Central To Culinary Excellence…

Foie Gras
Foie Gras

Culinary orgasm…I am not kidding.

Interior, Central Restaurante
INterior, Central Restaurante

For David’s birthday dinner I was able to obtain a nearly impossible reservation at Central Restaurant, one of the premiere dining establishments in Lima and a top 100 restaurant in the world. It actually hits the foodie charts at #15.

The restaurant is Virgilio Martinez Velez’ original homestead. He has transformed the small house on a tree lined residential side street in Miraflores into a sleek, modern abode. He has selected raw materials of metal, wood and stone to create a modern yet warm environment.

There is an upstairs seating area and a rooftop garden. The kitchen is enclosed in glass so diners are afforded the opportunity to observe the culinary creations in action.

Central Restaurante serves as his workshop in the investigation and integration of indigenous Peruvian ingredients into the restaurant’s menu. The restaurant is known for its contemporary interpretation and presentation of Peruvian cuisine. They even bottle their own water.

Pia Leon, Virgilio Martinez Velez
Pia Leon, Virgilio Martinez Velez

Owner and founder, Virgilio Martínez Véliz, formerly worked at restaurants such as Lutece in New York and served as executive chef at Astrid & Gaston in both Bogota and Madrid. The chef de cuisine, Pía León, is the wife of Martínez Véliz. The two worked together for two years before marrying in Lima in 2013.

The hostesses, dressed elegantly in black dresses, offer a warm welcome. Service is impeccable, unobtrusive and perfecto. I admire a restaurant that does not clear plates until everyone has finished the course. Central adheres to that important dictum.

Dips
Dips

We were immediately offered a rich, smooth avocado dip with crispy plantains along with a potato dip with plantain that had the look of bacon.

Brioche and Homemade Toasted Butter
Brioche and Homemade Toasted Butter

The bread course was to die for. We were served 3 different breads in brioche style…one cocoa bread served on a bed of ornamental leaves. The other was a tuber brioche style bread and the third, cactus.

The toasted butter was insane…the caviar of butter, along with a homemade yellow butter and a goat cheese and olive oil butter. I had to restrain myself from eating the toasted butter on its’ own.

I ordered a smooth, velvety, full bodied Malbec from Argentina that was amazing…what a finish. David selected a pale red wine fermented from Pisco grape,  a new concept in Peru. It was aromatic reminiscent of a rose.

The first course blew my mind. I order a foie gras tart that was the best foie gras and probably the best dish I have ever consumed. It was prepared as a tart with a layer of Peruvian creamy cheese, a layer of pear apple, a jammy fig and  local foie gras. It was crispy, immensely flavorful. The dish was decorated with edible flowers strewn in a narrow bed of honey.

Grouper Crudo
Grouper Crudo

David ordered the grouper crudo, artfully presented with the creamiest avocado textured wrapping.  Small squares of potato and avocado accompanied the dish.

Grouper
Grouper
Mashed Potatoes With Fresh Peas, Calamari
Mashed Potatoes With Fresh Peas, Calamari

Suckling pig, goat, steak, and short ribs highlighted the menu, but I was already full. I felt compelled to order a main course of grouper. It was a thick cut, seared perfectly and scrumptious.

The side dish was beyond amazing. A copper pot was filled with perfect whipped potatoes with fresh firm peas and sautéed calamari generously sprinkled on top. The fish rested on a bed of delectable black quinoa.

Paiche
Paiche

David’s main was the famous Amazonian fish, paiche, which was prepared similarly accompanied by whipped potatoes in olive oil. An edible fungus from the Amazon that looked like capers were sprinkled about.

Chocolate Cake, Chirimoya Ice Cream
Chocolate Cake, Chirimoya Ice Cream

Dessert was an impossibility, but birthday treat #7 was delivered consisting of a rich warm chocolate cake with chirimoya ice cream…chirimoya is a dense, rich and delicious fruit.

candy central

If that was not enough, the meal concluded with colorful squares of marshmallows, Peruvian chocolate, a plate of artisanal chocolates and  petit fours.

The sommelier was a charming man named Joseph who treated us to a sampling of delicious Argentinian wines and added color and knowledge to the meal.

I truly hope that at some point, you all are able to dine at this extraordinary restaurant.

Central Restaurante Santa Isabel 376 Miraflores Lima, Peru. Phone:+51 1 2428515

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