I’ve always wanted to travel to South America. From the cute alpacas to the endless pisco sours and of course, the banging cuisine, it seems like a dream holiday. So when the opportunity popped up to visit LIMA in Fitzrovia, I was elated. With additional sister sites, Floral and The Lost Alpaca already under its helm, the venue was celebrating its 10th birthday with a cracking 6-course tasting menu (£70) and I couldn’t wait to get stuck in.
Walking in, we were met with a bustling open kitchen and traditional Peruvian décor scattered throughout the minimalistic venue. But what was really eye-catching were the hanging Khipos, which looked like dangling strings from the skylight. In reality, they are actually an ancient system of record-keeping used by the Incas but nonetheless very striking. We sat down and were mega thirsty so kicked off the evening with a pisco sour (£12). Zesty with lime flavour and a hint of sweetness, it’s a must-have if you want a LIMA staple.
The tasting menu started off with the tuna Nikkei tartare, served on a bed of shiso tempura and topped with the most delicious shichimi. The tuna was so fresh with the crispy tempura and sauce adding a bit more of an umami taste. Spoiler alert: it turned out to be my favourite of the evening. Then we delved into the Ceviche Classico, thinly cut slices of wild seabass bathed in tiger’s milk and topped with tiny morsels of choclos (Peruvian corn). Again, the seafood was unbelievably fresh and the citrus flavour from the milk provided a bit more edge to the otherwise standard dish. Oh, and the corn was a great shout as it added some texture.
We then moved on to the hand-dived scallop tiradito which sat beautifully in parmesan tiger’s milk, plantain and a wee bit of coriander. I’ll be honest. Having two plates back to back with tiger’s milk was a bit much for myself and my other half; although those who love the pungent taste of the exotic ingredient would probably go gaga over this one.
The fourth dish was Pulpo and Gambas Causa – cubes of Iberian octopus dotted with botija olives and a cevichera sauce layered atop the dish in a spaghetti-like fashion. Gotta love those theatrics. And after polishing off this savoury plate, we got to the main course – Secreto Iberico A La Brasa, which were gorgeous slices of meat, alongside a salsa tari, soy caviar and Andean tubers (Peruvian winter vegetable). The salsa tari really accentuated the flavours of both the meat and veg - almost reminiscent of a chipotle flavour. Finally, for dessert, we were given a poached pear with lime sorbet and pineapple. There was also a dash of chocolate to provide a bit more sweetness – the perfect way to end the night without feeling too full.
LIMA really is a must-visit if you love South American cuisine. The venue is fab for date nights as it showcases sleek décor and chic booths while tying in cultural traditions. And the tasting menu was an experience in itself – you’ll get to try everything from sweet and citrusy to savoury and meaty – a plethora of flavours really.
💰 The damage: £164 for two cocktails and the tasting menus.
📍 The location: 31 Rathbone Place, London, W1T 1JH.
👌 Perfect for: Luxe dinners and date night.
⭐ Need to know: Their pisco sours are a must-have.
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