South American Buzz at COYA Angel Court:
It was at COYA Mayfair, on Picadilly that I tasted my first Pisco Sour. Love at first sip, the tart citrussy drink is the way I start any South American meal given half a chance.
Coya Angel Court has clearly recognised the potential of the Pisco Sour and their comfortable Pisco lounge is already buzzing and vibrant, even early on a Tuesday evening. I did, of course, start with a Pisco Sour made with Pisco Quebranta, fresh lime juice, sugar syrup and egg white, although I could just as easily have been tempted by the COYA favourite, the Chilli Margarita.
COYA Angel Court is located in the heart of the City near Bank. The 4,500 sq ft space is a day-to-night venue which incorporates a buzzing Latin American bar and a contemporary Peruvian restaurant. It’s the kind of place where you can’t help but smile – the staff are welcoming and the vibe is ultra friendly. But, I wanted to find out whether the food would match up!
In the restaurant area, we were greeted by the house sommelier and by our waiter for the night who arrived with a wooden board replete with one and a half fresh avocados, chopped red onion, red chilli sauce and sea salt – and a large pestle and mortar. Obviously the freshest of fresh guacamole, which was served with corn tortillas and prawn crackers.
The friendly sommelier offered to match our choice of food with wines – and we happily agreed. It’s a great way to experience the food and drink at its best. And, we agreed to order a predominantly pescatarian choice of dishes, with just one meaty small dish – so we could share everything. Para Picar (small sharing plates) to start.
First up, ceviche langosta (£19) a half lobster, served with a light gazpacho and aji limo. This is a new dish for COYA and we both agreed, a great addition to the menu with a good sized portion of very fresh lobster. The wine matching was actually not wine at all, but Urakasumi Honjozo Sake – a tribute to the Japanese influence on Peruvian cuisine. It was light and creamy, a great match with the lobster.
Soft shell crab (cangrejo de concha blanda) were served on tacos with yuzu aioli, a lovely delicate and slightly hot dressing. Mine disappeared far too quickly.
Both the Cerdo Bao were mine – slow cooked pulled pork with chipotle, salsa, criolla and a spicy mayo served on a bao style bun with a garnish of coriander. I had been concerned that I’d find these too filling, but the whole dish was very light and easy to eat.
By this stage I wasn’t entirely sure that main courses would be necessary. But, we had ordered…and I am quite good at finding space for wonderful food;)
I chose the langostino tigre – Josper grilled tiger prawns, served with a chilli rich salsa. It was an excellent option, with tender and sweet prawns, already shelled and perfectly cooked, served in a half lobster shell. My tiger prawns were served with a crisp Uruguayan Albariño from Bodegas Garzon with fruity notes that worked well with the seafood.
For my companion, a Nikkei dish – Arroz Nikkei which is Chilean sea bass served on a bed of rice with a kind of soup of lime, chilli and corn purée. he was truly impressed, loved the sweetness of the fish and was impressed with the flavour pairing. His wine, the Susana Balbo Signature Rosé was a blend of Malbec and Pinot Noir, a minerally wine with strawberry notes.
Sides of Esparragos Peruanos, a char grilled Peruvian asparagus with a light tomato dressing and Choy sum Chifa, stir fried choy sum, with soya and sesame seeds completed our main courses.
Next a glass of Urakasumi, Umeshu, Plum sake which is a lovely drink that has all the things I love about plum wine but lacks the overwhelming sweetness. Rich with notes of almond it was a great match for my companion’s mousse de coco coconut mousse, Jivara, pineapple sorbet – a pretty coconut rich dessert.
For me, the caramel chocolate with raspberry sorbet and pisco was a classic flavour pairing, that worked very well with Luccardi Malammado, a fortified Malbec from Argentina.
To finish the evening, a totally unnecessary but really lovely glass of Ruinart rosé champagne just added to the sense of hedonism that makes Coya Angel Court such a fun evening out.
Highly recommended. I’d visit for a special occasion, a birthday celebration or just because I wanted something fun and indulgent. It’s somewhere that has both a sense of luxury and of theatre. There’s no stuffiness – and yet it still manages to be grand and ‘special’. A rare find.
Why not pin this post for later!
Pisco Lounge and COYA Angel Court Restaurant
31-33 Throgmorton Street
Tel: +44 (0) 203 9070 000