Lima Floral: where I had one of my favourite meals of 2014

Lima Floral, the sister restaurant of Michelin-starred Lima (Fitzrovia), opened this year with the aim of showcasing Peruvian fare as authentic and as organic as possible. It’s split into two levels: a 60-cover restaurant upstairs and a Pisco bar downstairs. 

It’s become one of my favourite restaurants in town. They’ve managed to translate hearty dishes into wholesome yet absolutely flavourful meals that are worthy of their own stars.

Lima Floral, Covent Garden
We started with the colourful complimentary bread basket served with a yogurt dip. The bread, made with purple corn and annatto seeds, came as if freshly baked - warm and soft on the inside with a good crust. It was so good we asked for second helpings defying all fears of carbs.

You’ll see the phrase “Tiger’s milk” a lot on the menu. Tiger’s milk or leche con tigre is essentially the soul of Peruvian ceviches. It’s the marinade made from the juices of the fish and citrus, plus a variation of ingredients of your desire.

Lima Floral, Covent Garden

The sea bream ceviche (£10) is one of their bestseller starters. Quite rightly so. The fish tasted fresh, and the tiger’s milk (aka the soul of Peruvian ceviches) blend was perfectly balanced and clean on the palate.

Lima Floral, Covent Garden
The escabeche was pretty good. Beef served rare topped with algarrobo syrup and escabeche dressing - simple, but does the trick.

Lima Floral, Covent Garden

I would have preferred the tuna nikkei (£10) to be served as normal ie with the green tiger’s milk sauce on the plate but as my friend V is quite averse to pepper and chilli, we had it served on the side. It was still actually decent, but it left me wondering how it would have tasted if we went all out.

Lima Floral, Covent Garden

The beef sudado (£26) is a sophisticated homage to the popular South American beef stew. The beef, seared the way I like it, is tender. The quinoa stew and broth had a hearty comforting taste yet it was light and somehow refreshing in a way any ordinary stew can never be.

Lima Floral, Covent Garden

I went for the daily special a dish of seared paiche (£20), one of the largest riverfish in the world. I LOVED THIS. The fish, soft and firm at the same time, is so flavourful and melted in my mouth. It came with mashed plantain and chocolate crumbs (a revelation!) and a beautiful sauce of sweet and slightly tangy flavours which rounded the dish so well. Hands down, one of the best dishes I’ve had all year (even trumps Gunther’s signature angel hair with caviar).

Lima Floral, Covent Garden

The monkfish piancha (£22) was beautiful too. Firm and meaty, it was fresh and light and the added texture of the courgette ribbons made it fuller. The red tiger milk broth was fragrant, slightly soured by tomatoes and lime. Slightly reminiscent of fish sinigang but elevated for fine dining.

Lima Floral, Covent Garden

I’ve not been excited with side dishes in a while but the cusco corn cake (£4) was really deliciously sweet and savoury. I could eat mountains of this for brekkie, lunch, dinner, midnight snack… oh you know.

The olluquito potato (£4) mash was probably the only dish I didn’t like. Nothing wrong with it, but I just found this plain.

We finished the meal with triumphant pudding. The chocolate mousse (£7) was rich yet light and textures of oak wood and sorrel made it less boring to the palate.

The passionfruit yoghurt (£7) was surprisingly firm. Creamy with a slight tang, this was refreshing and very light. Definitely a winner!

My choice of pud was the cafe peruano (£7) which is essentially coffee ice cream garnished with dehydrated purple potato crumbs and served with a red kiwicha (a flowering plant which is also known as love-lies-bleeding). The coffee ice cream had the right amount of flavour and purple potato gave an interesting texture. I enjoyed it a lot, but not as much as enjoyed the passionfruit yoghurt.

The staff gave P a birthday surprise. It had dulce de leche, kiwicha and purple potato crumbs, creamy custard, merengue buttons, etc. It really was a birthday party on a slate.

Often, when Michelin-starred restaurants open extension branches with relatively more reasonably priced food, one would think something’s got to give. Standard of food, service or ambience may be compromised for the price you pay… but Lima Floral disproved all that. Food was excellent (often mindblowing), service was impeccable (our server Hector was brilliant and super knowledgeable of their fare), and the ambience is very cool.
Cheers to a delicious 2014. Looking forward to toasting the year ahead. Happy 2015, everyone!
Lima Floral

14 Garrick Street, Covent Garden, London WC2E | +44 (0)20 724 05778
Ave price per person: £60
View their menu on Zomato.

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