Bottomless brunch menus: how do you feel about that? I’ve tried several in London and abroad over the years, but I can’t decide whether I like the idea or not. I generally like to keep things simple when it comes to brunch. At the same time, a set menu featuring signature dishes and bottomless drinks is an affordable way to try a new restaurant. One thing I know for sure: I love Peruvian cuisine! I recently asked guest blogger Adrienne Fung to visit COYA Mayfair on my behalf and review their brand new bottomless brunch. Read on to discover what she loved (and what she didn’t love) about London’s first Peruvian restaurant.
A New Latin American Brunch Experience
Last month, I had the chance to check out COYA Mayfair new bottomless brunch menu with a friend. COYA, one of London’s hottest restaurants in the trendy neighbourhood of Mayfair, serves upscale Latin American fare with a contemporary edge. Created by Head Chef Sanjay Dwivedi (previously at high end Indian restaurant Zaika in Kensington), the menu marries tradition with refined elegance. For those looking for a swanky party brunch in London complete with a live DJ, this weekend brunch offering won’t disappoint.
Before being seated at our table, we had the pleasure of trying some of COYA’s signature cocktails from their Pisco Lounge bar. The bar is decorated with a gorgeous display of fresh produce, transporting us from London to Peru. We tried the Pisco Royale cocktail. Priced at £15, it should not have surprised us that it would be topped with gold flakes. While not only visually stunning, the cocktail was in fact delicious – not too sweet and with just the right touch of citrus, a great way to whet our appetites before a decadent brunch.
After we finished our cocktails, we were promptly seated in the main dining room. The restaurant space was vibrant and stylish with colourful artwork covering the walls. The décor and music certainly captured COYA’s Latin American influence.
Their attention to detail is apparent: each table perfectly set with not a single utensil out of place. We were fortunate to have beautiful weather on the day, with a flood of sunlight filling the dining room.
Once we were seated, our waiter explained the brunch menu to us. All brunch guests receive a variety of set dishes and desserts, however each guest can choose their own main course. Depending on which main course you choose, the brunch set menu price can vary from £36 to £46. For an additional £20 or £30, guests can have bottomless drinks: Pisco Sour, Pisco Mary or Bernard Remy Champagne. While I ordered Champagne, my friend decided to try the Pisco Mary, which unfortunately lacked any spice, tasting a bit like a watered down Bloody Mary. This was surprising considering how good our other cocktails were.
The meal started out with light bites of edamame in a tangy aji Amarillo sauce and a trio of ceviche & tiradito, which included a classic sea bass ceviche, mixed seafood ceviche, and a kingfish tiradito. While all three starters were delicious, the tiradito was a clear standout. The freshness of the fish paired with unique flavours from smoky mushroom, truffles, and pickled chillies made this dish our favourite of the day.
Next we were served a Peruvian quinoa salad, grilled chicken anticuchos, fried calamari, and a pulled pork bun, all included in the brunch set menu. The quinoa salad was refreshing and had a lovely mix of textures from crunchy quinoa and sweet pomegranate seeds.
We were also impressed with the chicken anticuchos, which had a great smoky aroma that could only be achieved by using real fire in the cooking process. The calamari wasn’t as crunchy as we would have hoped and also lacked a bit of flavour. The pulled pork on the other hand was seasoned aggressively, a bit too salty for our tastes.
Following these dishes came our mains along with sides of grilled corn with lime & chilli butter and roasted broccoli rabe. Based on our waiter’s recommendations, we decided to try the Arroz Nikkei. This was served with a generous portion of grilled Chilean sea bass accompanied by citrusy dressed greens and a creamy lime and chilli rice, reminiscent of a velvety risotto. It was then all mixed together by our waiter at the table, making an impressive presentation. Every element of this dish was cooked perfectly. It’s a great dish to share and was certainly one of our favourites from COYA’s menu.
Next we tried the pork ribs, which came in a fragrant tamarind glaze, topped with crushed cashew nuts. The glaze was very flavourful with a nice balance of sweet, savoury and heat although the ribs could have been a bit more juicy and tender. All in all, this was a successful dish.
A trio of desserts capped off the meal: a chocolate brownie topped with berry sorbet, coconut and passion fruit mousse cake and a cherry Chicha Morada granita. The coconut and passion fruit mousse cake was our favourite of the three. The sweet coconut was complemented by the tanginess from the passion fruit. After an indulgent meal, it was the perfect light and airy bite. The Chicha Morada dish was perhaps the most interesting. Chicha Morada is a popular Peruvian beverage made from purple corn, which gave the dish a stunning deep purple colour. This dessert was quite tart and a spoonful or two was more than enough to cleanse the palate. The brownie was also delicious with a nice chewy texture, sure to be a hit amongst chocolate lovers.
COYA Mayfair’s weekend brunch was certainly a lot of fun and would be a great option for friends getting together to celebrate a special occasion. While bottomless brunches have infiltrated cities like NYC with almost every other restaurant serving their own version, they aren’t quite as common in London just yet and finding a good one can be even more challenging. What I have often seen is restaurants sacrificing on food quality in exchange for bottomless drinks however here the dishes were top notch. The ambiance was equally impressive and made for a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon!
Disclaimer: Adrienne was a guest of the restaurant. All opinions are her own.