All posts filed under “Peruvian

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Michelin Guide London (2014 Results)

The most controversial yet?

2 stars – Dinner by Heston Blumenthal and Greenhouse.

1 star – HKK, Angler (South Place Hotel), Outlaw’s at the Capital, Story, Ametsa with Arzak Instruction (seriously!?), Brasserie Chavot, Bo London, Lima, Social Eating House.

One Leicester Street retains its star after the transition. Yeah!!!!

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Lima: Delicious Splash of Peruvian Colours in London

The blend of two cultures

Lima is a cheerfully casual restaurant that emulates the fun and pride of South America. The cuisine is playful, beautiful and, to a great number of Londoners, exotic. Virgilio Martinez, the patron chef of Lima, was a law student, who with a change of heart, has turned chef. Virgilio headed the kitchen brigade at one of Peru’s most internationally renowned restaurants Astrid y Gaston and moved on to open his acclaimed innovative restaurant Centrale. The cuisine served in Peru is inventive and with indigenous Peruvian produce. Lima London, overseen by Virgilio and run by his long time friend and colleague Robert Ortiz, is instead a blend of two cultures – Peruvian and British. While key Peruvian produce, notably various kinds of chilli and eco dried potatoes, are imported to maintain the crucial cultural links and taste to the mother land, British produce are the main vehicles of the menu. Starters are priced between £7-12; mains £16-24; desserts £6-8. There is also a decent selection of cocktails.

Colours of Peru

Dishes at Lima are spectacular polychrome of colours – (and sometimes they can look more exotic than they taste) – but big comfort in taste. Slivers of Artichokes was very much like a painting. The combination of emulsions – tamarillo and molle pink pepper – was mellow; the green lime provided citric sharpness to contrast; the fava beans were biteful and sweet. The artichokes themselves were understated in taste but became vehicles for the lovable dressing. Causa – one of the most traditional Peruvian dishes – is a dressed seafood mix served on a bed of (or sandwiched between) crushed potato cake. The version at Lima was chopped and seasoned sea bass with minty red shiso garnish and zingy avocado paste. Not the most satisfying, and though a causa is predominantly a potato dish, I would have liked to taste more of the fish. Sea Bream Ceviche, on the contrary, was wonderful. The tiger’s milk dressing was tangy and exuberant; the fresh bream was perfectly *cooked* by the acidity; the sweet and crispy onion skins added an aftertaste and texture of sweetness. Duck Crudo was also pleasant, possessing a taste more recognizable as European. The thinly sliced duck was deliciously meaty and almost livery; the algarrobo tea honey reminded me of sweet balsamic vinegar; the cress was refreshing. All were enriched by the shaved foie gras. Personally, as the dish was quite big, I would have liked more texture contrast or something to mediate the richness of the dish.

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Braised octopus al olivio was the dish I can reprise many times and highly recommend. (Been twice and had this twice)! The octopus was tender, boast a perfect char and possessed a great length of taste. The white quinoa was carefully dressed with herbs. The mayo-like Botija olive bubbles was pungent, encapsulating the bold salty-and-sourness of olives that turned quite a bomb with the octopus. (FYI Peruvian Botija olives are also very popular *health food* often found dried and tasting incredible)! Also highly recommended for food enthusiasts were the potato dishes at Lima, as these were prepared using Peru’s unique “eco-dried potatoes” or The Chuño. The Chuño or tunta are potatoes traditionally left to naturally freeze-dry at nights in the Andes, 3000++ metres above the sea level, washed and then dried again on grass. The results are rock solid potatoes with its exterior turning white and chalky in texture. Before re-hydration, they also smell a bit like cheese. At Lima, I tried Eco dried potato stew which came with an assortment of leaves and flowers and finished with aji panca jus. The crushed and re-hydrated potatoes were big in potato-y taste. They also retained a somewhat biteful denseness typical of dried and re-hydrated produce. (Fresh potatoes when boiled don’t quite have this texture). The garnish, however, did not provide much depth or unison to the dish as a whole. Crab with eco dried potatoes and corn reduction was a good dish that cried out for more crab meat. Here the potatoes were crushed and cooked as if a risotto with crab and corn. I liked the juxtaposition of sweetness from the corn and the sea-perfumed crab, but as said, I would have liked a little more crab. Confit of suckling pig brought me back to the comfort not-so-exotic zone of taste. The pig was crispy on the outside and packed with good flavours; the braised lentils were bold and umami-fied; the pear puree lent a sweet fruity note. The desserts, sadly, were not astonishing as the mains. Dulce de leche with maca root crumble and beetroot was the highlight for me, while Andean Kiwicha with sheep milk and purple corn jelly was weak.

 

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RATING: 3.5/5

LIMA

31 Rathbone Place
London
W1T

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1JH

Tel. 020 3002 2640

www.limalondon.com
Lima on Urbanspoon

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41° Experience, Barcelona

41° Experience

There is so much brilliance I can recall about this meal, but I have decided not to put all into writing. Lazy blogger, no. Necessity, yes. The “elements of surprise” are crucial, according to FAQ. When it was first launched, 41° Experience (or 41 Grados) by El Bulli-famed Ferran and Albert Adria was meant to be just a cocktail bar for the annexed Tickets. But it has morphed.. into a 16-seat, tasting-menu-only restaurant, most recently alleged as one of the most difficult to get reservations in the world.

Briefly. There is no reservation line. The booking is made via their website and partially requires payment. There are some drinks included in the €200-per-head tasting menu. You can order a separate alcoholic pairing at €45. Blah. Blah. The venue is a decent-sized bar space, dimmed and dark. There were more FOHs than diners. Above me was a nebula of eclectic images – a kind of modern pop art featuring disparate cultural items around the world – being played in slow motion. And soothing trance-like music..

Not so briefly. The fun at 41° Experience kicked off with a stubbornly square, neatly crafted “41°” ice cube which chilled a smoky liquid substance. Along came a jar containing drops of green olive, preserved in oil. Just your typical jar of olive – but the molecularised EL BULLI style. The liquid olive essence was entrapped in a gelatinous skin. Fragile, it rolled for an escape on the tongue and burst into a taste of what would have been like if I stuffed my mouth with 10 olives in one go. I have never made enough effort to be at El Bulli and I am – or was – never convinced by molecular gastronomy. BUT. That was some alchemy that I highly recommend.

Through my first 3-4 courses, I departed from Barcelona – the 41° latitude as the name of the restaurant portends- wandered through Italy, France, Russia, Asia and many more. Ferran and Albert Adria not only know so much about cuisines but also cultures, wherein lies humourous anecdotes and stereotypes. All these are re-interpreted into all the 41 dishes served at 41° Experience. Some were more successful than others. Some got me to physically interact and/or contemplate intellectually; others made me LAUGH OUT LOUD. (Something about France, of course. And Rene Redzepi might be on the menu). That said, as the concept of the menu relies very heavily on the elements of surprise, of not knowing what comes next and which country where you will end up, it is best not to do so much telling (or display any sharp and clear images). The cooking was exquisite but a complement to the concept. SO.. if you are a global character, know a lot about cuisines and cultures, you will be having a very good time at 41° Experience. If you are averse to internationalism, there is a high risk that you might not get the “jokes”, which are the best part of the meal.

Life-changing? No. But this meal reversed my eagerness in life and I felt happy, giggly.. as if I became a child again :-D

 

(Sorry. Can’t help not telling you of my most favourite dish – a re-constructed Peruvian “causa”. A thick slice of super fresh and

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firm yellowtail/hamachi marinated in lime, chilli and garlic was served nigiri-style on a velvety ball of spiced-infused mashed potatoes. The dish paid homage to the Japanese influences in Peruvian culinary tradition and taste-wise it was a bomb of citric umami).

PS Don’t hate me for doing this >_<

 

 

RATING: 5/5

41° EXPERIENCE

Avinguda Paral-lel, 164
08015, Barcelona
Spain

www.41grados.es