Peruvian cuisine took too long to arrive in the UK, but now it has, there’s no going back. The city of London has taken to it in a huge way and the Peruvian restaurants that have opened up in town are heaving, as if we’re trying to make up for all the quinoa, ceviche and pisco we’ve missed out on over the years.
Mayfair based Coya was one of the pioneers of this movement, bursting onto the scene with its range of stunning dishes, cocktails and juices. Peru is at the heart of its cuisine and the soul of the country runs through the veins of the restaurant. It has elevated Peruvian cuisine to an opulent high-end experience, without losing any of the flavoursome traditionality of the food and drink.
Coya has since launched an exciting new juice menu, which is worth a trip for in itself. Delicious combinations of fresh fruit, vegetables, seeds, spices, herbs and vitamin shots are blended and served in tall glasses. As well as offering their own concoctions, you also have the option to make your own from their extensive ingredient list.
We decided to leave this in the hands of the experts and tried the Campo Verde, which contained wheatgrass, kale, pineapple, avocado and apple. It was fresh, delicious and a huge energy boost. The Rojo Verbena with beatroot and spinach also looked great, as did the Pom Pom Spice smoothie with pomegranate, black grapes, apple, pineapple and cinnamon. The gentle spicing of the juices make for really interesting and unique drinks and they strike the right balance between fruit and veg, making them super healthy but also sweet and delicious.
The food as expected was exceptional. Having spent several months in Peru, I was well accustomed to their cuisine and Coya really captures the essence of Peruvian food, serving up an amazing array of both modern and traditional dishes. The freshest of the ocean’s contents was used for their ceviche, which was citrusy, light and served in a fragrant broth with textures of crunchy corn. Delicately spiced monkfish was speared on to skewers and served with a fresh corn salad. Followed was the most tender cut of beef, flavoured with star anise, alongside a beautiful piece of sea bass which was served with patatas bravas and tenderstem broccoli. Dessert was the most heavenly looking and tasting plate I have had in a long time; it was both a piece of art and the most delicious range of chocolaty treats. Corn and quinoa ice creams were decorated with caramelised popcorn and brittle wafers. A melt-in-the-middle chocolate fondant oozed over the large slate, which also contained scattered popcorn, and liquor filled truffles. It was the perfect ending to an incredible meal.
Despite boosting our health with the life-giving juice menu, we couldn’t resist just one Pisco Sour with our lunch, which they made perfectly. It took me right back to the long, lazy evenings I spent watching the sun set on the north coast of Peru.
The staff at Coya have an in-depth knowledge of the cuisine and the menu and will happily make recommendations or provide explanations of the dishes and ingredients which is very helpful.
The restaurant has continued to grow a loyal London following and has become the go-to spot for high-end Peruvian cuisine. The juice menu is just the cherry on top, but well worth sampling, alongside their delicious dishes.
For full menus and more information visit the Coya website: www.coyarestaurant.com