Coya is a vibrant Peruvian restaurant in Mayfair, on Piccadilly to be precise. I must reiterate that Coya is vibrant, it almost similar to a club in terms of the vibe of the restaurant. From the large man in a suit at the entrance to the incredibly vibrant bar with live music you walk through to enter the somewhat tight and very bustling restaurant. The décor is rather very unique; it perfectly straddles contemporary and cultural. It’s also rather dark inside, which is expected, and also compliments the restaurant seeming like a club.
We went to Coya at 9PM last Friday night, and peculiarly we were sat at the exact same table as the previous time at Coya two years ago. From our table everything looked the same, although we didn’t remember the restaurant being as vibrant; but this was a Friday night, not entirely sure what day of the week we went last time. There are two open kitchens, one for fresh raw dishes (tiraditos, ceviches, and the like), and the other across the room for cooked dishes. The menu is fairly extensive, with a good amount of raw dishes and grilled/fried dishes, and in particular for us (Shiima lol), there are a fair few chicken dishes.
Shiima ordered the vegetable tacos (a different, more complicated name on the menu lol), chicken wings (ditto; actually the dishes are in Spanish, which isn’t that complicated if you understand Spanish lol), baby squid, and chicken anticuchos (skewers) for starters; and corn fed baby chicken and crispy potatoes for the main. I was going to have a good portion of Shiima’s starters so I ordered grilled octopus, and grilled pork belly for starters; and Chilean sea bass as my main.
To start with, and I wont bury the lead, Coya’s food is utterly delicious. Almost every dish was in or around our top 5 in regards to taste when compared to similar/indentical dishes at other restaurants. Especially the vegetable tacos, the chicken wings, and the chicken anticuchos, which aren’t unique dishes, just more delicious at Coya, and with seemingly fresher ingredients, superior seasoning, and more succulent chicken respectively. The baby squid was above par; not overly coated in batter and with a good about of chopped chilli. My octopus was really good. Grilled to perfection and very lightly seasoned, which leaves you to enjoy the meaty taste of grilled octopus; and the pureed olives were really good, very rich, and a good compliment to the octopus. Now for my pork belly, which was heavenly … maybe the best pork dishes I’ve ever had. The pork belly was cooked perfectly and sliced not too thinly, but the winner in the dish was the spicy fennel.
The main dishes weren’t up to the standard of the starters, which isn’t necessarily surprising or a bad thing as the starters were mostly incredible. My grilled Chilean sea bass was a little underdone and under seasoned for me, and it didn’t really have a standout taste, but it was still enjoyable. Shiima’s corn fed baby chicken was seasoned identically to the chicken wings, which isn’t bad, but at this point we were both stuffed and were hoping for a slightly different taste. It was grilled perfectly though and looked delicious. Shiima ate a couple pieces of the crispy potatoes, not because it wasn’t tasty, but because she was stuffed and it’s a rather big portion.
Yes, we were stuffed but the waiters left us a while before handing us the dessert menu. I really wasn’t up for a dessert, but Shiima strong-armed me into getting one because she was. Yes, you did, baby lol. Shiima went for the chocolate fondant, and I went for the salted caramel ganache. Shiima loved her fondant, which was oozing custard (I think lol). It was not too rich and not too sweet, which is perfect. My salted caramel ganache took a couple spoonfuls for me to enjoy, mostly because of the texture, but by the last spoonful I was really enjoying it. I didn’t enjoy the berries and pieces of jelly that came with my dessert though, not for me.
In conclusion, like I began with, Coya’s food is delicious. The atmosphere is very vibrant, and the staff, although seeming permanently in motion, are friendly and attentive. It’s an awesome dining experience. It is a tad expensive though, but just below average for restaurants in Mayfair. I’d recommend for romantic dates, special occasions, large groups, foodies, and for the vibrant bar.
Dress Code: Smart Casual
Shiima’s Star Dish: Chicken Anticuchos
Amen’s Star Dish: Grilled Pork Belly
Price: £35-40 each (excluding alcohol)
Rating: 4.8 out of 5