Last week was a bit of a nightmare to be honest, so yesterday instead of working, as I pretty much do every single day of the week, I decided I needed to take the day for myself. So, after a leisurely breakfast perusing the foodie pages of The Sunday Times I hopped on the train to London to meet up with Sherin for some much needed girl time; lunch and cocktails followed by a much needed gossip fuelled shopping trip.
We settled on a trip to Señor Ceviche, a Lima street market inspired Peruvian joint upstairs at Kingly Court, just off of Carnaby Street that had opened the week before. Peruvian is one of my favourite cuisines to eat out, and I have found that Peruvian restaurants make particularly good spots for a casual Sunday lunch. There is something for everyone; from the great plates of barbecued meats to the delicate ceviches, even though even I can't recognise a fair few items on the menu as foodstuffs I've ever come across before.
Honestly, I could have enjoyed any one of the fruity, pisco based cocktails on the menu, but as I was eating I thought I'd go long and tall. You can see my delicious and very refreshing 'Ayahuasca' made with 1615 pisco, dark rum, peach liquor, pineapple spiced syrup, lime juice, bitters and ting in the back. Sherin's very pink and pretty drink topped off with an edible flower is the 'Miraflores', made with vodka, cointreau, rose syrup, cranberry juice, lime juice, fresh ginger and gomme.
We kicked the eating off with some ceviche. I always judge a Peruvian joint by the quality of their house ceviche, and I have to say that the 'Señor Ceviche' was one of the best sea bream/ tigers milk/ avocado numbers I've ever had. Light, and both rich and refreshing at the same time it was perfectly balanced. However, the real star of the dish was the pieces of crisp tempura baby squid cut with wafer thin pieces of raw red onion that topped the whole thing off. Honestly some of the best tempura squid I've ever had; light, crisp and tender. Based off of this, from the smaller 'Para Picar' section of the menu on my next visit I really want to order the 'Jalea Mixto with Jalapeño Tigers Milk', a mixture of squid, prawns and market fish in the same batter. It is plates like this that make ceviche among one of my all time favourite dishes.
We also ordered the 'Mr Miyagi', a salmon tiradito with obvious Japanese roots. It was a lovely balance of the two catalogues of flavours, with nikkei tigers milk, pomegranate, purple shiso and crisply salmon skin. Very different from the classic ceviche, but equally as delicious.
Meat time. We both really wanted the Smokey Chilli Citrus Wings, and they did not disappoint as one of our joint favourite dishes from the meal. They were meaty, tender and flavourful, but with the most wonderful thick char on the outside without being burnt. Another dish we both adored was the 'Super Chicken' served with a aji rocotto mayonnaise, which was the perfect accompaniment. It was a generous portion, and again with exactly the right amount of charring and fresh, crunchy toppings. Not pictured, we also ordered the 'Flat Iron Anticuchos' served with aji panca anticucho sauce. It was nice and the beef was perfectly cooked, but as it was so thinly cut it was cold by the time it got the the table. Honestly though, it was the only disappointment of the whole meal, and it could still be chalked up to kitchen teething problems.
As for the sides (yes we managed to order more food, though after all of this we did not have room for dessert!) we went for the Pink Pickled Cabbage and the Patatas Fritas with Huancaina and Tomato Fondue. The Pink Pickled Cabbage. Oh the Pink Pickled Cabbage. I could have eaten way more of it than the majority of the dish I did wolf down; it was sweet, tart and had just the right amount of bite. The green chilli, spring onion and coriander added some pretty fantastic bursts of flavour, and the pieces of corn the most wonderful crunch. While I was distracted by my cabbage, Sherin dove head first into her sweet potato fries with tomato and cheese topping. I stole a few at the bottom of the plate once the cheese had been cleared, and they were frankly delicious. Though, look at them. How could they not be?
The service is quick and friendly, so if you work around Soho and Oxford Street it is a perfectly viable place to pop in for a dish or two in your lunch hour, or to head for a couple of rounds of cocktails then dinner after work. I have not enjoyed a new opening so much in ages, and I can instantly and honestly say that it is as good as the other sharing plates Peruvian I love in the city; Andina in Shoreditch. However, I feel that a repeat trip is required to both of them, purely for research purposes, of course, to truly see which one comes out on top!