In November 2012, a car accident on a highway in Ayacucho robbed Peru of four young chefs, which, beyond the devastating loss to family and friends, was a blow to Lima's culinary scene where they had been working among the best in the city. Among them was Ivan Kisic, a young man with a particularly bright culinary future. He had been nominated one of the ambassadors of Peruvian cuisine and was pegged by many as one to watch, particularly as his plans for his own restaurant seemed to be maturing into an interesting new addition to Lima’s fine dining scene. After his death, Ivan’s twin brother Franco, at the time working in Barcelona alongside Albert Adria on Tickets and Pakta, abruptly ended his Spanish adventure and returned to Lima to continue his brother’s legacy. Let's take a look inside.
Now three years later, IK the restaurant has lodged itself firmly among the best of Lima, thanks to Franco Kisic’s tasteful development and finishing of his brother’s work, his fine eye for detail and management, and a top notch team (many of them who worked with Ivan before his untimely death).
The interior remains one of the most calming in the city, with every surface wood, green, and bathed in natural light from a large window at the far end. Here, the small but excellent waiting staff serves up both tasting menus and an a la carte menu at lunch and dinner.
The menu still has a few dishes that were among Ivan Kisic’s original sketches of the restaurant, but the majority has been completely renewed.
The kitchen is currently under control of a young and very promising chef, Diego Gutierrez, with regular visits by consultant chef Sebastián Mazzola, who also worked with Albert Adria.
The concept remains firmly guided by the principals originally drafted by Ivan – a celebration of all the culinary traditions from around the country, based on quality, sustainable Peruvian ingredients, sourced from suppliers with which they have developed strong and mutually beneficial relationships.
This is their version of the classic Peruvian dish, the tiradito (the younger, more sashimi-like little brother of ceviche), where carpaccio-thin strips of raw fish are served with a spicy leche de tigre. Here, IK has a nikkei leche de tigre, with granadilla, ginger, turnip, and mandarin, which add fantastic acid-sweet complexity.
Another beautiful dish from the kitchen: Pancetta slow-cooked in a mustard teriyaki sauce and garnishes of Peruvian corn in various textures.
This dish is a take on the Amazon, Andes, and the coast. Eel in a herb crust served on braised Amazonian plantain with ashes of oca - a colorful tuber that is widely cultivated in most of Peru’s Andean region and is particularly resilient, resisting cold and extreme altitude very well and forming a key part of many subsistence farmers diet.
Apple slices with a hazelnut puree, a grated ice of green apple juice and estragon-this is a superb dessert, crisp and refreshing and is a perfect way to clean the palette after the tasting menu.
This is the cacao fruit laid bare, with its various flavors smartly represented by an acidic sorbet, fake dark chocolate cacao beans, and a crumble of cacao nibs. The husk is served chilled to the table, and again, the team at IK has managed to make an intensely flavorful, but light and fresh dessert to compliment the long and quite heavy tasting menu.
The oval, green lúcuma fruit grow in high sub-tropical valleys in Peru and its light orange flesh, though quite starchy, has a rich sweet flavor, sometimes described as a blend of sweet potato and maple syrup with touches of vanilla. It is most commonly made into ice creams or sorbets. The seed, a beautiful polished brown oval is represented in this, one of Ivan’s original dishes, by a chocolate covered lucuma ice cream, which rests on a bed of coffee and chocolate earth and a cheesecake cream.