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Peruvian chic

Lima Dubai is a casual restaurant that offers modern Peruvian cuisine from award-winning chef Virgilio Martinez; his Central restaurant in Lima, Peru is rated as the No.1 restaurant in Latin America, and No.5 on the ’World’s 50 Best Restaurants’ global list; and Lima London has already garnered a Michelin Star.

The menu is global Peruvian cuisine, served in a casual way. According to Martinez “Lima is designed to be Peruvian food with tradition, with some innovation to become part of the city it is in, but it can be anywhere in the world. – I think it’s because when you go to a Peruvian restaurant, it’s a whole experience – you find a whole new world of seeing ingredients, serving food, and sharing ideas.”

The Martinez ethos is reflected in the warm welcome and friendly service; and the restaurant is an interior designer’s dream. The vibrant contemporary space enjoys an abundance of natural light during the day that sets off the eclectic décor; an ideal venue for a family brunch, dinner or just after-work drinks.

The ‘Peruvian Expedition Brunch’ is a set 5-course sharing menu; setting it aside from the usual melee of Friday buffet brunches.

The menu could be more balanced; an ample selection of starters, but you can only select one dish between two from the mains. There is a great emphasis on the starters and a limited selection for desserts, which is a great shame if you’ve got a sweet tooth, but a chocolate box is available if you ask. If you aren’t a fan of fish then you could be in trouble, as it features strongly on the menu.

I probably should mention the service at this point; as highlighted earlier, the service is friendly enough but when the server ran through the menu descriptions, they were rattled off with the speed of a Gatling gun; the words blurred into one-another. Information overload that left us as un-informed at the end as when we started.

The food soon started to arrive (which, at the beginning was fine, as we’d had a light breakfast). Although too many dishes were served far too quickly, not only overwhelming the table and but our appetites too, giving us a feeling that we were being hurried out the door. Another problem of the rushed service is that many of the dishes have gone cold before you can get around to tasting them; and then, without warning, and not necessarily before we had finished, the plates were cleared and more food arrived. Too much, too quick.

Having mentioned some misgivings on the service, for the most part the food was delightful and the dishes on the brunch menu (save for the eagerness of delivery) were well presented and full of flavour.

Starters
DUCK BAO BUNS Pulled Duck, pickles and spice rocoto sauce.  The presentation reminded me of having fish and chips in newspaper at Côte Brasserie; beautifully presented in wooden bowl, and tasted amazing. There were different textures. The spicy sauce was smooth and rich, with a great balance of sweet and sour, that was certainly not short on flavour and is definitely a dish that will tantalise your taste-buds. The duck was moist and tender and worked well with the salad leaves, and well complemented by the light and fluffy buns.
CATCH OF THE DAY The fresh meaty morsels of salty seabass were flavoursome, and perfectly balanced by the red onions and Cancha corn, which added a welcome crunch to the dish and gave it a nice earthy finish. If you are looking for something a bit different do try this!
CEVICHE SALMON Fresh Salmon, Yellow tiger milk, Beetroot and Asparagus Tempura. Not the best of dishes, the flesh was opaque, firm and slightly chewy and overpowered by the tangy, citrusy, yellow tiger milk sauce – which was extremely hot; having lost its battle with the fryer- the over-battered asparagus showed scant resemblance to this most noble of vegetables.
TRADITIONAL CHICKEN CAUSA Yellow Potato, Chicken Breast, Peruvian olives. Again the presentation of this dish was exquisitely executed; the attention to detail evident. The first thing to hit your taste-buds is a citrusy kick from the sauce. The textures are soft and creamy and the aftertaste quite sharp – which seemed to overpower the chicken.
PRAWNS ANTICUCHO Marinated with the traditional Inka Panka Chilli, corn cake. The mouth-watering aromas were reflected beautifully in the marinated sauce. You could taste the freshness of the prawns followed by a delightful smoky barbecue aftertaste.
VEGETARIAN CHIFA RICE Chinese style rice, Mushrooms, Spring Onion, Asparagus and Broccoli. The rice was fluffy light and sticky, and the oriental flavours took us on a culinary a trip around Asia. Simple but delicious!

Mains
LAMB SECO Slow-cooked lamb, Pumpkin two ways, Kiwicha, Coriander marinade. The lamb was unctuous and tender; and the pumpkin cream made the dish, with its layers of rich and sumptuous flavours. Hats off to the chef!
CHICKEN BREAST PACHAMANCA Sautéed potatoes, Corn brûlée, Pachamanca sauce. The chicken had a hint of mint which was unusual yet inviting at the same time, and the sautéed potatoes were buttery and melted on your tongue. Possibly not to everyone’s palette but definitely a dish to try, if just to experience the unique blend of textures and flavours that will leave you thinking.

Desserts
CREME BRÛLÉE The indulgent delicate creamy overtones of the brûlée was simply delicious!
CHOCOLATE BOX Aesthetically pleasing strawberry lollies dipped in dark chocolate – They were sensational – the flavours were in harmony and resurrected many happy childhood memories! Thank-you!
CHOCOLATE MOUSSE An absolutely perfect dark chocolate fondant heaven! Definitely one for all the chocoholics out there!

Although there were a few issues, and a couple of the dishes were perhaps wanting, it was an overall enjoyable experience and I look forward to my next a visit to experience the main menu – and If you are looking for a chic destination with a memorable atmosphere, then you should certainly pay a visit to Lima Dubai.

Lima Dubai is located in The Square, City Walk; The Peruvian Expedition Brunch set 5-course sharing menu is served every Friday from 12 noon till 4pm, with prices starting at $90pp for the non-alcoholic brunch and $125pp for the alcoholic option. For more information contact: reservations@limadubai.com, +971 56 500 4571 or visit www.limadubai.com

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