To try real authentic Nikkei cuisine was a dream I’ve had for a long time. I only discovered Nikkei flavours a few years ago and have been hooked since. It’s a gastronomical fusion that has swept through London fast and, well, I can’t get enough of it! Peru has a large Japanese population who have provided many cultural influences in Lima. Nikkei food, which combines Japanese and Peruvian flavours and cooking techniques, is one of the biggest influences, and it has recently taken the world by storm.
London’s attempts at Nikkei cuisine are evident in restaurants, such as Chotto Matte and Kurobuta and truly, they are pretty good. However, nothing could top the exceptional Nikkei meal I had at Osaka in Lima, Peru. It was truly the perfect combination of incredible food, faultless service and chic surroundings.
As one of the hottest places in town, Osaka Lima exudes style. It’s the kind of place worth dolling up for and both in terms of style and flavour, it’s seriously good. With Peruvian, Japanese and some Chinese dishes, it could be deemed muddled, but after a bite of the food, you’ll be a convert!
After a warm welcome by the hostess at the reception and a short walk down a spiral staircase, we took seats at the sleek marble bar, in the middle of the action, facing the chefs.
With our drinks came out an amuse bouche of beef in a thin crispy pastry with oyster sauce. It had a delicious flavour and some bite with hints of soy sauce. This was served alongside fresh cucumber which had been pickled and served with black and white sesame seeds.
We ordered a half portion of salmon tiradito, flavoured with white truffle, sake and lime zest. It was unbelievably soft, perfectly fatty and just melted in the mouth, touches of spring onion brought it to life and the lime kept it fresh and cut through the heady white truffle. It was sensational and even those who may shy away from sashimi’s would love this.
The Tako al olivo was a wonderful surprise bringing together warm octopus, a black olive tartare, soft avocado and furikake seasoning. I loved that Osaka weren’t afraid to put a bold menu like this on the dish and whilst it used very classic Japanese techniques, the flavours reminded us of the Mediterranean
We had to try the Nigiri. The Buta was a portion of two pieces of reflectively glossy glazed pork cheek on sushi rice with pisco and shoyu. If you aren’t familiar with it, pisco is an incredible Peruvian liquor, made from grapes, and served regularly across Lima and wider Peru. The pisco was subtle here and it was seriously heavenly. Rich, sweet, earthy all in one delicious bite!
Maki is always some of my favourite – I don’t know if it’s because I love the mixture of textures or that I find it a tidier eat but I love it! Due to the Doc’s shellfish allergy, the chefs at Osaka Lima kindly adapted the Tigger maki, using local fish instead of shrimp.
This incredible sushi had fried crisp fish and soft, ripe avocado, topped with spring onions. It was unbelievably delicious maki and truly some of the best I’ve ever had. My favourite part was the crisp topping which consisted of a mixture of crispy corn and fried dried fruit. This dish is exceptional and an absolute highlight!
Our final savoury dish was a plate of the spicy tuna tartare maki. I really loved this with it’s incredibly fresh tuna flavour and almost peppery aftertaste.
The deliciously fatty tuna marbled well with creamy, ripe avocado and a delicious tobiko topping which added crunch and some chilli heat.
I loved all of these dishes so much and I’m yet to find a better spot for sushi for me! Given that Osaka gives you the option to have all maki available as an order of 6 pieces rather than 10, and that you can opt for half portions of the tiradito, you truly can try lots of dishes, making it the perfect spot to go in a group or on a date.
We were giddy with happiness after the mains and went all out with the Osaka Lima dessert platter, the chefs selection of the highlights of the Osaka dessert menu.
Osaka didn’t disappoint us with the Suspiro Nikkei, a pudding of Amazonean chocolate, sweet dulche de leche caramel sauce, lemongrass ice cream and textures of meringue. It was heavenly, and I definitely stole more than my fair share of this off the Doc!
The Yuzu Cheesecake married together citrus ice cream, granite of local Amazonian fruit camu-camu, and crispy Andean cereals. It was so refreshing and a perfect pudding!
The Chocolate Crocante was in fact an incredible, warm chocolate souffle, wonderfully gooey and served with a crisp canihua cookie, and creamy green tea ice cream.
I was delighted to see that Osaka Lima’s Miso Toffee Crumble had been included on the dessert platter, as it’s one of the dishes I’d have been sad to leave without. A unique combination of caramelised quince, crisp sesame seeds, miso butterscotch and vanilla ice cream – this was captivating and unusual and the butterscotch was out of this world.
Kari Kari Sour – Aguaymanto and pineapple spring rolls with yoghurt ice cream was the perfect balance of sweet and tangy flavours and crisp and soft textures.
Osaka in San Isidro, Lima, is the best Nikkei restaurant I’ve tried to date and I cannot recommend it highly enough. The sushi was absolutely exquisite, the warm dishes creative and the desserts the perfect combination of refreshing, sweet and rich! Service was fantastic throughout and with a very cool vibe, it’s the kind of place that I wish existed here in London too. If you’re visiting Peru then get this onto your list and go as soon as you possibly can. You’re going to love it!
Osaka is a must-visit restaurant for any lover of Nikkei, Japanese or Peruvian flavours and one you can’t miss when visiting Lima. For booking details and more info click here.
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