A small door, dimmed lighting, a large chandelier, a welcoming hostess... Welcome to Coya. This Peruvian restaurant is the talk of the town and somewhere you have to visit when you’re in the British capital.
With a modern Peruvian restaurant at the centre of Coya’s culture, chefs will entertain as food is prepared in one of three open kitchens; the Ceviche Bar, the Open Charcoal Grill and the Central Kitchen. The menu at Coya keeps traditional elements of Peruvian cooking alive while creating a contemporary cuisine for a modern London clientele.
We headed down the stairs to the bar. “Is this it?” I said to myself. No, there was more to it as a large space opened up behind the counter after a corridor of wine bottles. Inside the rectangular dining space are two things that make this restaurant a little special: The ceviche bar and the long grill.
We were seated on a round table in the heart of the restaurant, blending in with the ambiance. Square, round or rectangular, there are plenty of tables to choose from … if there’s space.
The space is dimmed, brown colors take over, while marble tables covered with a full set of cutlery fill the restaurant. Peruvian decor is seen in every piece, from the chairs to the wooden floor and the golden walls. A lovely ambiance, that makes people come back for more. Surrounding a central Ceviche Bar and overlooking an open charcoal grill, chefs skilfully prepare dishes that are to be shared in a social and familial style of dining. The bar also features fine and rare tequilas and an extensive rum list - all complemented with music, bands and DJ's, exploring the many rich and colourful textures of Latin American culture.
Before starting, seeing the waiters in action puts a smile on your face: Professional waiters from all over the world, all fully understanding the menu and its constituent parts. They move in a synchronized way, making sure not a single detail is left unattended.
- To start
- New dishes
- Small dishes
- Marinated Skewers
- Iron pot
To start with, the food is beautifully presented on plates of different sizes and shapes, some in bowls, others in double plates with ice on the bottom. Everything is tasty, with rich textures and intense seasoning. Crunchy bits, spicy notes, sweetness, sauce... Prepare to be overwhelmed.
- The corn salad is unique, with fresh corn perfectly cooked and toasted on the sides, offering a smooth feel along with some crunchy bits. Not only yellow corn, but large pieces of white corn to add a touch of finesse.
- The tuna tartare is great. Fresh, raw tuna with a spicy touch and some crunchy nuts to add interesting textures.
- The quinoa salad is simply awesome. You cannot imagine the dozens of spices found within. A perfectly cooked quinoa with crunchy parts and lots of flavor.
- White fish, tuna, crab, tender meat, mushroom skewers... Everything is simply awesome.
However, the plates contain too many tastes and seasonings that will overwhelm your taste buds. One plate after the other, I couldn't feel the ingredients anymore, so the food started to look almost the same. I would recommend you don't order much, but rather that you enjoy a few chosen dishes.
A tasty dinner it is, but the dessert could be improved. The chocolate fondant is not the best I've had. Too milky, too watery, I'm not sure if this is how it should be in a restaurant of that caliber.
- The rectangular dark chocolate cake is good but lacks some body.
- The banana and sesame-covered mousse is very disappointing.
Now I understand why people talk about Coya, Zuma's sister company, a restaurant that's as good as its sibling, one that offers fine and innovative food. I’d recommend it for sure. Next time you're in London, Coya is a must!