Open Mon–Fri 12pm–10.30pm, Sat–Sun 11.30am–9.30pm
Peru comes to London with LIMA, a new restaurant concept presenting Peruvian cuisine in a contemporary style. The exciting flavours created by Head Chef, Robert Ortiz and Virgilio Martinez (Executive Chef and ranked #4 in the World 50 Best List and #1 in Latin America’s 50 Best Restaurants list) have won us many happy customers. And while our diners are most important, we have had many favourable reviews from critics (“An almost unimprovable meal” – Matthew Norman, The Daily Telegraph) and numerous industry awards. Lima London was first awarded a Michelin star in 2013 – the first and only Peruvian restaurant to achieve this.
Low-key for its Michelin-star. Airy and open. When we arrived the only table available was one of three on the street front outside, rammed up against the sliding door frame and adjoining a perilously narrow pavement. Pleasant enough, but we hadn’t dressed for the weather and were asked for change three times (who carries cash nowadays?!). Sometimes I wish the homeless carried PDQ machines.
Diverse and international. Several American women of a certain age, some of which were chatting up a waiter, South Americans – always a good sign – quiet couples, groups of friends, a group of well brought up 30-something lads and most things in between. Unpretentious, and popular enough that we were sat on the pavement. Did I mention we were sat on the pavement? Normally I’m all for outside seating, but my outfit hadn’t accounted for the evening chill and a blanket or heater wouldn’t have gone amiss.
The menu is compact (a sign of a confident chef and box-fresh ingredients). The ceviches were great, especially the Salmon Hot Ceviche with tiger’s milk (£17); I think we re-ordered a couple. And their signature dish, the Beef Pachamanca, (£26) was exceptional.
I went on to order the Alfajores (£9)– dulche de leche ice cream with bee pollen, which was delivered with the addendum that it was to be removed from the menu imminently. I don’t recall the menu mentioning bee pollen, but that’s all I could taste, to the point of aggression. It wasn’t a highlight.
If I’m honest I might have expected slightly more given Lima’s reputation. But the tapas-style sharing menu was surprisingly cheap – walk-in restaurant prices, rather than the grandiose rates one might imagine the only Peruvian restaurant with a Michelin star would command.
Service was slow and haphazard – we didn’t quite know who our waiter was and one dish was placed in front of me, then promptly removed Fawlty Towers style! Turned out they’d forgotten the sauce. But staff were pleasant and the energy good. I get the impression this place does what it does so well – Michelin starred food at very reasonable prices – it doesn’t need to fawn to its customers. And rightly so.
In a nutshell
An affordable foray into Michelin cuisine and a great neighbourhood stalwart. If I lived within walking distance I imagine I’d become a regular.