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‘Chef’s Table’ Star Virgilio Martínez Will Open a Peruvian Restaurant in Hong Kong

Ichu Peru, opening July, is the chef’s first foray into Asia

Virgilio Martínez and others gather plants in Peru
Virgilio Martínez (far left)
Courtesy of Central

Big news out of Peru: Central chef Virgilio Martínez is opening a restaurant in Hong Kong. Ichu Peru, the Chef’s Table star’s first restaurant in Asia, will open at the end of July, Forbes reports.

The news comes days after Martínez and Pia León announced a closing date for their renowned Lima restaurant, Central. In an Instagram post, Martínez announced that June 9 is the last night of service at the restaurant in its current location, writing, “We’ve spent the last 5y thinking about a place more aligned with our philosophy and way of life and finally we will get a new start.”

Central is the flagship restaurant from husband-and-wife team Martínez and León. Since opening in 2008, it has become one of Lima’s essential restaurants, appearing consistently on the World’s 50 Best Restaurants list. Martínez and León previously announced plans to relocate Central to a new location in Lima. The new space will also be home to the restaurant’s food lab, Mater Iniciativa, as well as a new casual restaurant from León called Kjolle. Central 2.0 will debut June 25, a restaurant spokesperson told Eater.

The Hong Kong restaurant, opening in partnership with Dubai-based Bulldozer Group, will serve “much-loved Peruvian dishes in a comfortable, welcoming, casual environment,” Martínez told Forbes. Three key members of the Central team will move to Hong Kong to work at Ichu Peru, which is named for an Andean plant.

Martínez wants diners in Hong Kong to feel as though they are dining in Peru, and designer Joyce Wang conceived the space to this effect. According to Forbes, she split the 80-seat restaurant into distinct sections, each inspired by Peru’s differing altitudes. An outdoor terrace seats another 85 people.

The new Hong Kong restaurant is part of a growing empire from Martínez and León. Mil, Martínez’s destination restaurant overlooking the Moray ruins near Cusco, opened in February.

Virgilio Martinez To Open First Restaurant In Asia-- Ichu Peru In Hong Kong [Forbes]
@virgiliocentral [Instagram]

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