From vibrant dishes and tasty cocktails, to chic décor and a feeling of luxury, find out all about dining at one of London’s best Peruvian restaurants in my Coya Mayfair review.
When it comes to fine-dining experiences, my palette has changed a lot over the years. In my 20s I adored Mexican and Italian food, then I fell in love with Asia and discovered amazing Japanese, Thai and dim sum restaurants.
Right now, it’s evolved again, and I’ve fallen head over heels for Peruvian cuisine. You know, ceviche, toasted corn, sweet potato, griddled seafood, paired with zingy lime and a punch of chilli. It’s been a bit of a revelation!
Thankfully London is home to a handful of excellent Peruvian restaurants. I’ve got a few favourites already, but there was a challenger in the wings! It was finally time to visit Coya Mayfair – a high-end Peruvian restaurant located on Piccadilly.
This restaurant brings the cuisines of Latin America to London, while also incorporating some Japanese, Chinese and Spanish cooking techniques too. I was ready for an immersive fusion experience!
Coya’s restaurants span the world now, with two in London, and other outposts in Dubai, Mykonos, Monte Carlo and Paris. It’s known for its vibrant dining experiences, trendy brunches and live music. I had high hopes for this catapulting itself onto my list of favourite restaurants. So how did it fare?
In my Coya Mayfair review I’ll run through my thoughts on the dining experience, menu, drinks and ambience. I’ll let you know my favourite dishes and what I thought of the overall meal. So, if you’re considering booking or want to know what to order when you get there, I hope my Coya review comes in handy!
Coya Mayfair Review
Coya Mayfair: Location
This restaurant is located on Piccadilly in London’s upmarket Mayfair neighbourhood. It’s a short walk to Green Park, Soho, Piccadilly Circus and Hyde Park, making it an ideal setting for a central London dinner.
I booked via OpenTable, a great booking platform for discovering top restaurants London restaurants. The site often has special menus and experiences to choose from, so definitely take a look. It’s completely free to use too!
Coya Mayfair – Set Lunch Menu
We chose to dine from the ‘lunch hour menu’ which is available Monday to Friday and costs £45 per person. Set lunch menus are often a great way to dine at London’s top restaurants if you’re on a budget. At Coya, this menu offers a really great selection of dishes too, In fact, you can choose three starters and one main course. There’s a £6 supplement if you’d like dessert too.
Starters at Coya Mayfair
When we visited, the starter menu included a whopping 10 dishes to choose from. My biggest bug bear with set menus is when they’re so restrictive, you feel like you’re missing out. Here, there was none of that! I’d invited my partner out to lunch, so we chose three different dishes each and shared everything. The more the merrier!
We ordered the salmon tacos, trio of maize, seabass ceviche, tuna ceviche, mushroom ceviche and the chicken skewers. I loved seeing the individual plates arrive, each as pretty as a picture, with colourful garnishes and vibrant touches!
With my huge adoration for Peruvian flavours, the three ceviches were among my favourite dishes. The seabass ceviche was a classic style of ceviche with a lime-based tiger’s milk, red onion, sweet potato cubes and toasted corn. You could taste the high quality of the fish – the ingredients around it really made it sing.
The mushroom ceviche was totally different to a standard ceviche. It contained an assortment of wild mushrooms including shitake, shimeji and enoki. Rather than a tiger’s milk base, the ingredients sat on a rich, creamy mushroom emulsion. It had an intense woody flavour, like a winter forest. It was so delicious we almost licked the bowl clean!
Finally, the tuna ceviche incorporated Asian fusion flavours, with the heat of chili, the tang of lime, the saltiness of soy, and plenty of hits of sesame too. It was my favourite of the three, although they each had special qualities!
The salmon tacos were bitesize morsels, stuffed with smoked salmon and avocado. They looked adorable but the flavours were more akin to a wedding canape than the punchy Peruvian flavours of the other dishes.
The maize dish was a fun medley of different types of sweetcorn, some charred and some crispy. The sweetness of the corn dish really complemented the sour notes of the ceviches.
The final starter was the anticuchos de pollo, essentially two chicken skewers. But these weren’t just any skewers, they were succulent chicken skewers smothered in the most delicious sticky sweet chilli sauce. There was a bit of theatre to these too, as they were served balanced on a little hibachi grill!
All in all, I loved the variety of the starters. They were all quite small dishes, but you’ll be surprised how filling they are, especially if you scoop up every last morsel as we did. If you’re visiting Coya with a bigger group, be sure to order a variety of dishes from the starter menu. A big part of what makes the experience enjoyable is trying so many different flavours!
Main Courses at Coya Mayfair
For our main courses, we chose one dish each, but again shared both plates. Our waiter recommended the Arroz Nikkei so we simply had to try it. This is an iron pot filled with rice, topped with miso flavoured Chilean sea bass. To contrast, we ordered the Lomo de res – a spiced filet of beef.
Both of these dishes were absolutely incredible. In fact, we both agreed they were a noticeable level above the tasty starters. The flavours really packed a punch.
The Arroz Nikkei was an unctuous dish, similar to a risotto. It had the flavours of salt, lime and chilli running through it. Placed on top was a perfectly cooked fillet of seabass, with a delicious umami miso glaze.
The beef fillet was served rare, topped with crispy shallots, and flavoured with Asian spices including star anise and chilli. It was so moreish, I sat there wondering how we could recreate it at home! My only negative is that it looked a little lonely on the plate without any accompaniments. A streak of sweet potato puree or a little vegetable garnish wouldn’t go amiss.
Desserts at Coya Mayfair
As mentioned, the lunch menu doesn’t include a dessert in the price. However, the restaurant offers two desserts (cheesecake and churros) at a discounted price of just £6. We were pretty full after our main courses, but we decided to share a slice of cheesecake as it sounded too good to miss!
This vanilla and lime dessert was pretty rich but there was some tartness to it too. It was served with a colourful and exotic guava sauce. On top of the pretty cheesecake were small pearls (made by spherification) that popped with the flavours of lime and coriander. Standing tall were three shards of a brown sugar and seed tuille – a textural element that not only balanced the dish but made it even more photogenic!
Drinks at Coya Mayfair
I simply had to devote a special section of my Coya Mayfair review to the cocktails! The drinks were a highlight of our meal. As you walk into the restaurant you’ll spot the long pisco bar, lined with bottles of pisco, mezcal and tequila – continuing the Latin American theme.
I had trouble choosing a cocktail as there were so many that took my fancy. I ended up ordering a passion fruit pisco sour, a classic Peruvian cocktail which is wonderfully tangy, and shaken up with an egg white to create a frothy top.
My partner enjoyed a Tokyo Fizz, which was a refreshing and exotic mix of pisco, yuzu, passion fruit and mango, topped up with ginger beer.
The cocktails are on the expensive end of the scale even for London, but they’re generous and well-made. We all deserve a treat sometimes!
The restaurant and bar areas at Coya Mayfair
Only the entrance is on street level at Coya Mayfair. For all the action you’ll need to descend downstairs to the basement where you’ll be led through the swanky bar into the main dining area. There’s a ceviche bar in the centre where chefs prepare cold dishes, and a charcoal grill at the far end for dishes such as anticuchos, roasted aubergine and steak.
I really enjoyed the Latin American décor, with bold colours, patterned wallpapers and plenty of foliage. In fact, in parts of the room you’ll forget you’ve stepped off one of London’s busiest streets and instead feel like you’ve stepped foot in a jungle, albeit a very glamorous one!
When we visited on a weekday lunch, the clientele was a mix of girls celebrating birthdays, business lunches and couples on dates. Despite reading there was a dress code of no sportswear or trainers, I actually spotted quite a few people dressed in casual attire!
The bar has a DJ area set up, but there wasn’t anyone performing during my visit. I’ve heard the ambience is quite different in the evenings and at weekends, particularly during Coya’s legendary brunches.
Overall thoughts on lunch at Coya Mayfair
Coya is a great place to visit for a special occasion, particularly if you’re a fan of Peruvian or Asian fusion cuisine. Dishes are beautifully presented with complex flavour profiles and the service is excellent, with attentive waiters and personal service.
As with many of Mayfair’s restaurants, there’s a sophistication to this dining experience. The lunch hour menu offers a really great introduction to the food of Coya, without the hefty a la carte price tag. It can still add up pretty quickly though, so I’d save this experience for a special occasion such as a birthday or anniversary.