Peruvian cuisine has gone all trendy, non? There’s a welcome surge of restaurants in town from the likes of Lima
, Chotto Matte
, Coya, etc. serving Latin American and Nikkei food. And what’s not to like? It’s healthy, flavoursome and relatively intriguing.
Photo credit: Señor Ceviche
Señor Ceviche is a Peruvian casa in trendy Kingly Court. From the outside, it reminded me of those casitas you see on beach holidays with music pumping out inviting punters for a tipple or two.
Inside, it’s an intergalactic industrial fiesta: cocktail bar on one side, open kitchen on the other, bright neon stickers all over. Bubbly servers hover around with bright smiles and it feels you’re transported to a warm Latin country.
We skipped the cocktails and settled for a bottle of VDP Val de Loire Sauvignon Blanc (£26) whilst perusing the short and sweet menu which was organised in categories. To say the least, we ordered almost everything.
The Para Picar section aka light bites, small plates
The aubergine picarones (£5) were rather good. Picarones are essentially sweet potato doughnuts and usually served sweet. SC’s savoury version is stuffed with aubergine and served with an aioli with aji panca (that’s red pepper for you). This was quite a revelation – light, non-greasy and absolutely moreish!
I thought the jalea mixto (£7) was as straightforward as any frito misto dish. It wasn’t mindblowing but there’s quite enough of it to satisfy your beer-battered cravings.
SC’s tamarind chilli wings (£6) were plump, tangy and meaty. Albeit slightly dry from the grilling, they do have a really nice smoky flavour that I like.
The Sanguchitos section: mini-sandwiches/sliders.
SC has three types: quinoa and black bean for vegetarians, tuna & salmon for fish lovers and chicharonne for meat-eaters. If you have to choose just one, go for the chicharonne (£4) unless you’re vegetarian. The slow-cooked pork belly is delicious with a fab crispy crackling, and enveloped in a bun with sweet potato puree, Peruvian hot sauce, tarragon mayo & salsa criolla. I could easily have five of these.
The Ceviches & Tiraditos section: of course, Peruvian restos can’t be legit without these bad boys.
Mr Miyagi (£7) is a tiradito of salmon with pomegranate, purple shiso and salmon scratchings. The tiger milk was nicely balanced and refreshing. Nice enough, but I wish they had more scratchings for more texture.
The clasico ceviche (£8) was delicious. Chunks of sea bream with aji limo (a moderately hot chilli pepper) tiger’s milk, sweet potato puree and choclo corn. The fish was fresh and the sauce tasted clean on the palate.
The Señor Ceviche (£9) was a nice highlight of the meal. It’s a sea bream and octopus ceviche with aji amarillo (relatively fruity chilli) tiger’s milk, potato puree and a nice touch of tempura baby squid. I loved the textures of this dish a lot and if you’ve been reading my blog you know anything with good octopus makes me happy.
Meanwhile, the Spaniard (£8) was rather intriguing. Made with sea bream and prawns, the ceviche also has some crispy chorizo for texture. I liked this dish but wanted more heat as the tiger’s milk was made with aji rocoto which is similar to bell pepper but much spicier.
The Peruvian Barbecue section, aka grillzzzz
I’m rarely impressed by grilled chicken but the Super Pollo (£8) was quite nice. The meat was quite succulent and the marinade had a nice balance of smoke, sweet and sour. If only it came with spicy rice!
I had no expectations of the Pachamanca pork ribs (£9) but this was really decent. The pork was so tender, I almost fell out of my chair when it fell off the bone! The marinade wasn’t as sticky as Roka but it was really flavoursome. Really, really, really good.
I wasn’t going to pass off the flat iron y uchucuta which I thought was a really good price for £9. I would’ve liked the meat a bit more pink as it came medium well to well done but it was tender enough to enjoy. The uchucuta sauce was good but again I wish it packed more heat.
The sides and salads section: aka mostly for dieters and vegetarians (lol!)
SC’s Nikkei greens (£5) is a crunchy small plate of tenderstem broc, courgettes, lettuce with a miso and aji amarillo dressing. Topped with crushed peanuts, this was a nice side.
I really liked the quinoa soltera (£5) which I thought was a fantastic salad. The supergrain is mixed with pomegranate seeds, crumbled feta, edamame beans, choclo corn, beetroot and avocado. It’s a salad of subtle flavours which delivered on nutrition and texture.
The Dessert section is limited to three, so we ordered all of them.
The inca chocolate mousse (£5) came with toasted quinoa crumble, sliced mangoes, pecan and caramel dust. The mousse itself had a nice consistency but the flavour was slightly confused with the mango.
I had high hopes for the tres leches (£5). It’s a dark chocolate sponge with pisco syrup, white choccy and saffron cream and cumin ice cream. Unforch, this was my least favourite of the desserts. The smell of the cumin ice cream reminded me of a packed tube at post-work rush hour in the Summer (aka a carriage of BO) and was off-putting.
Possibly the most successful of their three offerings was the tarta de queso (£5), a passionfruit and white choccy cheesecake. It’s creamy and rather refreshing, but I’ve had better cheesecake elsewhere.
Overall, I was pleasantly surprised by Señor Ceviche. I think the menu offers a good variety of things to try for groups of people with various tastes and levels of fussiness. I don’t think dessert is their strongest mark but quite rightly, the ceviches are commendable and the pork ribs are yum. Service is good, ambience is pretty chilled out and oh my gosh the price is so cheap! It’s definitely a nice place to go with buddies – you won’t be disappointed!
I went with these beauts and we thoroughly enjoyed. Post-dinner, we headed to the W Hotel where we lounged by the fireplace and shared more wine and cocktails. Lovely.
1/F Kingly Court, London, W1B
Ave spend pp: £30