Latin American group Coya opened its second London location in the City in May, joining its Mayfair venue, which launched in 2012. The company also has branches in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, with plans to expand to Shanghai, Singapore and Seoul.
WHERE IS IT?
On the ground floor of the new 24-storey mixed-use Angel Court development in Bank, a few minutes’ walk from Bank station.
Spanning more than 400 sqm and seating 170 guests across the restaurant and bar, the venue has been cleverly designed by London-based firm Sagrada into different sections so as not to feel cavernous. To the right as you enter is the Pisco Lounge (pictured top), or loop around to the left for the restaurant.
Colourful and dressed with Peruvian objects and handcrafted furniture, it’s a vivid, glamorous-looking space. The main section of the restaurant features an open kitchen and sit-up ceviche counter topped with bowls of abundant limes, avocados and chillis, with huge pots suspended above it.
A mirrored archway leads from the main “Peruvian” section to a smaller “Bolivian” area (I was told to make a wish as I walked under), which features a faux living wall and monochrome Latin American art prints. Two private dining spaces are available, the largest seating 18 diners and featuring a private terrace.
Executive chef Sanjay Dwivedi’s Asian-influenced contemporary Peruvian dishes are as vibrant as the décor, both in terms of flavour and presentation. It’s a sharing concept, and the menu – which includes a range of ceviche, tiraditos (sashimi), tacos, small plates and anticuchos (marinated skewers) as well as larger fish, seafood and meat dishes and rice-based cazuelas – was hard to choose from, as it all sounded inviting.
Signature dishes include lobster ceviche with gazpacho and aji limo chilli (£19), and whole leg of lamb cooked on a Josper grill, served with chifa (Chinese-Peruvian) vegetables (£75; below).
While we decided, our friendly waiter made us up some fresh guacamole at the table, flavouring with chilli sauce to our liking and serving with corn tortillas and prawn crackers – a welcome theatrical touch.
We were advised to select about four small plates to start. We tried two taco dishes – cangrejo de concha blanda (soft-shell crab, yuzu and aioli; £12; pictured below), which was nicely crisp and tangy; and chicken with huancaina (a spicy cheese sauce), cancha (corn) and pickled carrots (£8), a good combination of crunch, creaminess and kick.
We also opted for the croquetas de lubina (£8), fluffy and light Chilean sea bass croquettes served with chilli aioli; and, our favourite, cerdo bao (£6.50) – deliciously juicy slow-cooked pulled pork with chipotle and salsa criolla, served in a plump bao bun.
Moving on to the mains, we chose the arroz nikkei cazuela (Chilean sea bass, rice, lime and chilli; £36), served in a pot, the fish fillet flaked and mixed into the rice and sauce at the table. It was lovely – sweet, delicate and warming.
Also impressive were the costillas de cerdo (£16) – a generous stack of pork back ribs in a sticky tamarind glaze with cashew nuts. We accompanied with a side of asparagus with tomato dressing (£7), the Josper grill lending a wonderful smokiness.
There was only room for one dessert – a salted caramel ganache with pisco and raspberry sorbet (£9), the depth of the dark chocolate finely balancing the refreshing tartness of the berries.
Signature cocktails include the pisco sour (Pisco Quebranta, fresh lime juice, sugar syrup and egg white; £12) and chilli margarita (jalapeno and aji panca-infused El Jimador Reposado, home-made apple and avocado puree, agave syrup and fresh lime juice; £12). The latter provided a pleasingly intense heat that hit the back of the throat.
The wine list offers a good selection of Latin American and European bottles. A glass of Perez Cruz Carmenere Limited Edition 2014 from Maipo, Chile (£12), suggested by the sommelier, paired well with the mains, being spicy yet light enough to accompany both the meat and fish.
The place was well staffed and all were warm, informed and attentive.
A most enjoyable high-end dining experience that should prove popular with the well-heeled workers of the City. Combining inventive flavours with excellent service and a warm atmosphere, this is a good option if you are looking to impress clients.
Restaurant open Mon-Fri 11.30am-2.30am, 6pm-10.30pm; bar open 11.30am-12am. Closed weekends.
Small plates £6.50-£19; mains £17-£95; desserts £9. Wine from £6 by the glass; from £25 by the bottle.
Coya Angel Court, Unit 1C, 31-33 Throgmorton Street; tel +44 (0)20 3907 0000; coyarestaurant.com