Gabriel Gonzalez, co-founder of the Michelin-starred Lima London in Fitzrovia, has spoken about the bold decision to scrap its à la carte menu to offer a sharing plates concept.
Since changing the menu on 16 April, Lima London has had a positive reception from guests who are "happy that it's changed its format" especially large groups of people who are able to dip in and out of dishes and try more of what Peruvian cuisine has to offer.
"I think fine dining is slowing down. Although there are great outlets offering tasting menus, generally people are looking for food in a casual atmosphere," Gonzalez said.
"People are beginning to eat slightly differently, they want more options which allows them to either pop in for a quick meal or stay for longer dwell time. It's important to offer that kind of flexibility. They also like to have the option to share, especially with Peruvian food which is slightly off mainstream, because it's something new. It opens the spectrum that people can eat and can do so in their own time. It seems everything is moving towards a more casual format and we wanted to be part of that."
Lima has added a variety of new dishes to the menu, with the most popular dishes emerging ceviches such as the new vegetarian corn ceviche with different textures of corn, and the avocado ceviche. The Causa, a traditional potato-based Peruvian dish, served with a beef tartare alongside the suckling pig which has been on the since Lima opened are popular meat options.
A new snack section gives diners the option to order a variety of canape-sized mouthfuls before their meals - the sweetcorn with burrata is the favourite.
Gonzalez explained the changes have presented some challenges to the team. He said: "The biggest challenge is the pace of service as it's a different structure than before. When we had a tasting menu the service was more automated, now people can order whatever they want and however much they want and we have to be flexible with that."
"We should be fine because the quality of food and level of cooking remains at the same level. I think that the Michelin guide is warming up to more casual concepts like ours."
Following the success of the menu launch, Lima is to change up the menu at its sister site Lima Floral in Covent Garden, too. It will have similarities such as sharing sections but the price point will be slightly lower to adapt to the market in Covent Garden.
The bar will also be relaunched to showcase the spirits of South America and offer traditional cocktails with a twist. It will also have a small menu of Latin American snacks.
Lima London opened in 2012. In 2014 it was awarded a Michelin star under chef patron Virgilio MartÁnez Véliz. In the same year the Lima Floral outpost was founded. Lima Dubai followed in March 2017.
Lima London hopes to expand into other UK capitals in the future, however nothing has been confirmed yet.