If Lebanon is the pearl of the Middle East and France is the gastronomic heartland of Europe, then Peru is the culinary jewel of the Americas. Evolved and distinct, homey and evocative, the cuisine spans far beyond the tantalisingly tangy plates of fresh ceviche and pisco sours.
Formed from successive waves of immigration and cross-cultural influence, Peruvian is the ultimate fusion cuisine. It falls under four distinct regions: Andean, Amazonian, Coastal and Nikkei - a sensational fusion of Peruvian and Japanese cooking that was born when the Japanese began settling in Lima a century ago. Gaining prominence in North America early this decade, it was only a matter of time before it took over the European dining scene, and now its distinct flavours, cooking and approach are successfully showcased in the UK's capital. Here are our favourites...
This recently opened restaurant takes an interesting approach to Peruvian cuisine by using very British ingredients in its dishes. Think Cornish sea bass, samphire, radish, tiger’s milk, tequeños with smoked cheddar and feta and rice pudding with cinammon ice cream. All dishes are beautifully prepared and served in elegant skandi-style surroundings. pachamamalondon.com
Beloved by everyone from celebrities to jetsetters and power-brokers, the peerless atmosphere at Coya perfectly evokes the South American spirit, with an exclusive edge. Save the sophisticated members' club on ground level for that digestif and head down for a homegrown cocktail at the riotous Pisco Bar, before joining the gorgeous and glamorous in the fine dining room dressed in Incan palettes. Expect sensational ceviches, awesome antichuchos and melt-in-your-mouth cazuelas in a menu exploring the four corners of Peru. LUXOS recommends the Chilean sea bass cazuela with rice, lime and chilli. www.coyarestaurant.com
Ceviche at Chotto-Matte
Its signature is the anime mural overlooking the sleek, black-lacquered dining room. Chotto-Matte is a pulsing, tri-levelled powerhouse combining the sweet and lively atmosphere and flavours of Lima with the buzz and sophistication of Tokyo in the Nikkei style. Enjoy nigiri seared at your table, sustainably-sourced sushi, sticky skins and succulent meats from the open Robato grill and to have your mind blown by the heady cocktail menu. Live deejays and a glamorous clientele ensure the Latin fever continues late into the night. LUXOS recommends the Avocado Tempura with smokey purple potato and the Quatro Uvos Pisco sour. www.chotto-matte.com
Beef Sudado at Lima
The restaurant that truly put Peruvian cuisine on the London culinary map, the styling of Lima's smart, sleek dining room gives a nod to its cooking: both classic and contemporary, always faithfully Peruvian. The menu is split into crudo (raw) dishes and a tasting odyssey; ingredients are largely locally sourced, but with some hitherto unheard-of additions only available in Peru. "Peruvian cuisine is nothing if it doesn't show its native produce," Michelin-starred owner, Virgilio Martinez, states. LUXOS recommends the Suckling pig with potatoes cultivated at 4,000 metres above sea level. www.limalondon.com
Seviche at Sushisamba, source: https://www.facebook.com/SUSHISAMBA
Part of a high end international chain this Peruvian-Japanese-Brazilan restaurant take fusion cooking to the next level. Dishes include foie gras and salmon seviche, crispy taquitos and more. Located on the 38th floor of the Heron Tower and guests can sip on excellent cocktails whilst enjoying stunning views of the city from the 270-degree glass windows. sushisamba.com
Ceviche Old Street, source: www.facebook.com/CevicheOldSt
Now in two locations (Soho and Old Street) this Peruvian restaurant chain is know for serving up great ceviche, grilled meat skewers and fish dishes. Don't miss the a pre dinner drink at the Pisco Bar. LUXOS recommends the Don Ceviche (fresh seabass ceviche in amarillo chilli tiger’s milk, limo chilli, sweet potato and red onions). www.cevicheuk.com