The environs of Charlotte Street is a nice little area for decent eateries with the likes of Dabbous, Bubbledogs and Lima in close proximity. It was to Lima I ventured on a night out mid-week with a couple of friends having heard some positive mutterings about this Peruvian establishment. I had booked a table for 8.30pm and the place was busy upon on our arrival. The host welcomed us, made space for my fold-up bike, and in a sign of chivalry carried it for me. It’s always nice to meet a gentleman. The first floor was packed and we were ushered downstairs to the bar to the bar for a drink while we waited for our table.
I am unfamiliar with Peruvian beverages a Pisco Sour and later a Chilcano. The Pisco Sour comprised of pisco, lime, sugar, egg whites and bitters…for those of you well aware of the contents of a Pisco Sour I apologise for my ignorance. As mine had a passion fruit twist, it became a Maracuya. It was very nice. As there was no sign of our table emerging I decided to try a Chilcano, a refreshing tall drink again with pisco as the base ingredient, and lemon, syrup, bitters and ginger ale. Again, it was quite tasty. We were seated at all table some 45 minutes after arriving and eagerly browsed the menu. As we waited and chatted, we did note the noise in the restaurant….possibly it’s the acoustics that are downstairs, but the sound travels and it was quite noisy. The noise was amplified by the 6 hyenas seated next to us who were incredibly loud to the point of being very rude.
We ordered the pig, lamb and merluza for our mains and waited at least 45 minutes for the first food to arrive. This wasn’t an issue as our waiter had recommended an excellent bottle of Chilean red wine but when I consider that we waited 45 minutes to be seated initially, it was an hour and a half before we received any food. This intimated to me that the restaurant may have been understaffed. Furthermore, when the food arrived it was a little cold. It was however very tasty.
I had the confit of suckling pig which was served with roasted cashews (Amazonian cashews I’ll have you know…that can’t be great for the old carbon footprint) with lentils and pear. In presentation it was very beautiful indeed. The beauty was matched only with the taste of the pig – the crispy crackling breaking through to some succulent pork. The braised lamb shoulder was also a winner, combining well with the coriander and pisco jus, black quinoa and white grape. Finally, the merluza was probably the most artistic in its presentation, half served on a bed of kohlrabi (cabbage) with capers, the other half on a piquillo and maca root compote. This food was very enjoyable; it does however suffer from the curse of my visit to Dabbous…any restaurant I have visited since has to measure up to perfection, and this quite frankly is challenging.
For dessert, we had one of the coffee ice-cream with honey, olive oil and coconut powder; one cacoa porcelano with mango granite and blue potato crystal; and one dulce de leche ice cream with beetroot emulsion and honey. Each hit the spot. The caco porcelano (chocolate) was rich and decadent and in presentation was probably most visually appealing. It was also very tasty. The winner (for the 3 of us) was the dulce de leche which was just scrumptious. Although not initially enarmoured with the coffee ice-cream, I did eventually find myself scraping the bowl to get every last flake of coconut. I think it was a slow burner.
The bill for 3 including tip totalled £170 – that was for 2 courses for 3 people, sparkling water, 1 bottle of red wine and tea. My recommendation is to be seated upstairs, go with the wine recommendation from the waiter, and save room for dessert.