Not that long ago South American cuisine was the butt of many jokes, with too many guinea pig remarks being made. However last year it suddenly made a bit of a meteoric rise in popularity with lots of celeb filled places popping up and with a restaurant called Lima becoming the first Peruvian restaurant to win one those covered Michelin stars.
Peruvian cuisine being the hottest trend right now, has even managed to get an official week for its beloved Pisco Sours- Peru’s signature drink- in London.
Unsure what a Pisco Sour is? Not convinced Peruvian food is worth seeking out? Follow me then, down into the basement of, funnily enough, Lima’s new younger sister, Lima Floral.
Lima Floral is named after the street it is on, Floral Street in Covent Garden. It is the more casual, more fun sister of Lima over in Fitzrovia. Upstairs there is a casual dinning room, filled with South American plants, tapestries and that white bare brick wall you would expect in somewhere a little warmer than frosty London.
But it is downstairs that the Pisco bar lies. Pisco is a Peruvian brandy and a standard Pisco Sour is a cocktail made with pisco, lemon juice, syrup,egg white, and Angostura bitters. It is scrummy.
There are many variations of the sour, adding different flavours to create unique cocktails.
Me and Nessa decided to start to evening with a round of original Clásico Pisco Sours and a passion fruit twist.
It was like a taste of summer.
Every order comes with bread for the table. Now before you dieters shun the bread, please don't. This is blueberry bread, and chilli bread.
I can't even describe how much I enjoyed it, especially the chilli bread. So much so I asked cheekily for another bowl.
The Pisco bar menu is a mixture of sharing plates, as is custom in Peru, so me and Nessa decided to get two of the small plates and dip into each.
We had Huancaina Beef Tostada, which comes on a Toasted Corn Crisp topped with Sliced Beef. Fresh Cheese. White Quinoa and Pachamanca Sauce.
They had me at beef and cheese to be honest.
The other was the rather beautiful Organic Salmon Tiradito, which was made with Organic Salmon, Yellow Tiger’s Milk and Sweet Potato Crisps.
You can tell that it comes from a restaurant family with a Michelin Star, as everything is beautifully presented, but also full of layered flavour.
I loved how fresh everything tasted. There was no stodge, just light, fresh bites.
Of course as we are currently in Pisco Sour week, I have to show you some more variations.
First I present the El Senor de Sipan sour. Made from prosecco, apple juice, raspberry syrup, luna pisco and campari foam, its rather like a twisted Kir Royal.
It was nice, very crisp, but not quite to my liking, which is lucky as it wasn't mine.
This however, was.
I feel like its a 'me' kind of cocktail. A little bit of a naughty side.
This horny devil is the Cuento del Diablo made with fresh chilli pepper infused luna Pisco, orange liqueur, strawberry and lime juice. It had the most fabulous kick to the fruity base. Oh it was wicked.
The Devil in me coming out...
I realised the other day, doing restaurant blogging means you never get a group photo, but this wasn't a problem today as our waiter was fascinated by my camera and insisted in taking some photos.
Whilst Nessa sipped her drink, and I continued to goof around with my horns, our large dishes arrived- yes just as I'd taken them off the glass and put them on my head... oh Lord.
Again we shared, first with the Sea Bass Hot Ceviche as Nessa had never hear of Ceviche before. I'd had it once, but so long ago at Copa De Cava, so it was nice to refresh. It was made using Grilled Sea Bass. Cuzco Corn Purée. Spring Onion and Yellow Aji Pepper.
I've got a bit of a love affair with chicken on the bone at the moment. I think my attempt at eating healthy (at home) has had a part. I'm a rubbish dieter, and find alot of things bland, but I'm very happy with a plain chicken leg or thigh any day.
Anyway, spying the Chicken Pachamanca which was coated in Yellow Potato Purée, Fava Beans and encrusted in Black Quinoa, I saw it was on the bone. Sold to the redhead in the corner.
Oh its a good choice, let me tell you.
Now this being a Pisco bar, the bartender insisted me and Nessa tried his home made infused Pisco creations. They have every flavour you could think of. Cherry, to Melon, to Vanilla, to mixed berries.
Presented with four shot glasses, there was nothing left to do than shout 'Bottoms Up!'.
Pisco on it's one does have a sharp kick to it, so you might get that typical 'Shot Face'.
Lima Floral is great. The service is so helpful and tentative, and the food is delicious. We went on a Monday at 7pm, and were the only ones in the downstairs until about 8:30pm. However if you like more people present, then Thursday to Saturday is much busier.
Pisco Sour week is on from the 1st-8th February, and I'd really recommend trying out Pisco during this time.
Just try not to get to Piscoed!
14 Garrick Street (Floral Street entrance)
14 Garrick Street (Floral Street entrance)