Breakfasts are easy to figure out when the fridge is full of leftovers. My sister and I shared some soy chicken from dinner, sweet potato, salad, avocado, and tuna packed in water.
My auntie Rosa, who is in charge of the cooking these days, made a really tasty Japanese-style eggplant & beef stew for lunch.
Dinner was a much more fancy affair. I met with some of my uni friends at Central, a restaurant that was recently awarded the top place in the prestigious Summum guide. Exciting.
I was early for a change, so I got to spend some time at the bar, freaking out about the cost of everything. It had been 2 years since I was in Lima and, from my point of view, prices have gone up. It may be that there are more fine dining restaurants these days, and that US dollars have lost value. Still, I refrained from ordering a drink and sat around with a glass of mineral water waiting for my friends.
A waiter offered me some snacks: sweet potato chips with sweet potato emulsion, and potato & beetroot chips with avocado emulsion. Chips were unbelievably thin (they barely held up enough to scoop out the dips), crunchy and delicious. Luckily, my friends arrived a bit late so I got a chip refill.
Sweet potato, potato & beetroot chips
Claudia and José Luis were the first ones to arrive. We went to our table, which was perfectly located: on the first floor with a view to the glass-surrounded kitchen.
Right next to us, there’s a room with books, interesting ingredients in test tubes, and other food-related geekiness that I’d love to check out next time I’m there.
We ordered a bar snack to share Tiradito de salmón (salmon sashimi-inspired dish) with Amazonian citrus emulsion, chonta (palm) & onion confit, and oxalis (a plant). The tangy dressing made the thin cuts of salmon taste like white fish. The tiradito was superb, I thoroughly enjoyed the flavours.
Tiradito de salmón (S/. 39, around $14.50)
Cocktails in the menu are described by their components. Claudia ordered a Camu camu – vodka – coca – Grand Marnier and Karina had a Fresa – vodka – licor de manzana – canela (strawberry, vodka, apple liqueur, cinnamon).
Camu camu – vodka – coca – Grand Marnier (S/. 25, around $9.30)
Fresa – vodka – licor de manzana – canela (S/. 24, around $8.90)
An interesting selection of breads started the meal: coca, white bread with butter, rye & fig and yellow chilli. I, of course, didn’t try any but heard enough “mmm”s and “aaa”s to know they were good. José Luis didn’t like the coca bread, he said it tasted grassy, like silverbeet pie. Along with the bread, we got two types of butter and olive oil. The dark butter was burnt butter with Maras salt (the Peruvian competition to Celtic, Himalayan and Murray River), and I can’t remember what the other one was. They were both tasty.
Butter, olive oil
The restaurant philosophy spins around sustainability, especially of fish. The menu is fish-focused, so it’s no surprise only one of us ordered a “land” dish. I ordered the Mero a baja temperatura (low temperature mero), which came with an artichoke cream, green asparagus, macambo (a nut) nibs, and mushrooms. I wasn’t expecting the artichoke to come as a cream (the menu only mentions the individual ingredients), so I think I may have had some gluten with it, but it was damn tasty. The dish as a whole had great flavours happening in harmony. I think Kike ordered the same dish.
Mero a baja temperatura (S/. 68, around $25.20)
Paty had the Salmón tierra (land salmon), with risotto, Marayhuaca mushrooms, bahuaja nut, and lemon. I had a taste of the risotto, which was delicious.
Salmón tierra (S/. 63, around $23.30)
José had the Paiche amazone (Amazonian paiche), with capers, Cushuro butter, yellow potato, and chonta. Paiche is a river fish from the jungle, which I absolutely love. It was a really nice surprise to see that most restaurants in Lima are now offering it.
Paiche amazone (S/. 78, around $28.90)
José Luis ordered the only non-fish dish: Cerdo de 21 días (21-day pig) with pear natilla (a thick milk-based sweet), lemongrass, grains, and mustard leaves. The meat was melt-in-your-mouth in texture, but apparently the natilla was too sweet, as it was saved to have as dessert.
Cerdo de 21 días (S/. 78, around $28.90)
Claudia had the Corvina crujiente (crunchy corvina), with X.O. scallops, arboreo rice, lemon and lemongrass. I didn’t hear any complains about it!
Corvina crujiente (S/. 65, around $24.10)
Karina ordered the Mero asado (baked mero), with Huamantanga potatoes, calamari, black quinoa, and greens confit. No complains here either.
Mero asado (S/. 66, around $24.50)
Food was great but portions were not that big. Thankfully, a good number of petit fours arrived to fill the gaps. A bathroom glass tile held pisco sour jellies, rocoto marzipans, Bailey’s bonbons, and another kind of bonbon I can’t remember.
A piece of ceramic tile held chicha morada (purple corn drink) and piña colada marshmallows.
Finally, a 30%, a 50% and a 70% cacao chocolate squares rounded up the meal (we were given two lots of everything).