Santa Isabella 376, Miraflores
Lima is secretly (or maybe not so secretly) becoming a powerhouse on the world food stage. Three of the top seven restaurants on the Latin America Best 50 are located in the Peruvian capital. On our stop in Lima, we dined at all three of these restaurants, with our first stop being Central.
Central is numbero uno on the aforementioned list which created a little pre-meal hype and excitement. The chef, Virgilio Martinez, curated the menu to emphasize the amazing biodiversity within Peru. A coastal country with deserts, mountain highlands, and a chunk of the Amazon rainforest; Peru is a natural source for ingredients that are impossible to find in American or European kitchens. These ingredients are the focus of the “Mater Elevations” tasting menu.
This menu is a 17 course journey through ingredients sourced from the different elevations of Peru. Printed on the menu is a guide as to how many meters above sea level each course originated at (ranging from -25 to 4200).
Each course at Central is presented on a different plate, many of which have a nature-ish feel (including some that are extremely heavy rocks). When a “normal” plate is used, the dish is often presented off center, creating an aesthetic look using the open space.
As we move into the meal; I will not try to describe each course due to the month between eating and writing but I will apologize for a few of the blurry photos.
Paita Expedition (-25m)
Frogfish, Deepwater Algae
Orchard of Mala (290m)
Cactus Milk, Retma Petals
Dry Andes (3900m)
Chaco Clay, Ocas
For this dish, we were kindly asked to only eat the rock looking things on the right side of the big slab and not the real rocks in the bowl.
The Ten-Mile Fish (-5m)
Calamari, Sargassum, Barquillo
Diversity of Corn (1800m)
Choclo, Kculli, San Geronimo
High Jungle (1250m)
Dead Amazon (860m)
Ungurahui, Achiote, Coca Leaf
The bread with the darker spread in the first picture was fantastic. The second blurry picture is of tree bark like planks.
Rock of the Sea (-6m)
Clam, Sweet Lemon
This this was the first dish in a string of lovely, amazing courses. We talked about this particular plate for days to follow. The “rock” was puffed with air and collapsed into a sea of clam and lemon on contact.
Cold Cultivation (-10m)
Scallops, Loche Squash, Tumbo
Valley between the Andes (2875m)
Octopus in the Desert (0m)
Octopus, Purple Corn, Airampo
Extreme Altitude (4200)
Isco Potato, Cushuro, Tunta
Mountain Beef (2750m)
Milk, Heart, Kaniwa
Arid Forest (85m)
Algarrobo, Mamey, Palo Blanco Cacao
Loved the thin string of chocolate suspended across the dish.
Coca Leaf Environment (1750m)
Coffee, Chirimoya, Muna Minta
Barks and Resins – Jungle (645m)
Shambo Quiro, Sachapapa, Huampo
Theobromas Solar Infusion (450m)