The main issue with this restaurant is one of marketing, and I feel the need to encourage people to go here so the place is still around next time I come to Lima.
My wife and I went here for our anniversary when our reservation at Rafael fell through. There was only one other couple there when we arrived, and we almost left, but not feeling like wandering around Lima in the night of our first anniversary, we decided to stick it out, and I'm glad we did.
Hervé certainly needs some help with the decor: the idea of the restaurant is to create an intimate dining experience like you're in someone's home, but the white walls, high ceilings, kitchen tucked away in the corner and 20-odd empty tables gives the place a bit of a sterile, impersonal feeling.
That said, they seem to have picked up on the complaints about slow service. Our server was quite attentive, and we never had to wait too long for the next course. Neither did the service feel rushed, and they never offered us our check until we asked, even though we chatted for about 30 minutes after eating desert.
The food itself some if the best I've had in Lima, and the pulpo appetizer with avocado cream is certainly with getting if you go. However, we skipped the alcohol after seeing that the cheapest glass was 40 soles--I'm sure it's good wine, but they should have some less expensive options. Similarly, my wife paid the same for her shrimp with spaghetti as I did for my home-made tortellini, and while both dishes are excellent, any dish with spaghetti should be one of the cheaper items on the menu. We were also a bit confused that the afines are extra, but they also gave us two bread courses, gelato to prime the palate for desert, macaroons and cookies, so I'm not complaining.
I would have like to see more salad options, and perhaps I would have ordered poultry if the sides had been more creative. That said, I think part of the problem is that the menu understates what you're getting and with better descriptions, I would have probably ordered a more expensive dish.
In sum, for this sort of dining experience, I have very high expectations, and as far as the food itself goes, my expectations were met. Other factors--especially the impersonal ambience--are why I wouldn't give this place five stars. Still, I definitely recommend this restaurant, especially if you're tired of the "Peruvian fusion" that seems to be all the rage in non-Peruvian gourmet restaurants right now, and you want some real European food for a change.
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