Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Lunch at Central


Last week, Liz and I had the opportunity to lunch at Central restaurant, here in Lima's Miraflores district.

Central has been one of the up-and-coming star restaurants on the Lima food scene, and we had been curious about it for some time as it kept getting consistently good reviews.   It also happened that at about the time we made our reservation a month ago, Central was ranked in fourth place among the world's 50 best restaurants on the 2015 edition of the prestigious San Pellegrino World's 50 Best list, and No.1 among Latin America's 50 Best Restaurants. 

Liz and I opted for experiencing what Central has become best known for, which is their 17-course Mater Alturas tasting menu.

The ingredients for each course of the Mater Alturas menu (as well as of the smaller Mater Ecosistemas menu) are sourced at specific elevations in Peru, ranging from 70 feet under the sea to almost 14,000 feet up in the Andes. Those ingredients are put together in ways that don't resemble any typical Peruvian foods, but are innovative and, actually, quite tasty ... and beautiful.

Here are some of them, in no particular order:

Seafood crisp with seafood cream and seaweed.

Corn several ways (and in several varieties): paste, crisp, and soup.

Cauliflower with crisps and flowers.

Herb bread served over smoking coca leaves.

Razor clams with pepino melon and citrus.

Ayrampo and pommegranate extract.

Doncella (an Amazonian fish) with nut cream and jungle fruit.

Octopus, sea snail, and octopus ink foam.
An intense octopus broth.

Calf steak covered in quinua colored with herbs and cactus, with an Andean herb-infused cream.

Chocolate ice cream with flakes of lucuma and chaco, an edible clay.

Fruit sorbet, with ayrampo-tinted fruits chunks.

Cacao fruit extract in reverse-osmosis water, with kiwicha jellies.

Chicken with a hollandaise sauce and moraya pearls and cushuro.  Moraya is an Andean tuber and cushuro is a sort of cyanobacterial colony that forms small green balls in the wet ground around high Andean lakes.

From top to bottom: ayrampo crisp, avocado cream, algarrobina cream.

Besides the quality and innovation in the preparations, one detail that was impressive was that in many instances it wasn't just the dishes for one course that hit our table but actually the regular dish and one or more glutten-free or dairy-free dishes for Liz whenever the regular dish contained gluten or dairy.  In effect, we were each served a similar but still different 17-course menu!

Santa Isabel 376
Miraflores, Lima

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