Dec 8 2012



As you probably know by now I love Peruvian food, so whenever a new Peruvian restaurant opens (this year there have been 4 opening!!) I always go there to try it out. So when I read that Coya, a Peruvian restaurant, on Picadilly, about 100m away from Hide Park Corner, had opened, I gathered some friends and arranged a dinner on a Saturday evening to go there. Coya has a formal restaurant, a lounge bar that serves the best of the restaurant food as well and also a private members lounge. We were sitting in the lounge and the atmosphere was great there, the bar was buzzing, we had a great big table, and we could stay there as long as we wanted and more than the 2h slot that you get in other restaurants, but it did feel like Coya is your typical restaurant that serves expensive food in Mayfair, and if before the trend was to serve Japanese food because it is healthy and not that heavy, then now to make it different they are doing Peruvian food, as it also focuses on fish, which is healthy and you don’t eat too much. The food was nice, but as I said it was expensive for what it gives you and also it did not feel like authentic Peruvian, as a lot of the dishes were just dishes copied from other Japanese or Chinese restaurants that they thought the wealthy clientele of Mayfair will like. The pisco sours (typical Peruvian cocktail made out of Pisco liquor lime juice, syrup, ice, egg white and Angostura bitters) that we had were great though, they were quite expensive at around £10 each, but were delicious and I only needed 3 for the whole evening. We first ordered some corn chips and shrimp crackers with Avocado salsa, which were nice (shrimp cracker clearly not Peruvian). A word of caution about the pictures – I was enjoying the evening so much and having such a good time with my friends, I forgot to take pictures in time for some of the dishes and only took pictures of some of the dishes when they were half eaten or fully eaten, so I do apologize about it. To start our meal, we ordered 2 ceviches the “Dorada Criollo” ceviche with Sea bream, amarillo chilli, crispy corn, coriander and “Atún Chifa” ceviche that had Yellowfin tuna, soy, sesame seeds, shrimp cracker, and they were nice ceviches but so small for £10, and I would probably need 4 of these to feel full. We also had a salmon tiradito (tiradito is like a sashimi) that was garnished with quinoa, onion escabeche, amarillo chilli, and this was punchy to pay £9 for it, as they only gave you 5 slices of salmons. The last starter we had was deep fried squid with chilli, a typical dish in an Asian restaurant, which i thought had too much batter and too little squid. All these starters were nice, but none of them were extremely memorable. Afterwards we had an anticucho of chicken, which was marinated chicken cooked on a charcoal grill with miso and amarillo chilli, a nice chicken dish. The tiger prawns (Langostinos Tigre) that cost us £27 were a big disappointment, as there were only 2 of them and they were not as delicious as the ones you get in Japanese restaurants like Zuma, and cost the same. Also the presentation was so plain for a dish that costs so much. When you for example go to Zuma every dish is beautiful and you don’t mind paying the large sums of money, but here you pay 27 and they just put 2 prawns on a plate with some sauce over it and a lemon wedge. The Chilean sea bass we had with tamarind and  panca chilli also cost the same and was a small portion and not memorable at all. This seems to be all I write for this place but it is true – the food was not memorable enough for the price you paid and did not deserve this price tag. Whilst other restaurants can charge that because the quality of ingredients is there, the skill in cooking them is there, Coya just lacked that, and even though I am sure they tried to use good ingredients the skill of cooking them was not too great, and I could have created these dishes myself, and whilst places like Asia de Cuba charge you similar amounts for a dish, there the dishes are bigger and meant to be for sharing (and also more creative), but here they were quite small. We also had 1kg of meat (steak) to share between us, and that I liked. The meet was great, cooked medium, delicious and soft. We ate it so quickly I only remembered to take a picture when only 1 piece of meat was left (see the picture with the meat next to the cherry tomatoe and the mushroom). To go with our food we had some “Espárragos peruanos “ Peruvian asparagus with panca chilli and garlic (they seem like normal asparagus to me, not sure if they are called Peruvian because they were imported from Peru, but that in my view would be quite silly), some broccoli and some “Arroz peruano” White rice with as the menu said “white corn and sweet garlic”. Note in the rice they actually put the cheap yellow corn in, and not the advertised white corn. I think I have already summarised my thoughts about this place above, but yes it is a fun place, loved the bar, great cocktails, but not good value for money food, but I can see why it would be successful in London. Gets the same ranking as Asia de Cuba, as I the price is similar at both, I actually thought the food was a bit better at Asia de Cuba but I prefer the atmosphere in the lounge area of Coya and the décor.

Date: 08/12/12
Location: Hyde Park Corner
Price for 1 with cocktails and service charge: £86

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Maija rated: 



118 Piccadilly W1J 7NW
United Kingdom
Coya Reviewed by Hungry Bee Maija on . Rating: 2