“The Girl Who Ate Boston” Nibbles London: Lima

I did some of the touristy things on my trip to London. I looked up at the London Eye, Europe’s tallest ferris wheel, and as my hands started to sweat with acrophobia, thought, “Nah, I’m good.” I went to the British Museum, where I saw many a mummy. Big mummies, small mummies, old mummies, not-so-old mummies. I bought a hat at the oldest hat shop in the world, and then spent the remainder of the afternoon pinning it onto my head with both hands while the wind tried to steal it from me.

Wandering along the River Thames, enjoying the beauty of Big Ben and the Palace of Westminster while holding onto my hat for dear life.

But restaurants are my primary tourist adventure, and let me tell you, London has got game. Boston’s food scene is great, but “international” cities, like New York City and Chicago and London, play on a different level.

I decided to hit up some restaurants on the Michelin list. I collect Michelin stars, but because Michelin doesn’t rate Boston, I rarely get the opportunity to up my tally.

The Michelin list tends to favor French cuisine first, followed by mostly European and American cuisines. Cuisines from the rest of the world definitely make the list, but with comparatively low frequency. I’ve tried some Peruvian food in the past couple years, including great meals at Quenas in Harrison, New York, and Antara in Medfield, Massachusetts. I was psyched to see a Peruvian restaurant on the Michelin list, named after the Peruvian capital.

Lima - London - Restaurant
The interior of Lima, a Michelin-starred Peruvian restaurant on Rathbone Place in the Fitzrovia neighborhood of London.

So, lunch for two at Lima on Rathbone Place in the Fitzrovia neighborhood of London.

Lima - London - Avocado Amuse
A simple avocado amuse bouche to start.

Let’s talk about plating and the whole idea of “the eye eats first.” Artful plating tends to be one of the distinguishing factors of Michelin restaurants. In the case of my starter, octopus olivio, check out how the kitchen added little dollops of purple sauce into some of the tiny suction cups on the octopus tentacle. Attention to detail!

Lima - London - Octopus Olivio
Octopus olivio. Chopped pieces of octopus upon tiny beds of bojita olive tapenade, with purple corn chips, purple corn sauce, and lime “tiger milk” (leche de tigre, the citrus connection used to cure ceviche).

Plating only goes so far if the taste doesn’t match the scene, but thankfully, the octopus at Lima tasted as good as it looked. This can be tricky because octopus doesn’t have an especially strong flavor or texture to my palate. In this case, it was a little briny, a little chewy, playing off the salty olive tapenade and sweet purple corn nicely.

Lima - London - Tiradito
Tiradito, with cobia fish, black tiger milk, Jerusalem artichoke, and chia seeds.

My dining partner wasn’t bowled over with his starter, the tiradito. The traditional Peruvian dish consists of thinly raw fish served with a spicy citrus sauce, often with kernels of boiled corn and sweet potato. He likes his tiradito to have a citrus flavor strong enough to take the roof off your mouth, and while the “tiger milk” was definitely present in his appetizer—I tasted it—the overall flavor palate was more complex than he had hoped.

Lima - London - Lamb Seco
Lamb seco. A chunk of slow-braised pork shoulder topped with pieces of seared lamb loin, with pumpkin puree, fava beans, and corn beer juice.

But he did enjoy his lamb entree, cooked to juicy perfection. I opted for the buttery seared cod, which was also cooked to perfection. I found it to be even better than the octopus. I don’t usually see fruit added as an accompaniment for white fish, but I did love the tangy camucamu seeds, which tasted much like pleasantly acidic pomegranate seeds to me.

Lima - London - Seared Black Cod
Three pieces of seared black cod, and on the side atop a bed of cusco yellow corn, a lightly charred half-stalk of heart of palm, dotted with camucamu seeds.

The cusco corn cake is a side dish you shouldn’t miss. I love cornbread—I had eaten some amazing take-no-prisoners cornbread drowned in melted butter at The Lockhart the previous day—but this wasn’t U.S. Southern-style cornbread. The corn cake was blithely sweet, made from whole kernels of ripe sweetcorn rather than cornmeal, and moist to the point of almost being wet. It was divine.

Lima - London - Cusco Corn Cake
Cusco corn cake, a side dish that almost stole the show from my main course.

I typically ask the waitstaff what is the most popular dessert, because the finale is no time to screw around. You have one shot to get it right. (Or in my case, occasionally two or three, depending on just how much self-control I’m going to exhibit, but that’s besides the point.)

Version 3
Peruvian alfajores, little biscuit sandwiches, with a scoop of dulce de leche ice cream, more dulce de leche dollops because you can never have enough of the stuff, and little golden nibs of bee pollen.

Our waitress recommended the chocolate avocado mousse as Lima’s the most popular dessert, and I’m glad she did. Within a sea of 25+ Michelin-starred dishes during my London restaurant excursions, this one stood out. My dining partner tried to justify digging into my dollop of chocolate mousse by saying that he felt so-so about his Peruvian alfajores dessert, but I elbowed him out of the way.

Lima - London - Chocolate Avocado Dessert
That’s a chocolate avocado, folks! A chocolate shell shaped like half an avocado, filled with avocado mousse around a dollop of chocolate mousse.

I’ve had avocado soup and avocado smoothies, but the mousse was lighter, sweeter, dreamy. The chocolate mousse and exterior shell balanced the flavor palate with cacao-driven sharpness. Talk about ending your meal on a high note!

Lima was a last-minute addition to my culinary itinerary and I am so glad that I didn’t miss it. If you get the chance to visit, I’m sure you’ll feel the same way. I don’t just wish that there were more good Peruvian restaurants in Boston; I wish Lima was in Boston.

INFORMATION as of January 2016

Official website: limalondongroup.com/fitzrovia
OpenTable reservations: opentable.co.uk/lima-fitzrovia
Twitter: @Lima_London
Facebook: facebook.com/limarestaurant
Instagram: instagram.com/lima_london

Address & Phone
31 Rathbone Place
London, W1T 1JH
+44 20 3002 2640

Lima Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

3 thoughts on ““The Girl Who Ate Boston” Nibbles London: Lima

  1. Great article! Impressed by your photos. I love London and there is no doubt that city has amazing restaurants in totally different level. I live in Boston too but I think we need to learn a lot more.
    I’m a newbie in food blogging and I’ll appreciate if you check my blog too. Its all about wine and food.

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