Ceviche

May 27, 2013
Ceviche {suy-vey-chey}

Noun: An appetiser of raw fish marinated in lime or lemon often with onions, peppers and spices.

 or…
 
Ceviche {suy-vey-chey}

A Peruvian restaurant in London, owned by a former DJ, head of iTunes Europe and  Executive Director and board member of The Walt Disney Company, Martin Morales.

*****
 
It’s the end of May and it’s unseasonably cold and raining. It’s the kind of weather that makes you seek comfort food.  I booked Ceviche a month earlier, when we were having some nice weather.  It was Friday, the place was heaving and when we arrived early to have a drink in the bar we couldn’t find a space. We had to go elsewhere until our table was ready. I was having serious doubts about my choice. I needn’t have worried. 
Yes the restaurant was busy, yes the tables were packed so close together that we were almost knocking elbows with our neighbours; but that didn’t faze bestie and I one bit. The atmosphere was buzzing and the décor is fascinating with lots of old family pictures to look at and interesting bric-á-brac everywhere. The toilets were particularly cool, not many restaurants can say that! 
 As it’s the first Pisco bar in London, I ordered a Pisco Sour (it would’ve been rude not to!) – a grape brandy liquor native to Peru – with lemon juice, egg white and Angostura bitters. It was right up my street. I like tart tasting drinks and had bestie been drinking, we would definitely had more than one!
 
The menu isn’t too long and takes the form of sharing plates. Peruvian culture is mainly rooted in Spanish traditions,  but have influences from Africa, Asia and Europe and you can tell by the variety of ingredients on the menu. They recommend that your order 3 or 4 dishes per person, but as usual, we got so excited that we had to be reined in by our lovely waitress, Helen.  It was so refreshing not to be up-sold for a change and Helen was absolutely spot on with every one of her recommendations. We could always order more if we were hungry.  
Chicken Saltado tequeño – Wanton fritters filled with Chifa style chicken and vegetables (£4.50). Crispy without being greasy.  A nice little nibble.
Don Ceviche – Fresh seabass ceviche in Amarillo chilli tiger’s milk, limo chilli, sweet potato and red onions (£8.00). This is the signature dish and seabass is what is traditionally used for ceviche. It was a generous serving of thick chunks of seabass and had a wonderful tangy citrus kick from the tiger’s milk (which by the way isn’t actual tiger’s milk, but the blend of citrus juices and spices used to marinate the fish!). The sweet potato crisps added a different, sweeter texture to the dish. This was a very good first foray into the world of ceviche.
 
Sakura Maru – Tiradito of thinly sliced salmon in Nikkei tiger’s milk made with satsumas, mirin, soy sauce and limo chilli (£7.00) I loved this dish. Very similar to sashimi and I loved the slight sweetness of the satsuma dressing. The crunchy deep fried rice noodles on top were delightful too.
 
Solterón – Palm hearts, spinach, alfalfa, feta, Peruvian Botija olives and a light lime dressing (£6.00). I love salads and this one was one of the more interesting ones I’ve ever had. Such interesting ingredients, so light. I just wish there were more than two olives on it as bestie and I both love a good olive!
Pulpo y Chorizo – Marinated and braised octopus and chorizo skewer with samphire and black quinoa salad (£11.00). I often say that life without chorizo is a life not worth living such is the love for the stuff. It goes with mostly everything and I always have a ring of it in the fridge. So when we saw this on the menu, it was a no-brainer and it didn’t disappoint. The octopus was braised to perfection and the chorizo brought a nice smokiness to the fish. The quinoa salad was left mostly untouched though, superfluous to requirements we thought.
 
Peruvian corn cake – Choclo corn and queso fresco vegetarian cake (£5.00) Delicious! The cake was as soft as a pillow, it had a nice golden colour and a strong flavour of corn. We really enjoyed this and could easily have eaten more of it.
Beef skewers (£15.00) – These were a special for the day and although nicely cooked, expensive for what it was. Considering how much I love steak, these were my least favourite and I would’ve preferred one of the other dishes we had already ordered.
 
As I’ve mentioned, we had a wonderful waitress, Helen, who made some excellent recommendations. She was friendly without being over familiar. In fact, all of the staff were full of smiles. This is clearly a great place to work.
 
Our total bill came to £87.19 for a Pisco sour, 2 glasses of wine, 7 dishes and included service. I’ve seen other reviews complaining of the portion sizes, but in my opinion, I thought everything was well balanced and we left feeling very satisfied. I thought this was excellent value and one of my favourite meals in London so far this year.
 
Until we eat again!
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