WHAT DOES ONE EAT AT CENTRAL? WE GIVE YOU A PRECISE REVIEW

Recently awarded on the first position on the recent list of #Worlds50Best Restaurants. The best Latinamerican restaurant in that position.

Words by Maria Elena Cornejo (IG @melenacornejo)

Central’s food connects with the sensorial and the emotional. There are dishes that take us back to our childhood, and others that project us into the future. There are those that perturb us, that surprise us, that intrigue us, that amuse us, that generate expectations, and those that we thoroughly enjoy. What does one eat at Central these days? We share a precise review of the world of Central as created by Virgilio Marínez and Pía León, which has been awarded first place on the list of the World’s 50 Best Restaurants. Tremendous.

It is nearly impossible for a diner to feel indifferent upon finishing a meal out, especially when in a refined restaurant with a significant price-point, that proudly works in concepts like sustainability, climate crisis, minimum waste, revaluing native products, establishing respectful relationships with producers, and employs endless research.

Central. The team at Casa Túpac, which includes that of Mater and Pía León’s Kjolle. Photos Daniel Silva.
Central. The team at Casa Túpac, which includes that of Mater and Pía León’s Kjolle. Photos Daniel Silva.

As is the case for Central, with Virgilio Martínez and Pía León as the standard-setters, and Malena Martínez at Mater as the investigative support and the guardian of products, techniques, and uses that the team discovers and collects during their pilgrimages across Peru´s many ecosystems.

It is not an easy cuisine. Japanese visitors think it’s “unusual,” but a kind of unusual that attracts curious and experienced palates. Europeans consider it avant-garde and original. Central summons its audience precisely because it is different, unique in the world. The restaurant’s quality doesn’t diminish despite the focus on learning and evolving, rather, Central continues to accumulate fresh ideas that bring together concepts across disciplines – from the social science field to fine arts, and all that lies in between.

Central. Maíces de Urubamba
Central. Maíces de Urubamba Photo by Gustavo Vivanco
Black Rocks | Foto de Ken Motohasi
Central. Black rocks. Photo by Ken Motohasi.

As of three months ago, Central has a new Head of Kitchen. Her name is Marvic Medina, a graduate from Lima’s Le Cordon Bleu, who worked as Head of Kitchen at Alain Ducasse’s Naturaliste in Paris before making her way to the Casa Tupac in Barranco. For her, it is equally challenging and satisfying to manage a hundred plus chefs of varying nationalities who work with defined objectives and creative concepts, yet who are provided with multiple spaces in which to propose, recreate, and discover.

For diners, the discovery of new flavors and unknown products is an adventure in and of itself. There is chinchamale, nettles, sargassum algae, sangre de grado, qolle, cushuro, Andean mint, and mucilage, among many other products that come from Peru’s varying altitudes. This willingness to experiment allows for diverse ecosystems to be expressed and honored through the food, a stronghold of Central’s cuisine.

Central. Mucilage and honey. Photo by Ken Motohasi.
Central. Mucilage and honey. Photo by Ken Motohasi.

They use latana flowers to make a foam; spirulina to dye shellfish blue and green; an infusion of quince and matico leaves to accompany a marvelous mouthful of raw crawfish, loche squash, and avocado. Sofia, a Russian staff member interested in natural concoctions offered me a delicious kombucha made with molle, boldo, hibiscus flowers, and lemon rind.

Central. As assortment of possibilities using the Chuncho cacao from Cusco. Photo by Gustavo Vivanco.
Central. As assortment of possibilities using the Chuncho cacao from Cusco. Photo by Gustavo Vivanco.

The menu Mater World Experience is a journey through 14 ecosystems, with flavors impossible to define that leave irresistible sensations charged with surprises in their wake. Perhaps the most unexpected thing on the menu is the dessert called Sacred Valley 2800 MASL, which is made with a cauliflower merengue, slices of custard apple, and lemon verbena honey. At Central, the chefs use practically all of each product, from the root to the flowers, from the bones to the skin; they employ a myriad of techniques that range from raw to cooked, passing through maceration, concentration, smoking, and brining. The dishware, the furniture, the silverware, the menu printed on recycled cardboard, and all accessories used, all communicate the restaurant’s austere, minimalist, and earthy language; discrete, harmonious, free, and wild, like nature itself.

FOTO BARRA MAYO

Central. The dining rooms during the day and during the night. Photos by Gustavo Vivanco.
Central. The dining rooms during the day and during the night. Photos by Gustavo Vivanco.

THE INFO

Located at Av. Pedro de Osma 301, Barranco. The restaurant is open from Monday to Saturday between 12:45 to 13:45 and 19:00 to 20:30. It offers three types of tasting menus with beverage pairing (with or without alcohol). Reservations are available

Etiquetas: 50 best, 50 best restaurants, central, virgilio martínez, valencia, pía león, casa túpac

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