Peruvian food seems to be the en vogue in culinary London right now. After my visit to Coya, I couldn’t disagree and 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) and now it joins the ever-expanding list of Peruvian experiences available namely Sushisamba, Lima and Cerviche. It’s also conveniently located at the Hyde Park end of Piccadilly.
Peruvian cuisine combines flavours from China, Japan, Spain and Italy, (hats off to the immigrants for their influences!), which makes it so intriguing. The resulting dishes I had really excelled and delivered sensational flavours with the ingredients they were made from. The restaurant 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 Peruvian ornaments. The signature Pisco sours are the way to go here, invented in the 1920s, they combine Peruvian Pisco (South American Brandy), egg white, bitters and sugar syrup, what it delivers is 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 at £75 per 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 meaty 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 combined together was a textual delight.
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. It’s 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 by the Josper and is deeply flavoured? One word of advise consume the whole thing, the crispy tail and all.
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 subtle linger of aniseed spice, it makes for a delectable mouthful.
Humberto Pinot Noir proved to be fruity, light and very complementary to the array of dishes consumed.