In a nutshell:
Coya offers modern Peruvian cuisine in a stylish pisco lounge setting, right in the heart of The City, London. From the owner of successful Knightsbridge restaurant Zuma, a high-end Japanese, luxurious Coya had its first residency in Mayfair, has since opened in Dubai, Miami, and now at a new location in London.
Comfortable gold chairs, hot-pink and deep-purple striped pillows (very Aztec) line soft brown leather sofas at Coya. Electric blue walls with washed-out white stone are lined with climbing plants, and crystal-blue tiles surround the kitchen. Lighting is low and the bar, grand and gleaming, stretches the length of the room and is full of Latin American and western spirits.
Expect Peruvian dishes including marinated meats and seafood, ceviche, tiradito (raw fish, similar to sashimi and crudo), tacos (pictured below) and salads, amongst other popular contemporary options, such as small plates of bao buns, chicken wings, and sides of crispy potatoes and choy sum.
Kick things off with a traditional, pisco sour, here they’re delicately sweet, light and bubbly, yet sour and strong. Here is Coya’s pisco sour recipe to make at home.
The small plates are as they sound, so order at least four per person. A traditional marinated meat skewer of ox heart with plenty of panca chillies and aji (chilli) sauce was rich and spicy. Crunchy tacos with fresh, soft and juicy salmon topped with avocado and a warming tomato aji sauce followed, along with, slow-cooked cerdo (pulled pork) bao buns, pillowy and sticky, served with chipotle and a punchy salsa criolla.
Dishes come out when they’re ready. We enjoyed light and crispy potatoes with Huancaina sauce, similar in style to Spanish patatas bravas. Huancaina sauce, a spicy cheese sauce, usually served over boiled eggs and olives, was creamy, garlicky and warm with more aji chilli.
Josper octopus with olives, was lightly chargrilled and soft but had a slightly bitter aftertaste. Grilling in the charcoal Josper oven features numerous times on the menu. We loved the smoky flavour of the crispy grilled corn kernel salad loaded with hot, fresh chillies.
There were lighter options on the menu, too, including a variety of salads. Kale, candied walnuts and sweet goji berries, was perhaps not as authentic as some of the other options but refreshing nonetheless.
The star of the show was yellow fin tuna ceviche with soy and sesame–salty and a real palate cleanser–and cuttlefish with fiery, fresh ginger and dramatic squid ink.
For dessert, go for the dark Peruvian Fortunato chocolate fundido with a cooling passion fruit ice cream. Intense and decadent, and surprisingly moreish, it’s ideal for sharing.
End the night with a late harvest Chilean sauvignon blanc sweet wine. Golden in its appearance with notes of honey, it has a fruity lasting finish.
Great service and excellent food, worth the money for special occasions. Approx. £65 per person, without wine.
Words | Amanda James, May 2017. www.coyarestaurant.com
Photographs | Coya