An undiscovered gem at Barra Lima
Usually when I visit a “highend restaurant” in another country it is usually because I got it recommended from a friend or it has a good spot on a prominent list like Worlds 50 Best. This is not the case for Barra Lima which I actually first noticed on Instagram.
The restaurant is quite small with jus a couple of tables inside besides the long bar by the kitchen where we were seated tonight which off course gives a good insight in the workings of the kitchen.
True to the tasting menu we were bombarded with a series of small snacks. As we were in Lima shellfish was at the heart of these. Mussels and lime to start with. This was decorate with a series of small beautifull flowers. An item that was to be a recurring theme. A refreshing and delicious way to start the meal.
Great acidity to the nice and salty razorclams with juicy and refreshing elderflower. Elderflower and seafood is almost always a good combination and it was in this case as well.
Usually chili is part of most dishes in Peru and it was in this third dish that we had it for the first time. They warmths from the chili was a great match to the salty mussel. A bit of crunch and “peruvian caviar” in the form of high altitude bacterria provided a nice bit of contrast in the textures.
A smokey yellow potato with a yellow chili was an amazing next dish. So beautifull and just so delicious. The combination of the smokeyness and the hot chili was just amazing.
Simple and delicious is also a good description of the next dish in the form of an uni ceviche with a uni leche de tigre which just increased the irony uni flavour.
Up untill this point all dishes had been small delicate dishes with lots of decorations. The next dish was much bigger and less feminine. A warm ceviche served in burning. The flavours were nice where especially the smoke was a crucial element.
We did return the the small and more delicate dishes in the form of trout and a variation of tubers (a kind of peruvian potatoes). A nice dish but at this point the expectations were quite high and this dish could not live up to the previous.
The next one could however. Octopus with a peruvian mole madre, puffed rice and woodsorrel. Octopus is amazing and I just love mole especially when they are served with tortillas of good quality corn which was the case today.
At this point I can`t really say that I was hungry but we had one last savery dish to go. A fish with a creol sauce, pickled cauliflowers and a cream which I unfortunately cannot remember. Delicious but not amazing.
A dessert with 11 types of peruvian corn and off course in different textures was a great dessert where the variations of the corn was displayed.
As one of the few restaurants in Lima they serve food with quite delicate flavours where chili and heavy sauces were not used on every dish. Similar I think that except Central I have not seen tweezers and decorations used that much in Lima proving a great attention to detail.
Every once in a while people write to me for recommendations and one of the things they often ask about are restaurants not from any lists or guidebooks. Since people travel more and more even more guidebooks and lists are created the good unknown restaurants are few, but with Barra Lima I have a recommendation for a great restaurant that is not to my knowledge not covered in any guides.
If you want the full experience make an reservation and ask for a tasting menu. In this menu they they serve more elaborated dishes and you will see the full potential of the restaurant.