Cooking With Fire at 500°

You may be wondering why I’m posting a restaurant review when we’re all in the joys of quarantine and social distancing.

Well, it’s because 500° is actually one of the restaurants in Lima offering a take away/delivery service at the moment, and so I wanted to share with you some of the items on their normal menu when we visited a few weeks before the lockdown.

If there’s one thing that might definitely make you want to order something from here, it’s that they serve up one of the best chocolate cakes I’ve ever eaten. And it’s enormous. More on that later…..

The name 500° refers to their method of cooking at high temperatures in their two massive wood fired ovens at the back of the restaurant. Here they bake bread and empanadas, and cook pizzas, meats and other dishes, facing out to the restaurant for all the guests to see.

Now, some of what I’ll share here is not currently available as part of their delivery service, but I do hope they return to the menu once the restaurant reopens properly. If you want to see both their full menu and current delivery/takeaway menu, you can check them out here.

To start, I definitely recommend ordering their bread cooked ‘a la leña’, which means it has been baked in a wood fired oven. I’m a sucker for anything a la leña, so even though it comes at an extra cost, I knew I would have to order some. It comes hot from the oven, a little charred on the outside and all puffed up in the middle. It’s delicious, drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with a little Peruvian Maras salt, or especially so if you order the beef carpaccio alongside it, topped with thin slices of parmesan. Sadly the carpaccio isn’t available for delivery at the moment, but it should be at the top of your list for a starter when the restaurant opens again!

The pastel de choclo (corn cake) is one starter that comes straight out of the big ovens, all crispy on top and smooth and sweet underneath. Pastel de choclo is one of my favourite dishes, and while this one is great, it’s not the best I’ve had in Lima and I would have loved for there to be more – it was a very shallow serving in the pan. However, I’ve heard that the roasted avocado is something special, so I’d definitely be interested in trying that next time I’m able to visit (it’s also available for delivery).

The pizzas here are really something else, cooked fresh to order in those hot ovens – thin crust but not too crispy, with a slight chew to the dough just the way I like it. Ours came topped with chorizo and roasted aubergine, which I would’ve loved a little more of, but the cheese and tomato gave a perfectly balanced base. Pizzas have a whole section to themselves on both the full menu and delivery menu and you can tell that it’s a popular item, seeing how many of them come out of the ovens during service, and for good reason! Currently, on the delivery menu, you can even order some of the pizzas frozen, ready made for you to cook at home should you prefer.

One thing I would’ve loved to have tried, but just didn’t have the space for was the enormous 1.5kg ossobuco, complete with bone inside. It was an absolute showstopper, served standing upright in its pan and one for the table to share for sure. It comes with a bed of pureed potato and there are glazed carrots too. If you have a special occasion coming up during quarantine, then this could be the special dish for you to order in……alongside this next item.

Yes. That’s right. The epic-as-heck chocolate cake.

It’s like a tower of chocolate cake magic, doused in a chocolate sauce, sprinkled with caramelised nuts and fresh fruit, and topped with a scoop of proper banana ice cream. No fake banana taste here. This cake is honestly a gift from the gods. It’s a dense dark chocolate cake, so it’s unlikely you’ll finish it all (cake for breakfast the next day is like the icing on the literal cake), the sauce is warm, and there’s definitely some manjar blanco caramel in there too. It’s an absolute winner in my book! I wake up every morning wondering whether today is the day I order the cake again, but at a pricy s/33 for one portion (ouch) this is a once in a while treat. Maybe I’ll do it for my last night before I head back to the UK. A fitting last meal in Lima I would say! The best thing is that during lockdown delivery, you can actually order an entire cake (no idea on the size though…), not just a portion. So if you’re willing to splash the cash (close to s/100), then you could have it all!

So, if you’re looking for a special meal delivery during lockdown then I can highly recommend 500° and even more so when they’re properly back open for business. I just love watching the food flying in and out of those huge ovens, with the scent of baking and roasting in the air. Plus, I still have so many options on the menu to try and I’ll definitely be ordering that chocolate cake again….

500° // Camino Real 1281, San Isidro, Lima (delivery/take away only during quarantine)

And to finish.....

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