I visited Peru a few years ago, and the food was (for the most part) exceptional - especially in Lima. Whether it's exuberant fine dining or scrumptious street food, boy, do those guys know how to elevate flavours. So when I heard that Señor Ceviche had launched a 'From Lima With Love' tasting menu (£34pp), I just couldn't resist trying it out. So there I went, off to Carnaby to get you the lowdown...
On the second floor of the heaving Kingly Court lay this cool, collected restaurant. It boasted a laid-back yet vibrant decor, with a nod to its South American influences, from the pretty, patterned cushions to the almost-neon posters plastered on the walls. As we checked out the menu, the first thing that caught my eye was the selection of Pisco sours. My pal and I ordered a couple - she went for the classic, while I opted for one with a passion fruit twist. Punchy, frothy and sour, it was everything the drink should be, and was a relief on such a hot summer's day. We knocked these back as a small saucer of cancha (popped corn) arrived. A cute little bar snack, these went perfectly with our tipples.
Then came the quinoa croquetas, oozing with cheddar cheese, served alongside aji rocoto and pineapple salsa, the flavours of which married together beautifully. But something that really tickled our fancy was the chifa chicharrones; chunks of slow-cooked pork belly, complemented with a smoked sweet potato puree and chancaca soy. Though bite-sized, these still managed to be perfectly crispy on the outside and juicy on the inside, and were a resounding winner.
Then came the eponymous Señor Ceviche, made up of sea bass and octopus ceviche, served in a small pool of aji Camarillo tiger's milk. It also came with a sweet potato puree, a few slices of avocado, red onion, crispy baby squid and a sprinkling of coriander. While the octopus was a little tough, the sea bass was melt-in-the-mouth and utterly delicious. As we chomped on this, the salmon tiradito was delivered to our table. Another beaut dish, showcasing salmon, a rocoto emulsion, piquillo pepper, roasted camote, dill and crispy quinoa, it didn't take long to demolish.
Up next? A range of banging BBQ bites. The super pollo, marinated and grilled corn-fed chicken legs, came with a rocoto salsa. This was perfectly blackened on the outside, while still totally succulent and tender. Then came the pachamanca pork ribs. Think baby back ribs elevated with yakiniku sauce and roasted peanuts. Between bites, we munched on patas fritas (sweet potato fries accompanied by aji rocoto mayonnaise) and the maras soltero (a salad of spinach, mushrooms, edamame, radish, pomegranate seeds and crispy quinoa, dressed using a truffle ponzu). To finish? The dessert was a rich, moreish chocolate mousse to share, which came topped with caramelised hazelnuts; a perfect end to a stunning meal.
The DesignMyNight Digest
If you fancy a taste of South America without coughing up the airfare, Senor Ceviche is definitely a great shout. But while the tasting menu was delicious, my favourites by far were the raw fish dishes, so when I return? I'll be treating myself to the whole range of those.
💰 The damage: £88 for two, including one cocktail each
📍 The location: Kingly Court, Carnaby, W1B 5PW
👌 Perfect for: After-work antics or shopping pitstops
⭐ Need to know: The tasting menu also has a cocktail pairing for an extra £24 each