Central – Miraflores, Lima, Peru


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.

Mater Elevations
Central - menu and plate

Paita Expedition (-25m)

Frogfish, Deepwater Algae

Central - 1 - paita expedition

Orchard of Mala (290m)

Cactus Milk, Retma Petals

Central - 2 - orchard of mala

Dry Andes (3900m)

Chaco Clay, Ocas

Central - 3 - Dry Andes

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

Central - 4 - ten mile fish

Diversity of Corn (1800m)

Choclo, Kculli, San Geronimo

Central - 5 - Diversity of Corn

High Jungle (1250m)

Yacon, Duck

Central - 6 - High Jungle

Dead Amazon (860m)

Ungurahui, Achiote, Coca Leaf

Central - 7 - Dead Amazon

Central - 7 - Dead Amazon 2

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

Central - 8 - Rock of the Sea 1

Central - 8 - Rock of the Sea 2

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

Central - 9 - Cold Cultivation 1

Central - 9 - Cold Cultivation 2

Valley between the Andes (2875m)

Central - 10 - Valley Between the Andes 1

Octopus in the Desert (0m)

Octopus, Purple Corn, Airampo

Central - 11 - Octopus in the Desert

Central - 11 - Octopus in the Desert 2

Extreme Altitude (4200)

Isco Potato, Cushuro, Tunta

Central - 12 - Extreme Altitude

Mountain Beef (2750m)

Milk, Heart, Kaniwa

Central - 13 - Mountain Beef

Arid Forest (85m)

Algarrobo, Mamey, Palo Blanco Cacao

Central - 14 - Arid Forest

Loved the thin string of chocolate suspended across the dish.

Coca Leaf Environment (1750m) 

Coffee, Chirimoya, Muna Minta

Central - 15 - Coca Leaf Enviornment1

Barks and Resins – Jungle (645m)

Shambo Quiro, Sachapapa, Huampo

Central - 16 - Barks and Resin

Central - 16 - Barks and Resin 2

Theobromas Solar Infusion (450m)

Macambo, Stevia

Central - 17 - Solar Infusion

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