LIMA Presents The Finest in Peruvian Cuisine with Virgilio Martínez & Erik Ramirez

The last few years have seen Peruvian cuisine garner quite a following on the London foodie scene. I know I’m guilty of being biased but I’m so pleased that this magnificent country is finally piquing the interest of the world especially when it comes to one of my favourite things in life – food! Last weekend, to the excitement of my mum (and myself!), I was invited along to a very special event at LIMA Floral for the first in a series of collaborative events entitled “LIMA Presents”, to showcase the finest in Peruvian cuisine.

peruvian cuisine

To mark this special occasion, Peruvian Chef Virgilio Martínez, owner of Central (the No.1 Restaurant in South America) and one of the prioprietors of LIMA London, was in town to host a collaborative lunch with esteemed fellow Peruvian chef, Erik Ramirez from Llama Inn in Brooklyn.

peruvian cuisine

Walking through the doors last Sunday, the buzz amongst the staff was palpable. The restaurant was light and bright and the tables were beautifully laid out, in preparation for the gastronomic food journey ahead.

peruvian cuisine

Mr O’T and I were greeted with a traditional Peruvian Pisco Sour welcome – the best kind of welcome if you ask me 😉.

peruvian cuisine

If you’re yet to try a Pisco Sour then the next time you find yourself in a Peruvian bar or restaurant, give one a try. Made from lemon juice, egg white, Pisco and syrup, its the perfect blend of a sweet and sour cocktail. They’re not for the faint hearted though, so remember not to get too carried away if you have work the next day! 

peruvian cuisine

Before lunch was served, I descended down to the basement to scope out BAJO, LIMA’s Pisco bar. As luck would have it, I timed my visit perfectly to witness the cocktail making first hand. 

peruvian cuisine

After thanking the lovely bartender for being the perfect model 😉, I headed back up the stairs ready to experience the first dish of the afternoon, Japanese Bream tiradito. This wasn’t any old tiradito, no no. This was the most unique and exquisite tiradito I’ve tasted yet. Soaked in gooseberry, ginger, huacatay and poppy seed, this dish which was created by Erik, made for the most wonderful explosion of flavours. 

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The next dish on the menu was a lobster creation by Virgilio. Blended with cacao mucilage and squid, this dish had textures and flavours too complex to do justice to but what I will say, is that it was incredibly tasty and the most memorable yet unique Peruvian dish I’ve sampled to date.

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The next plate to be served was perhaps the most surprising. Visually, I was a little underwhelmed but my goodness did I eat my words at first bite! A concoction of quinoa, sweet banana, bacon, avocado and cashew salad, the depth of flavours were wonderful.

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Course number four was a soup like blend of warm scallops, vegetable roots and citrus. The scallops quite literally melted at first bite and whilst the flavours packed quite a punch, they also complimented each other well.

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I love expecting the unexpected and I certainly experienced this with “Diversity of corn”, which was the next dish we savoured. A mix of different corn varieties, this crisp like dish which was accompanied by a sweet honey sauce, was so flavoursome, that I could have carried on snacking away at these bite sized pieces all afternoon.

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The final savoury dish we enjoyed was short rib. The short rib was perfectly cooked but it was the combination of peas, cilantro and chicha de jora that really made this dish stand out.

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Dessert was simple yet exquisite and consisted of cacao from Piura (a region in Peru), encased in an avocado.

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It took a few attempts of me hitting my spoon to split the avocado open and unfortunately for me, my green Zara dress bore the brunt of my culinary efforts. The remnants of avocado mousse splattered all down the front of my dress but it was worth it and I would happily sacrifice fashion for desserts like this any day 😊.

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Virgilio and Erik spent most of their time in the kitchen but they did also make an effort to chat to all the diners too which was lovely.

peruvian cuisine

Our experience at ‘LIMA Presents’ was nothing short of fantastic. I can honestly say that Peruvian cuisine doesn’t get better than this. Not one dish fell short of the high standards set by both of these incredibly talented chefs. The only difficult decision as a guest, was picking a favourite dish!

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At the end of my meal, I was lucky enough to spend a few a minutes with both Virgilio and Erik and I must say, they are two of the humblest and modest chefs you could ever wish to meet – British chefs like Gordan Ramsay really could learn a thing or two both in and out of the kitchen!

Have you every tasted Peruvian cuisine before? Do you have a favourite dish?

Maggie O xox

Please note that my dining experience at LIMA Presents was complimentary. All opinions are my own and were in no way influenced by my green dress incident 😉.

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16 Comments

  1. May 10, 2017 / 8:36 am

    I love Lima, probably one of my faves in London.

    • May 15, 2017 / 9:29 am

      Isn’t Lima just fantastic!! We’ll have to try a couple of Pisco Sours next time together too!

  2. May 10, 2017 / 11:44 am

    Do you know I haven’t had much Peruvian food (me bad) and always wanted to try out Lima. You’ve kicked my butt into making it happen after this post. Those pisco sours look a dream!

    • May 15, 2017 / 9:26 am

      Ok we’re definitely making this happen – even if we only get as far as the Pisco bar!!! No work the next day though 🙂

  3. May 10, 2017 / 1:49 pm

    Lovely post! I love Peruvian cuisine, even more so after visiting Peru this year. Virgilio is mentioned with absolute reverence in Lima (the city) – envious that you got to meet him! 🙂

    • May 15, 2017 / 9:25 am

      Thank you so much Kiran! I miss Peruvian cuisine a lot and really wish my mum would cook it more – I have a family wedding later this year which I’m returning for and can’t wait to OD on everything haha! I will definitely check out your Peruvian posts too as it’s been a while since I’ve returned 🙂

  4. May 10, 2017 / 10:31 pm

    Been to both Lima & Lima floral and loved them both but that quinoa banana concoction sounds absolutely heavenly Maggie! Must return to try that – sounds so innovative!

    • May 15, 2017 / 9:24 am

      It was fantastic Shikha – you would have definitely loved it and it’s a great excuse to return 😉

  5. Suze - Luxury Columnist
    May 11, 2017 / 2:35 pm

    How nice that you got to meet the chefs! The Diversity of Corn dish looks great, I loved it there!

    • May 15, 2017 / 9:23 am

      It was really lovely to meet them and both Erik and Virgilio were super friendly, humble and incredibly down to earth! The dishes were exquisite too!

  6. Gabrielle
    May 11, 2017 / 7:31 pm

    Ooh, you’re not wrong about the restaurant being light and bright – check out those bright blue walls! The crisp-like dish accompanied by sweet honey sauce sounds so, so appealing, and like nothing i’ve ever heard of or tried before. I really do love how daring and experimental you are with cuisine Maggie (she says, eating a nutella sandwich. Haha!)

    aglassofice.com
    x

    • May 15, 2017 / 9:20 am

      Hahaha there’s nothing wrong with nutella sandwiches Gabrielle 🙂 – on a serious note though Peruvian cuisine is fantastic…you should definitely give it a try at some point! xx

  7. May 11, 2017 / 8:26 pm

    Well firstly your photos are delish!! And the chefs looks a little dishy…. But the food looks great. I remember when Lima opened and I had never tried Peruvian food. Back when London was still booming. I didn’t quite fall in love with Lima Floral but I have always LOVED Lima!!

    • May 15, 2017 / 9:19 am

      Hahaha! I’ll pass on your dishy thumbs up 😉 ! You’re completely spot on with your comments about Lima Vs Lima Floral but the food at this particular event really was out of this world – you would have loved it!! There really wasn’t one negative thing to say and the service was fantastic too!

  8. August 5, 2017 / 4:32 pm

    So excited that you managed to spend some time with these awesome chefs. I have recently watched ” Chefs Table” episode about Emilio and his forward thinking Peruvian cuisine and was in awe for a while (I think I still am).
    Your food pictures look absolutely divine, you could tell you really enjoyed yourself there.
    On a separate note when I was a student I used to work in one of the latin cantinas in Birmingham where our chefs served Lomo Soltado and I remember how hearty and comforting that dish was. I still love to cook it every now and again.

    • August 10, 2017 / 10:18 pm

      It was so much fun Polina and the food was incredible! Lomo Saltado is actually my mum’s favourite dish 🙂

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