Street & Conversation with… Gabriel Gonzalez
Born in Venezuela, Gabriel has now lived in London for 10 years. He began LIMA in 2012 following a trip to Peru where he fell in love with the country and the food, and decided he wanted to set up a Peruvian restaurant. His brother was living in London at the time, so they did some research and saw that there was an opportunity to open this type of restaurant. Gabriel has now been running LIMA for the past 10 years, and has since opened a second site in Covent Garden (2014).
Was there a specific dish which you tried in Peru which inspired you to open LIMA?
The raw dishes – the ceviches, sashimi – they all vary in the types of seafood which you can use – it can be pretty much anything as long as it’s fresh. The marinade is also really delicious and different types of chillies can paint a different colour. Yellow, red, it’s vibrant and fun to eat so that caught our attention. Flavour wise it’s really fresh, interesting and super healthy so it ticks a lot of boxes.
Do you have a favourite restaurant in London?
I personally love Japanese food. It’s my favourite type of cuisine. I’ve always gone back to ROKA. I really like that place.
Do you have a favourite cultural place in London?
The British Museum is a special place. There’s a Peruvian exhibition on at the moment. We collaborated with a catering company and our head chef did the kick off for the exhibition. The Tate is also a very cool place and is one we keep going back too.
What makes London special to you?
I think it’s the most cosmopolitan international city anywhere in the world. That multiculturalism, it’s so open so you feel really welcome wherever you come from. You can really make your way – it’s such a welcoming city and the dynamic is always changing. You really feel like things are progressing in the city. I honestly think it’s the best city in the world.
Do you have any unique or whacky things which you like to do in London?
In the summer I find that Hampstead Heath and the lagoons are amazing. You really feel like you are outside of the city. It is also so interesting how every place has it’s own little quirk, high street and life. Every area has its own thing.
Do you have any green spaces which you love?
Regents Park, Hampstead Heath, there’s so many green areas which is something I love about this city.
Do you have a favourite tube line?
The overground? It’s kind of comfortable and wide…. it’s one of the nicest ones.