduce London’s restaurant scene to the fragrant flavours of Peru. Lima Fitzrovia has since gone on to secure a Michelin star, making it the first Peruvian restaurant in the British capital to do so. It’s justly deserved.
The food at Lima – executed by Robert Ortiz and overseen by Martinez – is characterised by bright, fresh, clean flavours, and probably more unfamiliar ingredients that you’ve been exposed to for a while. Some have been specially sourced from small-scale producers in Peru, others sourced a little closer to home, but they all blend harmoniously in the expertly prepared dishes. Here, you might try Black Bream Ceviche (with avocado, sweet potato and a hit of Ají Limo – a Peruvian chilli) or indulge in suckling pig, served with chicharrón, sesame seeds, celeriac and elderberry. There are quinoa salads and root vegetables with “Tiger’s Milk” (a mix of coriander, lime, chilli, ginger and fish sauce). Lamb cutlets with lavender, coffee, aji amarillo, aguaymanto and potato. Corn cakes and braised octopus. The list goes on, and it’s good.
Lima’s tiny dining room is cleverly decorated with large mirrors that increase the sense of space, and a large, colourful mural that adds colour. But few people look up from their plates once their meal has arrived. For a chance to try Martinez’ vibrant Peruvian cuisine (without the Michelin-starred wait for a reservation), try Lima Floral in Covent Garden.