Coya: Fine Dining Peruvian Style in Mayfair
Our dinner at Coya was superbly awesome! I’ll be honest, I went expecting it to be a bit over-hyped, possible pretentious and terribly expensive. It is rather reminiscent of dining at Nobu or Zuma. But despite the high price tag, Coya scored well by showcasing good quality ingredients, beautiful creative plates of food and the right atmosphere and service to ensure you’re having the best possible dining experience.
You enter one of the townhouses on Picadilly opposite Green Park, walk down the stairs into a cavernous basement which holds a huge dining space. To be honest, it didn't start on a good note as we ended up sitting next to a couple who were talking incredibly loudly. I started feeling intensely cranky about the whole situation while my friend valiantly tried to keep up the conversation but it was of no avail – we couldn't beat that decibel level and fell silent. The thought of being forced to listen to this non-stop flow of inane conversation for the rest of the night freaked me out and as politely as I could, with desperate begging eyes, I asked the waitress if we could move. And thankfully she understood and moved us to another table. So 10 points to Coya just for that single act of kindness.
Once we moved, I perked up and we started the perusing the menu intently. Quite a lot of foreign exotic sounding dishes but that heightens the excitement as you not sure what you’re going to get. We started with Crocantes, the Peruvian version of guacamole and chips except here the avocado was a smooth and silky delight and instead of taco chips, puffy prawn crackers and corn chips were served. Utterly more-ish, we couldn't get enough of it and had to order it again!
We then had the sea bass Ceviche called Lubina Clasico which was fantastic – diced cubes of raw fish marinated in lime with red onions, corn and sweet potato. The flavour combination was simply amazing - fresh tangy lime with the crunch of onions invigorating your taste buds. We also had the Atun Nikkei - yellow fin tuna Tiraditos which is also raw fish but sliced thinly instead like a carpaccio and served without onion but with chilli. Again, totally incredible, the ruby red tuna lifted by fresh chilli salsa and lime.
We chose the grilled prawns which sadly were not par with ceviche and tiraditos. A bit of a damper but then came the grilled marinated chicken wings, which blew us away. Succulent chicken wings, slightly crispy on the outside with tender juicy flesh inside, covered with a gorgeous tamarind glaze. Another must order dish.
We ended the meal with grilled lamb chops with crushed aubergines which was good but I think a bit over cooked and rather forgettable. Oh and we also had some Patatas Bravas – crispy potatoes drizzled with spicy tomato and huancaina sauce which was a rather guilty pleasure.
The bill came up to 50£ per person which includes two fabulous Pisco Sours – one of my favourite cocktails. A frothy drink with Pisco (grape brandy), lime , sugar and egg whites which you must try if you go. We were quite careful in ordering and I could totally see a situation where if you’re a bigger group, the bill at the end of the night could be quite sky-high!
Both of us unanimously agreed we would be returning. There are some really stunning plates of food served at Coya and I want to try more of their menu. It’s the perfect place to go if you’re looking to celebrate a birthday with a small group of friends or treat yourself and a special someone to a lovely meal Peruvian style!
118 Picadilly London W1J 7NW
Tel: 020 7042 7118
Tube: Green Park