Lima is chef Atul Kochhar’s latest experiment, the previous one was his restaurant NRI (Not Really Indian), also at BKC. Going to Lima is a unique experience as it is one of – if not the only – restaurant in Mumbai that specializes in South American cuisine. While we thought some of the dishes tasted strange, we admire the novelty, creativity and thought that went into each of them.
But perhaps a lounge bar, rather than a restaurant, would be a better description of Lima. It only has 17 items on the food menu, but offers many more signature drinks, while the music is a mishmash of samba, tango and salsa. A green ceiling and a bright blue bar glisten with natural light.
The best thing about the food is that it is a cultural experience. You may be surprised to find a dish called the Gochujang Honey Chicken under the Churrasco Grill section, but Chef Atul explains that Korean migration to Latin America after World War II influenced regional cuisines. The chicken, marinated with ají mirasol chili pepper and then grilled, was juicy, and the gochujang, a spicy and pungent paste formed from chili and soybeans, added an unexpected kick.
Also on the Churrasco Grill is the slightly odd tasting Milk Infused Corn on the Cob. The cilantro sour cream didn’t go well with the sweetness of the corn. The Chimichuri chicken liver also fell flat, but maybe that’s because we don’t like liver. However, we appreciated the taste of the chimichuri, a sauce from Argentina made with parsley and garlic and used for grilling.
Our next stop was the quesadilla, a dish that is on the menu of every self-respecting restaurant serving Latin food. In Lima, it came with black beans, corn, peppers, and manchego cheese. We were a little disappointed with how ordinary it was, but most of the other dishes were revelations.
Take, for example, the Indian Sea Bass ceviche. A ceviche, a seafood dish from the coastal regions of Latin America, is usually made from fresh raw fish, salted in citrus juice and seasoned with ají or chili peppers. The dish we got was exquisite – balanced, fresh and flavorful.
The other ceviche was redesigned for the vegetarian customer and made from five types of mushrooms, most of which are found in Asia and not in South America. Interestingly, instead of replacing the sauce in typical ceviche, the chef decided to use Japanese ponzu sauce. Also citrus-based, it’s similar enough to the dressing in ceviche, but was more suited to the flavor of these mushrooms.
Another fun dish was the multicolored quinoa and mint, drizzled with a deliciously sour-sweet passion fruit dressing. Quinoa, which is native to the Andes, is usually whitish in color. The black and red quinoa adds little to the flavor, but makes the dish a work of art – a great example of the thought that went into the presentation of each item.
Lima is a risk; the food would be out of most people’s comfort zones. But maybe the delicious drinks will reassure the customers. Our favorite was the Kumquat and Basil Caipirinha, although the Watermelon Mojito, which is self-explanatory, and the Volcano, made with rum, pineapple juice, and a burnt orange peel, were also good.
The steep prices, relatively small portions and unfamiliar food may put some people off. Vegetarians should also be wary. But go if you like a warm atmosphere, refreshing drinks and want to try something new.
Price for two (including drinks): Rs 4,200.
Address: 2, North Avenue, Maker Maxity, BKC; Phone: 30005040