Change is on the menu at Peruvian restaurant Lima
Inspired by a trip to his native Peru, head chef Robert Ortiz brings new dishes to his Michelin-starred London restaurant
Peruvian cuisine is now undeniably a staple of London's food scene – one only has to look at the success of Martin Morales's mini empire for evidence, including two outposts of Ceviche and the Andes-inspired Andina. The past few months alone have seen a number of new restaurants pop up, proving the cuisine is as popular as ever – the seafood-focused Chicama, from the creators of the acclaimed Pachamama, is a welcome addition to the King's Road, while Butifarra, which opened in Soho in August, serves up the classic sandwich-style street snack from which it takes its name.
One of the leaders of the pack remains Lima, whose Fitzrovia restaurant earned it a Michelin star in 2013, a year after it opened. Three years on, head chef Robert Ortiz is proving his desire to stay ahead of the curve with a carefully constructed new menu, launching 6 October, the result of a summer of research spent in his native Peru.
Alongside teams from both Lima Fitzrovia and its sister restaurant Lima Floral, including chef proprietor Virgilio Martinez (who also owns Central in Lima, which has been sitting proudly at number four on the World's Best Restaurants list since 2015), he set out to discover new ingredients, tastes and flavours to bring back to the capital.
The new menu will make use of the earthy tones of a variety of roots native to the Andes region, from white and blue sweet potatoes to racacha, a starchy taproot with a taste reminiscent of carrot or celery, which will be baked in aromatic herbs and chaco (an edible soil) to help preserve its flavours. Ceviche, one of Lima's calling cards, will see the addition of tumbo fruit to give acidity while cooking, while other fish dishes, such as turbot and zander, will be enhanced with seaweed native to Peruvian shores. On a sweeter note, the dessert menu has been reworked to include no added or refined sugars, instead relying on the natural ingredients to give flavour.
The changes accompany a transformation of the interior of the Fitzrovia location, with an extension that has opened up space for more diners, as well as a redesign of the restaurant's bar, Sotano, which now features colourful murals by artist Bluey Byrne.
"During my recent trip to Peru I reconnected with my roots, people and traditions. I also spent some quality time with Virgilio at Central, which inspired my cooking and gave me lots of fresh ideas," says Ortiz. "It was a fantastic trip, which not only encouraged innovation in my cuisine but also enabled me to bring some truly authentic and new ingredients to London's Peruvian food scene."
31 Rathbone Place, Fitzrovia, London W1T 1JH; limalondongroup.com