Virgilio Martínez Véliz is the celebrated chef-owner of Central Restaurante in Lima.
And now, he’s the celebrated chef-owner of Lima restaurant in Central London.
He’s a chef that’s had awards heaped upon him: his Peruvian flagship is literally the No. 1 restaurant in Latin America according to the World’s 50 Best. And while historically getting a taste of his recipes involved a 15 hour flight and a grasp of GCSE Spanish, you can now take a shortcut by instead heading to Fitzrovia; locating the colourful, awning-laden restaurant with a smattering of diners sipping pisco sours outside it; and eating there.
Inside, enveloped in whitewashed clapboard, sprawling murals and the light flooding in from the skylight above, you’ll sip one of their sixteen Pisco Sours as you peruse the menu. It’s put together by head chef Sergio Arocas, who is dutifully carrying on this noble lineage after a trip to Lima where he spent time exploring food markets and developing dishes with Mr. Martínez himself.
The menu is designed as a kind of build-your-own epicurean adventure, with dozens of small plates to sample and share, including the likes of wagyu beef nigiri and anticucho eggplant; three kinds of ceviche; 24-hour slow-cooked suckling pig with blue potatoes; and Andean turbot drizzled in apple custard fruit sauce.
For those racked with indecision, there’s the Peru Experience; a wine-paired tasting menu that takes you on a chronological tour through the country’s unique cuisine, from pre-Incan civilisations to the arrival of the conquistadores; followed by influences from Chinese, Japanese, Italian, Portuguese and German immigrants. And, naturally the English, in that it can also be served for brunch. With bottomless prosecco and Peruvian beer.
You’ll finish up with alfajores with bee pollen; avocado and chocolate mousse; and a traditional dessert of dulce de leche, port and crispy meringue called suspiro ardiente, or ‘burning sigh’.
Have too many and you’ll find out why.
NOTE: Lima Fitzrovia is open daily for lunch (12-2.30pm) and dinner (5.30-10.30pm/9.30pm Sundays). You can find out more and make a booking at their website right HERE.
Lima Fitzrovia | 31 Rathbone Place, W1T 1JH
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