Food that’s bursting with exciting and unusual flavours, is fresh and healthy, and is served up against the dramatic backdrop of an imposing Mayfair residence? Step into my new love affair – Coya! Having recently digested ‘The Art of Peruvian Cuisine‘, a prestigious cook book gifted to me by a wonderful client, I felt inspired to investigate THE Peruvian joint in London, before attempting my own [easier] healthy recipe from Lima. This post features my Ceviche & Quinoa dish, along with my mini-review of Coya, below…
The below shots are a collage of some of the best parts of my experience from the restaurant!
At Coya, you get to access ‘Peru’, but it’s wrapped in a fabulously modern shell; think lavish wide-striped wallpaper etched with gold leaf, highest-end fixtures and fittings, and a dangerously well-stocked Pisco Bar serving-up countless delicious tequila infusions! Sitting in the heart of Mayfair, it’s obviously not cheap, but it’s absolutely not pretentious and doesn’t feel in the slightest bit cold. The whole place is flamboyant yet chic, vibrant yet relaxed, and altogether enveloping and friendly! You tumble like Alice through the Looking Glass into what feels like an authentic far-away foreign experience, but all the while you’re actually nestled just next to Picadilly!
I was treated to a guided tour of entire restaurant (it is quite vast!) including the kitchen and the excellent ‘chef’s table’, before being presented with such diverse flavours, such freshness, such textural brilliance… Needless to say I was more than engaged by what I was eating. It really brought to life what my cook book had described so well!
Whilst this unfolds, all around you, young beautiful types are dressed to kill, and fabulously charismatic staff preside energetically over the whole experience; it all makes for hugely compelling dining and people-watching alike, but regardless, it’s a place where you leave (punctually) with a smile, feeling as though you were genuinely welcomed, and pondering when you might next return.
With that in mind, I set about recreating Coya in my own, slightly less exquisite way (I even tried to display it like the ceviche sashimi they served up, as per the below picture!). This recipe is essentially fish “cooked ” (cured) in the acid of citrus juice – the classic Peruvian ceviche.
1 white saltwater fish (cod , sole, halibut )
1 cup lime juice
1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup orange juice
1 teaspoon salt
1 medium onion, sliced thin leaves in half- moons
4 teaspoons chopped cilantro
1. Cut the fish into small cubes: you can dice it or leave it in pieces up to 1 cm square, but remember that the larger the pieces, the longer it takes to marinate .
2. Salt the fish , then inundate/cover with lemon/lime juice in a nonreactive (glass or plastic) container with a lid. Add the sliced onion and chilli.
3. Leave this to marinate in the fridge for at least two hours, perhaps even as much as 3 hours – very large areas may take longer. If your fish is really raw, fresh and high quality from your local fishmonger, it is OK if the center of the pieces are still raw after the marinating process.
4. Garnish with coriander and perhaps a touch of orange / lime zest!
5. Serve, eat and enjoy!!! FYI, here’s the Peruvian bible, which helped me along the way a bit 🙂 !