You’ll quickly discover that Peruvian food isn’t just about flavours, but textures too
Binge-watching Chef’s Table, admiring chef Virgilio Martínez Véliz’s passion for food and produce, and discovering Peru’s cultivation of over 3,000 varieties of potatoes, made Lima Dubai a winner on our list already. My dining partner had dined here previously and highly commended the ceviche and corn cakes that he could never really get out of his mind, and was eager to relish once again.
Luckily, it was included in the five-course menu at Lima Dubai. Peruvian food isn’t just about flavours, but textures too, with a heavy emphasis on local produce. Our brunch began with cushion-like bao buns filled with tender duck slices, shredded beef and pickles with a mildly spiced rocoto sauce. The seabass ceviche was soon presented with crisp red onions, cancha corn for a crunchy bite and traditional tiger’s milk for sweetness.
The ceviche salmon showcased chunky cubes with yellow tiger milk, beetroot and asparagus tempura, to balance out the flavours. A striking blue plate sat before our eyes, and on it, a traditional chicken causa featuring tangy yellow potato, shredded chicken breast and Peruvian olive that was pureed and drizzled over the contents of the plate in a bright purple hue. Up next was one of my favourite dishes, a snack I need to recreate at home and savour while watching TV, the tequenos (lomo saltado with huancaina and andes leaf chilli). These crisp finger-sized rolls are crunchy and crispy on the outside, with the delectable sauce-packed filling of meat and veggies dripping out upon every bite.
Prawns anticucho was the next beautifully-plated dish presented, highlighting the renowned traditional Inka Panka chilli. Each piece of prawn was incredibly luscious and flavoursome. To tie this course together, a Chinese style rice with oyster mushrooms, spring onion and asparagus and broccoli was served – much – needed carbs with a bit of greens.
For mains, my dining partner picked the generously portioned, fleshy and spiced chicken breast pachamanca with sautéed potatoes, corn brûlée (the dense, moist corn cake he praised on several occasions), while I opted for the slow cooked lamb seco with pumpkin done two ways (puréed for the base and a crisp garnish) topped with a citrus coriander marinade and kiwicha (also known as amaranth), a superfood seed. A side of colourful Andean potatoes that were sweet, boiled, crisp and fried were presented to us on the side as well. We ended up sharing both mains and unfortunately couldn’t get through all of it, as the portions were quite enormous.
Remember dessert is an integral part of brunch, and at Lima Dubai if you do have space to squeeze in a few bites – we tried our best – it’s worth tucking into the purple corn jelly-textured mousse with cream, ice lollies and crème brûlée.