How does Virgilio Martínez’s Dubai venture fare?

Yet another Peruvian spot, Lima is located in the popular alleys of Citywalk, one of the trendy places in town lately. The venue marks the third opening of international restaurants (one of them a Michelin star in London) by Virgilio Martínez under the same name, also preceded by Central Restaurante – 5th Best Restaurant in the World.

The decor is mainly brown with swatches of orange and blue, making for a cool welcome as we step in from scorching heat outdoors. Lima, which is fairly empty for a weekend afternoon, has friendly servers who immediately seat us and offer our welcome drinks.

The menu progresses from Bocados (can be eaten in a bite), to ceviches, and later Signature dishes served as main course. With options enough to leave you confused, we finally settle for Purple Corn and Tomato Bocados [AED 18] , Poached Lobster Tiraditos [AED 90], and a Sautéed Avocado Ceviche [AED 70]. The bocados are presented on a purple corn crepe topped with tomato salsa and cherry tomatoes, devoured quickly in a bite. The lobster dish is immersed in Rocoto chili tiger’s milk (tiger milk is a remnant of raw fish marinade made with a mixture of lime, onions, and chilli) and interestingly paired with an avocado sauce beautifully garnished with edible flowers. While the former dishes lead to a great start, the Sautéed Avocado pales in comparison due to a somehow bland avocado being served with purple potatoes in corn tiger’s milk.

This is followed soon by Beef Tenderloin [AED 95] and Black Cod [AED 90] Anticuchos which are bite sized portions of meat and fish paired with home-made corn brûlée. Both dishes take our lunch up a notch for being fantastically cooked, presenting lots of flavor and that drizzle of traditional Ink panca chili sauce being the icing on a cake.

Our main course is shared between two – slow cooked lamb atop pumpkin puree and garnished with pumpkin crisps. The Lamb Seco [AED 130] works wonderfully due to its sheer simplicity of being uncomplicated.

After a fair round of savory, we look at our dessert menus for something new. The Peruvian Suspiro [AED 50] is a stunning presentation of Chirimoya ice cream and meringue, works well for the chocolate and non-chocolate lovers. My partner, who isn’t very adventurous, orders the San Martin Chocolate [AED 55] which is an underwhelming plate of chocolate shavings, tuile, brownies, and mousse.

A first expectation of Lima had me thinking about dishes similar to Virgilio Martinez’s episode of the Chef Table series. However, we feel the dishes have been toned down in this location. 

#Coffee is best when had with #dessert, don't you agree?

A post shared by Sarah | Hungryoungwoman (@hungryoungwoman) on

If we’re going back: The main courses look promising and seem worth another visit. As for dessert, we’ll recommend the Peruvian Suspiro in a heartbeat. For chocolate addicts, there’s Avocado Mousse [AED 50] with 75% chocolate and Rocoto pepper which we’re hoping to try next!

Have you had the opportunity of dining at Lima London or Central? What’s your take on the dishes there? Let us know your thoughts…

Until then, happy eating! xx

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