Central has been high on the list of food lovers visiting Lima for some years. But the only problem is getting a reservation requires booking three months in advance.
So why not try Kjolle instead? Opened in August this year, by chef Pia Leon, who worked in Central for ten years with her husband, chef Virgilio Martinez, this is rapidly becoming the new must try place for foodies in Lima.
Both are together in the same building along with Mayo, their food and cocktail bar and the Mater Iniciativa, which is the hub of their business and reason to exist. They also own Mil, which operates to a similar concept in the Sacred Valley, Cusco.
The overall concept of the group is fairly simple- Peru has a huge amount of ingredients, due to the megadiversity of the country. Coast, desert, foothills, 6000-metre mountains, cloud forest and the Amazon jungle all join to create a massive selection of climates and ecosystems, each allowing different growing conditions- so the variety of food available is in turn equally ample. The group works to discover the various foods on offer, and present them to the world in a series of innovative dishes and drinks. In turn, this will help preserve these ingredients, some of which were in danger of disappearing. In turn, by increasing knowledge of and demand for these ingredients, local communities will have a financial motivation to protect these ecosystems.
Pia was voted the Best Female Chef in Latin America by the 2018 World´s 50 Best restaurant awards. When she moved from Central, various of her staff moved with her. It is more relaxed than Central and about half the price. I visited last week, and it was as good as they say. The cost for two of us to eat a la carte came to around 110U$ dollars, which is very reasonable. That was two starters, two mains, one dessert, a shared craft beer and various refills of water. It was plenty enough food for two.
The idea behind Central is to present food according to a particular ecosystem. Kjolle, while it uses ingredients from many ecosystems is more than happy to mix them, and the results are fantastic. Kjolle does have a tasting menu too, at just over 100U$ dollars each, but it would have been too much food for us. Sharing a la carte plates works superbly well.
So, if you want to try some of the very best ingredients in Peru, wonderfully combined and beautifully presented, with great service and a relaxed, unpretentious atmosphere, put together by a company with a conscience, try Kjolle. They make great food fun- and you can tell by the laughs and smiles shared between the staff, they are having just as good a time as you will. This video with English subtitles will give you an idea of what it is all about.0