Fashion Food at “Central” – LIMA, PERU

Virgilio Martinez chef at Central LIMA, PERU
Virgilio Martinez chef at Central LIMA, PERU

Chef Virgilio Martinez’s signature restaurant is all about the details. Take Central’s impeccably maintained city-centre garden, home to a vast array of produce and to continual experiments with new fruit, herb and vegetable varieties. Or witness the water that it bottles on-site and which is filtered, ozonated and purified using reverse osmosis so as to trap any naughty microparticles to which it might be providing refuge. Nothing is overlooked; the restaurant even features a specially created wooden case that has been adapted to the temperature and humidity requirements for the optimum preservation of chocolate.

Martinez’s years working in leading kitchens worldwide, including as executive chef at fellow Lima A-lister Astrid y Gastón, have made him the perfectionist he is today. It has also given him a well-travelled palate that he puts to good use. Aspects of international cuisine permeate Central’s diverse menu, and yet the food is also unmistakably Peruvian.

From appetisers such as pisco sour with coca leaves to the local tiraditos – a cross between sashimi and carpaccio, served with a tiger’s milk ceviche – the dishes pay respect to what Martinez calls pacha mama (‘mother nature’ in Quechua). London has already benefited from Martinez’s love of travel with the launch of Lima in the heart of Fitzrovia a couple of years ago. With the chef soon to open yet another Peruvian restaurant in the UK capital this summer, his journey continues.

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