Friday brunch at LIMA Dubai

A laid-back brunch that’s all about the excellent Peruvian dishes

Food picture
Food picture

Peruvian cooking is one culinary trend that appears to be set to stay, and we’re thrilled – especially considering the quality of the cuisine in the city.

LIMA Dubai, from chef Virgilio Martinez, opened in City Walk last year. Its sister restaurant, LIMA Fitzrovia, is the first and only Peruvian restaurant to win and retain a Michelin star, so it landed with high expectations. And it’s so far lived up to them, with the food wowing us every time. With this in mind we’re excited to try the brunch.

LIMA sits at next to Toro + Ko and opposite Galvin Dubai in The Square, the fully-licensed area of City Walk. Despite City Walk being a bustling area, The Square has always been somewhat empty on all our visits. When we arrive this time, it’s no different. There are a few tables already seated for brunch in the outside terrace area, however, and due to it being a small space it doesn’t feel uncomfortably quiet.

We take our seats and the friendly wait staff explain the process. Service throughout the afternoon is spot on, as everyone is quick to explain the interesting-looking and -sounding dishes (which unless you’re fluent in your anticuchos and tequeños, is very welcome).

As it’s à la carte, all the hard work is done for us, with dishes on the brunch menu carefully selected to best showcase the flavours of the restaurant. It comes in four sections – hot starters, cold starters, a choice of main and a dessert platter.

The drinks package is decent, too, including sparkling in the house beverages option.

We kick off with some duck bao buns, which are rich, meaty and perfectly flavoured. There are also two bowls of ceviche, a sea bass version and a salmon one. Both are light, fresh and tangy, but our top choice is the salmon, with slivers of asparagus tempura sitting atop the tender cubes of fish.

All dishes are plated beautifully, with swirls of brightly coloured sauces and edible flowers (admittedly a divisive culinary decoration) making them almost a shame to spoil by digging in with gusto.

A traditional chicken causa is really tasty, and the delicate flavours are expertly balanced. We also love the tequeños (a kind of Peruvian pasty), and we can’t resist a second serving of the richly spiced parcels.

The prawns anticucho are also a delight, with a tangy sauce and tender shrimp.

Mains are excellent – a tender, rich lamb seco and a delicate flaky red snapper fillet. By the time it comes to dessert we’re pleasantly full, and nibble at the petite selection of treats that arrive.

We really can’t fault the food, which is superb.

However, with a half-empty restaurant the vibe never really picks up. It’s a shame, but with a few more tables filled this could be a top-class afternoon.
Dhs325 (soft drinks), Dhs450 (house beverages), Dhs550 (bubbly). Fri noon-4pm. The Square, City Walk, Al Safa Street (056 500 4571).

The bottom line
A foodie brunch with top-notch dishes.

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