Eat Here: Peruvian Brunch at Coya, MayfairBy Claudine Levy
Coya is billed as a ‘Private Members club and Restaurant’ in the heart of Mayfair, and if my Monopoly prowess has taught me anything, it’s that this little square of London is reserved for the elite (or for those lucky souls who land on Go). So I arrived at the lovely spot opposite Hyde Park full of prejudice about a brunch I expected to be pernickety.
Coya Mayfair Brunch Review: The Lowdown
How wrong I was. We were greeted warmly, handed a pisco sour and led into an intimate dining space softly buzzing with a live jazz band in the corner. It’s hard to quantify a vibe. The two words that spring to mind are easy sophistication. The restaurant feels special, yet unpretentious – playful Peruvian knitted heads festoon the walls; service is smiley, vigilant, but unobtrusive, and the food manages to be exciting, complex and minimalist all at once.
Coya Mayfair Brunch Review: The Food
The new Peruvian brunch menu makes a refreshing change from standard brunch offerings of eggs, eggs or eggs. Don’t get me wrong, I love a good eggs Benedict, but there’s only so much hollandaise you can muster before crying out for something sans egg. The menu is designed to share, which means you get to try a great variety of delicious morsels. I always think food tastes better when you can graze your way communally around dishes on a table.
To start we were happily bombarded with a variety of small plates. We worked our way through edemame, sea bass ceviche, zingy salmon ceviche, tuna Tiraditos, quinoa and pomegranate, Peruvian bean and baby gem salad, and slow roasted pulled pork. The quinoa and the sea bass dishes stole the show. The grain salad was vibrant and alive with mint and tamarind, while the sea bass was amazingly delicate – served with refreshing cucumber and contrasting grilled maize – it was a fresh, light, earthy, sweet dream.
For our main course we shared slow cooked lamb with spicy roast potatoes and courgette, which was weepingly tender. We also shared the sea bream with fennel salad, which was again light and delicate and tasted like a summer’s day by the sea. All of the mains are served with lovely grilled sweetcorn with chilli and lime, and sprouting broccoli with sesame seeds. Again, it was a joy to pick in a meze-style fashion as my palette darted between dishes like an excitable puppy, never dulled into the monotony of one flavour.
Coya Mayfair Brunch Review: Our Verdict
To round off this gloriously lazy and languorous Sunday brunch, we had an assiette of deserts, including something to do with a chocolate brownie, a rhubarb granita and a coconut and passion fruit something-or-other, but by this point I was too drunk and happy to pay full attention.
Coya is at 118 Piccadilly, Mayfair, London W1J 7NW