Once I went to Kulu Kulu Covent Garden and saw Antonio Carluccio sitting at the counter. It made me happy that a chef with his own specialized fine dining restaurant around the corner chose this Japanese café for his down time. Even more exciting was the entrance of Fergus Henderson at Ceviche the other night, obviously full to the brim of his excellent Quo Vadis fare and looking for something a little more street.
We were there early, but the joint was already jumping so were seated at the bar facing the wall. Not great, but for a fast food experience it was fine.
The girls serving were charming, but a bit erratic. We were given tap water without asking, which is always a bonus, and a bit of help with the menu.
From the long and unfamiliar list of pisco-based cocktails, I chose a Passione Ceviche which, with its pale beige colour, cocoa dusted heart and sweetness reminded me of Guys and Dolls.
It wouldn’t take many of these (or any, really) to have me flinging myself at the young Marlon Brando.
The varieties of ceviche were plentiful, and it was hard to pick just a few. We had two sea bass-based ones in the end – hard to tell the difference really but the ‘Don Ceviche’ had bigger pieces and some sweet potato, whilst the ‘I Love You’ was thinner, cut like sushi and sharper.
Cancha, crunchy Peruvian salted corn, was a tasty bar snack, and the tequnoes, which are cheese fritters somewhere between a spring roll and an empenada, were light and satisfying.
We were recommended the Ensalada de Quinoa, which wasn’t really a salad but a round layered cake; it was nice none the less but had a faint oily taste.
Steak skewers – anicochos – were a touch chewy, the grilled potato slice faintly disgusting, but fair-to-middling (I suppose) for £8.50.
We were in and out within the hour, but if you were up for an evening of Pisco, Cusquena beer and Peruvian frolics you could make a serious night of it.
Words & Pics: Susie Innes