Coya – Review (London Mayfair)

So what’s the en vogue these days in culinary London? After my visit to Coya it’s put me firmly onto a new course of foodie fashion South American stylee. So this new gaff was opened in November last year by Arjun Waney (Zuma co-founder) joining the list of Peruvian experiences available namely Sushisamba, Lima and Cerviche conveniently located at the Hyde Park end of Piccadilly.

I’m so intrigued by Peruvian cuisine as it combines flavours from China, Japan, Spain and Italy, (hats off to the immigrants for their influences!) the resulting dishes I had really excelled and delivered sensational flavours with its’ ingredients. It also has 3 open kitchens; the Cerviche Bar (raw bar), La Parrilla (open charcoal grill) and the Cocina (central kitchen). Here is a view of the Cerviche Bar and the La Parilla;

As you enter, there is a gorgeous members bar to your right which has been exquisitely finished with grand furnishings. Straight below you’ll get the Pisco bar which is decorated with cool, exotic furnishings. The signature Pisco sours are the way to go here, invented in the 1920’s they combines Peruvian Pisco (South American Brandy), egg white, bitters, sugar syrup that delivers a very tasty beverage. I went for the ‘classic’ as you can see here;

We are presented with an extensive menu covering Cerviche, Tiraditdos (dishes of raw fish similar to sashimi), Para Picar (small dishes), Paradillia De Pescado (fish), Paradilla De Carne (meat) and the Josper (charcoal grill). If you simply can’t decide then go for the tasting menu @ 75 quid a head, that’s the route we took.

So it kicked off with a selection of Cerviches’. Clockwise from the top we had Lubina Clásico (sea bass, red onions, sweet potato and white corn); Ceviche de Tomate (tomato, watermelon, aji limo, mint); Ceviche de Lubina Ecuatoriano (wild sea bass, tomato, avocado, herb oil); Tiradito de Cobia (cobia, dashi, truffle oil, chives); Ceviche de Atún Chifa (yellowfin tuna, soy, sesame seeds, shrimp cracker). All were an absolute joy to eat, so fresh, citrusy and bursting with flavour. The crunchy corn in the sea bass dish lent great texture and the cobia was a strong hit with the shiitake mushrooms and wasabi undertones.

Ensalada de Maiz (Josper corn, crispy corn, sweet onion, red chillies). This was a ridiculously good tasting dish, a trio of great textures from candy sweet corn fresh from the cob with the denser chewy white corn and the bite of the crunchy corn.

Here is the Josper fired pork belly with fennel shavings. Pork belly is an absolute commodity in my culinary books but it was a pity this dish was over shadowed by the rest of the dishes, it just seem to lack flavour.

Anticucho de Pollo (Chicken, aji amarillo, garlic). This dish really shone, no doubt the Japanese influence here, reminded me of the assortment of meat you get cooked to smokey perfection straight off a Robata. Highly addictive and should be taken in small doses to avoid addiction!

Anticucho de Gambas (Black tiger prawns, tomato, chives). What more can anyone ask for  when you get handed a giant prawn freshly kissed from the Josper and is deeply flavoured? One word of advise consume the whole thing!

Arroz Nikkei (Lobster, rice, lime, chilli). Another gorgeous dish, the lime just elevates the flavour of this risotto-eque dish, one mouthful just begs for another!

Patatas Bravas a la Peruana (crisp potatoes, spicy tomatoes, huanaína sauce). These little things were a revelation, the crunchy little potatoes with skin on could be sold on the streets in plastic wrappers by the truck load!

Solomillo de Res (Spicy beef fillet, spring onions, rocotto chilli, star anise). Steak is kinda universal, but when it’s cooked so well from the Josper, coupled with the star anise subtle linger it makes for an X rated mouthful!

Lubina Chilena (Chilean sea bass, aji amarillo). Who needs black cod when Lubina Chilena hits those high notes too?!

Brócoli (Sprouting broccoli, chilli and garlic butter, sesame seeds). No meal is complete without your greens and these paired excellently with the steak.

Chica Morada (Purple corn granite, summer berries, orange shortbread). My favourite desert of the night, a real palate cleanser.

Tarta de Limon Verde (Lime tart, apricot sorbet); Caramelo con Chocolate y Frambuesas (Salted caramel ganache, raspberry sorbet, pisco). Faultless.

 Humberto Pinot Noir proved to be fruity, light and very complementary to the array of dishes consumed.

The verdict;

The damage: Expect to pay 75 pounds for the tasting menu + 50 for wine and service
The good:  The overall experience for me here was exceptional, a gem of a bar, perfect service and sensational ingredients and elevated eating.
The bad: It’s damn pricey!
 Rating: 5/5
118 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 8NW
 0207 042 7118

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  1. Stefan · September 1, 2013

    This was one of my favourite London restaurants for a long time (possibly now been pipped at the post by the Clove Club, but still deciding). The food at Coya was fresh and I can still taste the flavours after more than a year! That Pinot Noir is a bottle I could drink all day long. Last time I saw it was in Zoilo.

    Best dishes: Ceviche and the steak.
    Best moment: a quote from a man infinitely superior to me in foodie talent “food is life”. Quality.