He spoke to BigHospitality about opening the first Lima deli at Harrods and the future of Peruvian food in the UK.
Tell us about your new opening in Harrods
It’s in the food hall so it’s a retail offering. We thought it could be very interesting as it’s taking the food we do at both of our Lima restaurants in to a takeaway version. We’re simplifying it to adapt it to the format. It’s a new route that we’re taking and we’re very excited to have it happen in such an iconic place as Harrods.
Is it permanent or a pop-up?
It's opening with a long-term view from both sides. What usually happens is there is a four month contract to start with to see if everything works but with a view to staying permanently.
Lima has a Michelin-starred menu, was it difficult to adapt to a takeaway format?
I think the challenge here and for Peruvian food in general – which uses lots of very fresh produce – is how to translate the offering we have in restaurants in to a mass market format.
It’s key to keep the Peruvian flavours and everything that entails, the acidity and the chilies, but in a more simplified dish.
The offering we have at the restaurant is of a certain level, the staff can explain where the ingredients come from and the inspiration behind the dishes. One of the challenges is that while in the restaurant the customer can spend two hours having their dinner, [at Harrods] there will be a much shorter contact with our team.
You opened Lima in 2012 and Lima Floral in 2014, are there any plans for a third London restaurant?
That is a work in progress, there’s nothing formal to say right now but we’re opening Lima Dubai in June this year. Dubai is becoming a very exciting market for restaurants. They want to position it as one of the top cities for dining and are investing a lot of money in that. It’s a completely different market to London of course, but it’s a growing dining scene and we thought it would be an interesting opportunity to take.
What do you think is the future of Peruvian food in the UK?
Food trends are going towards healthier options and Peruvian food has a lot of healthy aspects to it, such as superfoods from the Andes. Ceviche is one of the flagship dishes and it has pretty much no fat, it comes with a marinade of lime juice and vegetables and the fish is pretty much raw.
When you go to Peru you can see that there’s really something going on with gastronomy in general. There are a lot of chefs and concepts coming out of Lima [the capital], both street food and fine dining. It’s caught the attention of chefs and restaurateurs around the world. I’ve seen a lot of ceviche on menus in London and I think we will continue to see more Peruvian concepts popping up.
A number of Michelin restaurants have reduced their opening hours recently to ease the pressure on staff – is this something you would consider at Lima?
I have heard that is happening in the market and it’s true that it’s very difficult to find skilled chefs. I guess it’s because of the level of commitment and sacrifice they have to put in to that career. It’s not something that we’re considering doing right now but I found it really interesting to see how top chefs in London are approaching it. It absolutely is an issue and I completely identify with it, but for time being at Lima it’s not something we’re considering.
Lima deli opens at Harrods food hall on 1 March.