I’d heard good things about Lima, a Peruvian restaurant in Fitzrovia, so was excited for our dinner there with a group of friends. I wasn’t familiar with the cuisine of Peru but was expecting very pretty plates of food with big bold flavours and that’s exactly what we got – even if the flavours weren’t always wholly pleasant ones.
The inside was a fairly simple space with a relaxed atmosphere; it had an upmarket neighbourhood friendly feel to it and it remained packed for our entire visit.
Some green and purple bread served with two dips got things off to a rather peculiar start – partly because the breads tasted of nothing and partly because one of the dips tasted positively fishy yet our waiter insisted it contained no fish! Rather bizarre.
All starters firmly ticked the box presentation wise – they were stunning. The scallop tiradito (£11) featured a list of things I’ve never heard of before; yellow aji pepper, umami salt, cassava powder and it tasted good if not a little…..mustardy. The octopus olivio (£12) with organic white quinoa, botija olive and red shiso also looked lovely with beautifully cooked octopus.
The asparagus Peru (£8) with blue potato, sacha inchi oil, heritage tomatoes and ginger was served cold which was a shame – it would have been more enjoyable served hot. I opted for the sea bream ceviche (£10) which was swimming in tiger’s milk, aji limo pepper, red onion and cancha corn. I know that ceviche is obviously going to be rather acidic but this was unbearably so – it was painful for my poor cheeks. The lime completely overpowered everything. And the texture of the crunchy corn against the tiger’s milk was a rather unpleasant one.
Main courses picked things up a bit; the suckling pig “Andes” (£23) again had a lot of flavours present and ones that we couldn’t pinpoint – giant corn, Ghoa cress, piquillo peppers and green rocoto but at least it was tasty. The pork was tender with the crunchiest skin ever.
The lamb shoulder “seco” (£22) with eco dried potato, white grape, pisco mosto verde and crazy pea (whatever the hell that is ) provided a lovely piece of tender lamb but the tangy grapes weren’t exactly a winning partner for it.
I went for the Amazon fish “paiche” (£23) which had a seaweed butter, annato, cacao Porcelana and white kiwicha. The white fish was beautifully soft and delicate and the sauce that surrounded it tasted divine – however a skin had formed on the top which was a tad off putting.
Puddings were just a bit….weird. A dollop here, a smear there – the cocoa Porcellana (£8) looked like a dog had done a whoopsie on the plate. The lucuma fruit ice cream with chocolate powder (£8) looked messy as if it had been created by a toddler with ADHD. The same could be said for the dulce leche ice cream with beetroot emulsion (£6). None of them really hit the spot.
Lima was recently awarded a Michelin star (we went prior to this announcement) which I found rather shocking – they must have seen something we didn’t. Was the food unusual? Yes. Were the dishes beautifully presented? Yes. But did we enjoy the food? No. We also left rather hungry – which is never a good thing.
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