Our journey around the world without leaving London continues with a visit to Lima Cantina to savour the flavours of Peru.
The original Lima opened in Fitzrovia in 2012, bringing the delights of Peruvian cuisine to the capital with dishes made using an incredible array of exotic and then unheard-of ingredients.
This rich tapestry of dishes is influenced by a range of cultures including European, African and Asian. And it’s delectable, with the fine-dining offering thriving in the country’s capital, Lima, where gourmet restaurant Central has been voted the best restaurant in the world for 2023. That’s quite some accolade.
But we don’t have to travel that far and can continue our exciting food journey of discovery without leaving the UK at the newly renovated Lima Cantina. The menu takes Peruvian food back to its roots with a menu showcasing simple dishes inspired by markets and home cooking. Think ceviches and tiraditos, tacos and empanadas for starters and mains grilled over charcoal that include steaks, ribs, pork, octopus and sea bream and great vegetarian options like artichokes, baby gem lettuce and roasted aubergine. The restaurant is also home to the first Peruvian rotisserie, or Rotombo, in London, used for cooking the traditional pollo a la brasa, chicken marinaded in Peruvian herbs and spices.
We start off with Pisco sours while we ponder our choices – a traditional Peruvian drink made using Pisco as the base liquor combined with citrus juice and egg whites for a delicious frothy concoction. On consultation with our charming waiter we start with tuna tiradito and beef empanadas – everything to be shared, because that’s just the best way to do it. The tuna is fresh and soft and bathed in a beautifully zesty sauce with a slight chilli bite while the empanadas are light with a sweetly meaty filling.
We have to try the rotisserie chicken, which is slightly spicy and tender and comes with crispy Andean potatoes (Peruvians love a potato) and aji amarillo (a kind of yellow pepper sauce). And then there’s the beautifully crispy frittura de sea bream artistically served with the zestiest of sauces.
To finish off we share a plate of crunchy traditional Peruvian donuts called picarones, served with delectable lime ice cream. The perfect ending to our Peruvian feast in the colourful and stylish setting that is Lima Cantina.
Worlds by Sandy Cadiz-Smith