Restaurant customers are fickle and more often than not places that you’ve enjoyed go out of business or must re-invent themselves to capture new markets; that happened to be the case with Lomo. For those of you that don’t speak spanish, lomo refers to tenderloin, usually beef. It is not a surprising name for a restaurant that was formerly called Butcher’s. The head chef of both Butcher’s and Lomo is Carlos Porten. He has shifted his focus from a latin influenced international cuisine, to the food of his home country Peru; where gastronomy has long been ingrained his family’s history.
The philosophy of the restaurant has changed for many reasons. Originally, Butcher’s was geared mainly towards foreigners, offering a wider varieties of ingredients at higher price points. This caused some disconnect with the Bulgarian market. According to Porten, 90% of the ingredients he uses in his Peruvian cooking are local to Bulgaria. The unique flavor combination and flavor profiles sets his cuisine apart from other European cuisines, with the exception of Spain.
The menu itself is small, but diverse offering light bites and full meals for both omnivores and vegetarians.
I started with a grilled vegetable salad or Eggplant a la Cilantro (fresh coriander) with a cilantro vinaigrette, topped with walnuts. The flavors were nicely balances, but for me the carrots could have been cooked a tad more and a smidge more salt in the dressing, but my palette tends to lean towards salty. Overall simple yet tasty.
My other friend had the Red Lentil Cream Soup. Well layered flavor with a hint of cinnamon, I think… quite interesting take on lentils, a Bulgarian favorite.
Another offering, which a different friend tried was the Stuffed Kamba Peppers with minced beef and rice. What set this dish apart from a similar bulgarian one had to be the spices. It was familiar yet had a distinct latin flavor. Maybe catering the Bulgarians, it lacked heat.
I was hungry, so I ordered a main dish in addition to the appetizer, Adobo, which means sauce or marinade in Spanish. Varieties of the sauce were used to preserve meat, which also created the tender texture of the meat. Most varieties include spice and heat, which was lacking in this dish, but it was tasty. The sauce was flavor full and the bone-in pork cutlet fell apart on the fork and melted in my mouth. My only real complaint is the consistency of the sauce or nappé, it was a bit to thick and I could have used more of a kick!
My experience was very positive and I will be returning again soon. The crew at Multi-Kulti Kitchen are hoping to work with Porten on an event that celebrates Peruvian cuisine and highlights the community of 1 Peruvian in Sofia. Are there more of you out there???