It is five years since Lima London opened the doors of its first restaurant in Fitzrovia. To celebrate this anniversary last week they organised a lovely private party at Lima Floral where three of the best Peruvian chefs were preparing delicious ceviche and other delightful Peruvian dishes. Beside Virgilio Martinez, we had the pleasure to meet Gaston Acurio (Astrid & Gaston) and Mitsuharu Tsumura (Maido) and enjoy their food.
The story of Lima London started years ago when Gabriel Gonzalez went with his brother to Virgilio Martinez’ restaurant Central in Peru and fell in love with the food. The Gonzalez brothers proposed to Virgilio an opening of a restaurant in London and he agreed. That’s how Lima London was born. “Initially our aim was to create a very casual place serving ceviche and cocktails, but then during the development and based on the location we just went for a more elaborated menu,” explains Gabriel Gonzalez.
“For Lima I always had in mind more traditional Peruvian dishes, I knew they couldn’t and shouldn’t be similar to Central in Peru where we enjoy the proximity of Peruvian nature. We needed to adapt our Peruvian ingredients and recipes for London – our main goal was to keep it simple and tasty,” added Virgilio. “Our dishes at Lima London are expressing the constant evolution of Peruvian casual food, way different to what we cook at Central. Emotions here in London are coming from another perspective, ingredients have to be excellent, cooking intelligent … there is no time to blink, Lima the city is evolving and in the same way is evolving Lima London.”
Opening of Lima Fitzrovia coincided in 2013 with the opening of quite some Peruvian restaurants in London. Everybody was talking about the Peruvian year, remembers Gabriel Gonzalez who sees it very positive because people started talking about Peruvian food and embraced the Peruvian flavours. The Lima London team was very happy to receive a Michelin star already a year after the opening – they didn’t expect that. This was their great success and everybody is proud about it. It was the first Peruvian restaurant to receive a Michelin star! British people fell in love with ceviche!
The story of Lima London developed further. Lima Floral was open in 2014 – it is a bit more casual setting than Lima Fitzrovia; in summer 2016 Lima London had also a six months long pop-up at world-food hall at Harrods and in March this year Lima Dubai opened its doors. What’s next?
“We would love to open a restaurant in the USA. Possibly Miami. We are working on this now,” explained their plans Gabriel Gonzales. And Virgilio added that Lima will live and develop forever – as long as all of them will be happy. Stay happy, guys!
Some more photos from the event: