At the end of June new restaurant LIMA will open on Rathbone Place (W1T 1JH) in Fitzrovia. The creation of chef Virgilio Martinez and the Gonzalez brothers, LIMA will integrate both traditional and contemporary Peruvian cuisine, representing the gastronomic expansion that has taken place in Peru in recent years.
Virgilio Martinez is currently chef patron of Central restaurant in Lima. Prior to this, Virgilio held the position of executive chef at Astrid y Gaston, listed on the The World’s 50 Best Restaurants sponsored by San Pellegrino and Acqua Panna, and has also worked in notable kitchens in New York, London, Singapore and Spain. LIMA is his first international solo venture in London and will parallel the culinary offerings at Central.
The head chef at LIMA will be Virgilio’s long-time friend, Robert Ortiz. They met in London 13 years ago, where they shared the same “partie” in a restaurant. Robert has continuously travelled back to Peru to visit Central for inspiration as well as his hometown in the Amazon region of Peru. Five years ago, he formally became an integral part of Central restaurant’s creativity team whilst being a chef in London. Restaurant Manager Bunmi Okolosi will take charge of front of house; he brings with him a wealth of experience from London restaurants such as Boundary and Pont de la Tour. Most recently Bunmi held the position of Maitre D’ at the Michelin starred Dinner by Heston Blumenthal.
The authentic Peruvian menu, put together by both Virgilio and Robert, is split into a “crudo” (raw) section, which includes ceviches and tiraditos, starters and main courses, and a tasting menu. Whilst LIMA will aim to source much of its produce from within the UK, the restaurant will also bring carefully selected and hitherto unheard of ingredients from small producers in Peru. As Virgilio comments, “Peruvian cuisine is nothing if it doesn’t show its native produce.” Diners at LIMA can enjoy starters of Octopus “al olivo” or Duck cured magret whilst main courses will include Turbot with an Amazon citrus and Suckling pig with potatoes cultivated at 4,000 metres.
The restaurant’s interior has been conceived by March & White, one of London’s most exciting new design firms. The vision for the project is to deliver a playful yet elegant design in line with the LIMA identity, including strong native influences throughout to create a taste of Peru in central London. The team at LIMA are extremely excited to showcase Peruvian cuisine in London and tell the country’s colourful culinary story.
Notes to editor:
· Virgilio’s team at Central is headed up by his fiancée and sous-chef Pia Leon.