Restaurant review: Lima

31 Rathbone Place, London W1T 1JH

It’s not often I go to a Michelin-starred restaurant. In fact, there have only been two occasions, one of which was before my blog started, at Arbutus, and the other was a very good value deal at Yauatcha. I was really looking forward to going to Lima, as I had no idea what Peruvian cuisine consisted of, and I had been reading a lot about it, as it has just been awarded its first Michelin star.

The reservation, understandably, had to be made 2 weeks in advance. As we walked in, we were immediately impressed by the excellent service, but slightly deterred by how we were forced to squeeze into our seats, as the tables are sat quite closely together. This also meant that it was very loud, and we often struggled to hear each other across the table.

But let’s get to the food. Oh, what interesting flavours! We were happy the menu was quite short (2 small pages), as everything was unfamiliar and we struggled to decide what to eat. We finally chose on a whim, a starter and a main each, and the food arrived surprisingly quickly after our order. The starters arrived with a little bowl of bread (olive and red pepper, wonderfully soft and tasty) and two dips, one sweet, one savoury. All absolutely phenomenal. The sea bream ceviche was a succulent taste explosion, and we spent a good while trying to figure out the ingredients before the waitress told us it was lime, coriander, chilli, ginger and fish sauce. The accompanying ‘cancha corn’ was crunchy and delicious, and strangely complementary. The duck with ‘tree syrup’ and cream cheese was incredibly tender, but its flavours weren’t as convincing as the sea bream.

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Unfortunately, the main courses didn’t live up to the standard the starters set – our suckling pig lacked salt and the ‘Amazon fish’ was tasty, but didn’t have the ‘wow’ effect that we were hoping for. Nonetheless, the nutty avocado paste that came with the pork was very interesting, and the quinoa lining the bottom of the fish was tiny and delicious.

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Michelin stars come with a price tag, and Lima, while not completely over the top, was still somewhat pricy. The food was certainly very good, the presentation was faultless and the service good, but I would hesitate to recommend it, as I feel there are other places with better food and value for money (for example, Yauatcha or Mosob). Then again, perhaps Peruvian cuisine is simply too refined for my tastes…

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