The word about town is that noone does cocktails and healthy cuisine quite like the Peruvians, so dining asthey do seems rather a good way to welcome in 2013 – “out with the old” (drinking) and “in with the new” (healthy living), in one. Happily, London’s Coya,at 118 Piccadilly – one of a handful of quality restaurants indulging thecapital’s penchant for cuisine from the South American enclave – isoffering a New Year’s Eve four-course menu (£200) with live music from Peruvianlegend Jaime Cuadra (£50 for a bar-only reservation).
Forthose completely green on the subject of Peruvian cuisine, it’s not all alpacaand guinea pig; eclectic influences hail from Spain, China, Africa and Japan –think gourmet Mexican with altitude. One of its classic mainstays, theraw cured-fish delicacy of ceviche, is prepared by Coya chef Sanjay Dwivedi (formerly of Zaika, Le Caprice and The Ivy) with sea bass and yellowfin tuna,and served alongside tiraditos (similar to sashimi), anticuchos (grilled and skeweredmeat, second picture), rock shrimps and crayfish, with flavours such as rocoto chilli andhickory-smoked salsa. The drinks menu should also not be forgotten –pisco-based concoctions alongside special tequilas and rums – and guests will receive a complimentary cocktail and glass of champagne.
JaimeCuadra’s pop fusion should be a pleasant surprise to anyonein the dark about Peruvian music. He went platinum in his home country with the “Peruvian Waltz Chillout” album Cholo Soy, three tracks from which appeared on the soundtrack of the Bond film Quantum of Solace. As Cuadra puts it, “I hope we can recreatethe buzz of the streets in Lima.”
Forthose who don’t drink too much pisco, it could be a night to remember.