Warning before you read this post. It contains drastic food porn, and should definitely not be viewed when hungry. 😉
When browsing on TripAdvisor for places to eat in Lima, we found Central which was the number one rated restaurant in town. We had no trouble reserving a table for 8pm on a Saturday night (that’s because, it turned out, nobody really eats that early but since it was one seating per table it didn’t matter) and couldn’t wait to try their amazing ten course tasting menu of local and regional ingredients which looked amazing and was reasonably priced.
Although you can’t really compare the two, the concept reminded me of Noma in Copenhagen, sourcing unusual local ingredients and the freshest of the season to come up with something that was fine dining, but at the same time local and unique. We were seriously excited!
When we arrived at 8pm, they asked if we’d like to sit now or have a drink in the bar, and we took the hint and went to the bar for a pisco first. This turned out to be a good plan, since the restaurant hadn’t really kicked into gear yet and it was a bit early to eat. The drinks came, and were definitely the best ones we had on the entire trip!
About 30 minutes later, the restaurant still only had one table full, so yeah, of course there was time for one more drink. This time, it was a coca leaf sour, which was absolutely delicious as well!
By this time it was around 9pm and the restaurant was starting to fill up, so we went in the dining room to begin. Rough estimate the whole restaurant was around 20 tables, and maybe 50-60 seats total. Not a big place at all, and there were at least 15-20 people working in the kitchen plus the wait staff. Talk about labour intensive! We confirmed that we wanted the tasting menu, called the “Experiencia Origen” along with the wine pairing. Little did we know it would be at least 1/2 glass of wine with each of the 10 courses…the danger sirens had yet to alert us. While we waited on the first course, an amazing bread plate was brought out:
I’m going to go through the rest of the dinner course by course, with comments as I remember them, and with the best translation I can come up with!
I. Recoleccion de Conchas y Algas del Sur – Collection of Scallops and Algae of the South. This was absolutely delicious, and there were so many flavours going on that it was awesome. The flowers added a really interesting nuance as well.
II. La Pesca de 60 Millas a 6 Grados – 60 Mile Fish at 6 Degrees
III. Pulpo de Roca, Carbón Morado – Rock Octopus, Purple Char – this was definitely some of the best octopus I’ve ever had!
IV. Camarón de Aguas Bajo Andinas – Lower Andes Water Shrimp
V. Paiche en Huerta Amazone Yurimaguas – Amazon Yurimaguas Farmed Fish
VI. Cerdo Lechal en Pastos de Altura – Suckling Piglet in High Altitude Grass. Definitely one of my favourite courses. The pig was tender and super fatty, which normally I’m not a fan of, but with the crispy skin it was melt in your mouth delicioiusness!
VII. Cabro 21 por 24 – Baby Goat 21 by 24
VIII. Nuez de Bahuaja – Bahuaja Nuts – tasted very similar to coconut, and I think was meant to be a palate cleanser.
IX. Árboll de Annona – Annona Tree. The tree fruit was amazing on its own, but even more fun was the big bowl of dry ice the set on the table to make a production of it. Hey, I’m a little kid at heart!
X. Tiempo de Té – Tea Time – various little munchies on some spun sugar with tea….super yum!
…and finally, the menu:
Final damage with wine was approximately 500 soles per person, which considering it was 10 courses with wine wasn’t bad at all. The originality and local ingredients made it a fun experience on top of being great food. I’d definitely come here again when in Lima! One other note, since we wondered in advance. There’s absolutely no dress code it appears. We came in buttondown shirts and nice jeans, and were not the least bit out of place. There was actually one group of Americans in shorts even, but I think that was a little bit TOO casual!