Cough, sniff, yawn. I am vowing to learn from my going-out-mistakes. I mean, honestly. It’s so obvious when you think about it. From mid December, we should all stay in, toast marshmallows by the fire and darn those socks.
But seeing as it was our last scheduled girls night of 2012 and my 70th (!) food review of the year (more of which later…) the night was NOT to be cancelled – despite various common cold and sheer exhaustion suffering. So, as the final food review of the year, there was a great deal of pressure on Coya and its owner, the acclaimed restaurateur Arjun Waney, to wow us, the sleepy birds. So, as my third Peruvian (sounds almost kinky) restaurant – and with one Honky Tonk down (she did have a full-blown fever), we braved the cold and the Christmas crowds with a promise of pisco sours, cerviche and some Latin American vibes.
It really has been the year of the Peruvian, in London’s restaurant world. First I ate at superbly artistic Lima, then we partied at urban-cool Cerviche and now faced with this 100-seater dining room, pisco bar and private members club full of hedge funders, I realised Coya was my South American hat trick.
We decided not to sit at a table in the dining room. A wise decision, it turned out. The pisco
bar and lounge area is much more laid back. First out were the delicious corn chips and shrimp crackers served with mashed up avocado, lemon and garlic. Then followed a selection of anticuchos (marinated and grilled meat and fish skewers) as well as an array of divine ceviche all accompanied by the national tipple, some wonderfully sour piscos.
It took an Alan Partridge look-alike crashing our table to break up the party. Irrespective of what he looked like, approaching three wedding-banded girls clearly looking for a quiet night indicated that he wasn’t sober nor intuitive. Not a flattering move either way but did serve as a reminder that we had warm beds to scurry home to.
Coya: 118 Piccadilly W1 020 7042 7118
I’d like to take this opportunity to thank London town for feeding my guests and me during 2012. I am slowly learning NOT to eat everything put in front of me while fast realising that sometimes I should meet my friends without a review in mind. There’s nothing worse than a blogger bore. And, finally, before the year begins all over again …. my dear, generous restaurant owners: please don’t invite me if you don’t want me to be honest. Lucy Land (of West London Living fame) has taught me the value of honest reviews. ‘Don’t be so nice’ she repeatedly told me earlier this year. ‘Your readers won’t thank you if they have an awful meal.’ Thanks, Lucy, for this and more.