I arrived in Lima feeling a bit under the weather but was determined to get out for at least one decent feed each day. While I’d been on the waiting list for lunch at much-celebrated Central I correctly suspected that that wouldn’t come to fruition so booked a table at a restaurant very near to where I was staying called IK.
IK stands for Ivan Kisic who had the idea for the restaurant but was killed in an auto accident – along with three other young chefs – just before it opened. His brother Franco left Albert Adria’s restaurants in Barcelona to come and run front of house with cousin Monica Kisic taking up the kitchen reins.
Thursday lunchtime service was quiet as I entered the premises which are configured as a sort of stylised orange crate with much foliage to the fore and a general ambience of fresh tropical green.
I was given the option of a la carte or a couple of different tasting menus from which I chose the full experience ten courses with wine pairings.
Things opened with some highly creative snacks. First we had a fake strawberry which featured a red shell with sesame seeds containing strawberry juice and wasabi. There was a cracker in the style of the Cuzco flag. And finally, we had a pacay fruit with avocado. These were all highly accomplished and original presentations.
The first course proper was ceviche of clam served in the shell topped with seaweed pearls. This was splendidly fresh and zingy.
We then had a stuffed bread that looked like a black rock. The coca bread shell was wonderfully crisp and contained layers of greenery and a delicious pork stew. It was just fantastic.
We then returned to the sea with a scallop tartare served on a dehydrated watercress leaf. This was more high quality stuff.
We then went slightly off piste with alpaca tikka masala, served with spiced avocado on a chickpea cracker. It was curiously fantastic.
We continued on this journey of Asian influences with a very good dish of noodles made from a local grain served with a mushroom and soy broth, with slices of smoked duck on the side.
And we concluded this fusion spin with local crawfish served in a wonderfully aromatic tom yum broth.
We then moved back closer to home with a fillet of river pike topped with chestnut shavings in lieu of scales. This was simple and delicious.
The main course was a self-assembly arrangement of beef cheek taco. I filled a purple corn tortilla with tender beef and yuca chips atop some herb oiled yoghurt. My ambivalence to tacos is well documented but this I enjoyed a lot.
The dessert maintained the excellent standard with a multi-faceted textures of corn dish – ice cream, mousse, brittle – followed by a final flourish of mango, cardamom and coconut. They closed out an excellent lunch in fine style.
Overall, it’s a bit of head-scratcher as to why IK wasn’t busier and why it doesn’t figure in more guides to the city’s dining spots. Perhaps their interior design is viewed as derivative of part of Astrid y Gaston’s dining space and perhaps the menu is a fusion too far for some people, but I thought it was really excellent and far better than similar restaurants with much taller reputations in Buenos Aires. It’s definitely worth a look next time you’re staying in Lima.
Blythe scores IK
4.5/5 for food
4.5/5 for presentation
4.5/5 for setting
4.5/5 for service
giving an overall 18/20
I ate: tasting menu
I drank: paired wines, pisco sour, sparkly water
I wore: crushed shirt, crushed trousers, crushed jacket
Total bill: 503 sol
Address: Calle Elias Aguirre 179, Miraflores, Lima Peru