After trying Andina earlier in the month, I had reignited my love for Peruvian food and I really wanted to revisit the sister restaurant, Ceviche. As Mr Silver was yet to try Martin Morales’ first London outpost it seemed the perfect venue for my next Saturday Soho Lunch Club.
I mentioned a little about Martin Morales’ background in my Andina blog which you can read here
. Morales started with a supper club and a series of pop-up restaurants, he spread the word through twitter and his temporary venues proved so popular that he gathered a team together to open his first restaurant, Ceviche.
Before Morales, Peruvian food was barely known in the UK but now the trend has swept the capital, even picking up Michelin stars in the case of Lima.
The restaurant interior was designed by fellow Peruvian, Jack Schneider, who chose every element of the interior with extreme care.
The bar is intended to be reminiscent of a fish market, including scales on the counter and a red wooden bar to represent the red boats in Lima’s port.
The main restaurant is based on the Lima neighbourhood of Barranco. In particular, Bar Juanito, a regular haunt of Lima’s bohemian crowd, poets and musicians. According to Ceviche’s website the colours of the room, the wooden floor, tables, chairs and artifacts are all inspired by Bar Juanito. The restaurant was incredibly atmospheric but it wasn’t as if Morales was trying to force Peru into London, rather it just felt like the Soho version of Lima!
Morales also includes a hero wall in the restaurant in order to celebrate key Peruvians, chefs, musicians, artists and painters.
Framed posters represent moments in Peruvian arts and culture. I loved the interior of Ceviche, every little detail is considered so carefully. Even the loos! They are painted yellow to represent the main square in Lima. In the toilets you can listen to Peruvian comedy from the 60s, 70s and 80s.
The place really is something quite special and Morales’ passion comes out at every turn.
Mr Silver and I took our table, ready to start our Peruvian feast.
After remembering my addiction to caucha corn at Andina, I gingerly ordered a portion. Once again I couldn’t stop nibbling at the delicious salty snack.
Obvs the signature dish here is the ceviche! A raw fish dish marinated in the juice of citrus fruits, which is made fresh at the ceviche bar
We order the don ceviche, a fresh sea bass ceviche in amarillo chilli tiger’s milk with lino chilli, sweet potato and red onions. At Ceviche the chefs are ‘obsessive’ about how long they marinate the fish for, what kind of lime they use, the kick from the chilli and the amount of salt that they add. The care and attention shows as the sea bass was simply perfection. The sour notes came through the fish perfectly with hints of chilli and a perfect crunch both from the sweet potato and the onion.
Tiradito of thinly sliced salmon in Nikkei tiger’s milk made with satsuma, mirin, soya sauce and limo chilli.
I loved the Asian flavours that came through in this dish and the incredibly fresh salmon.
Our final ceviche was Pulpo al Olivo, braised octopus with Peruvian olive sauce and capers. I include this because it was a beautiful dish to admire, but I’m sorry to say we sent it back. The octopus was perfectly cooked but neither of us enjoyed the strong olive flavour of the sauce, which was only enhanced by the capers. I don’t mean the dish wasn’t well done, it just wasn’t to our tastes. Try it if you love olives!
Wonton fritters filled with chicken and vegetables.These were a gorgeous Peruvian version of a spring roll, with minced chicken inside. Interestingly, Peruvian food has a strong Chinese influence that has been incorporated into the local cuisine.
From the grilled skewers section we chose:
Chicken wings in panca chilli with mandarin juice and rocoto pepper jam. Mr Silver loves a good chicken wing!! I really appreciate the way Morales includes authentic South American ingredients, the rocoto pepper being a species of pepper found primarily in that region.
Grilled marinated salmon pieces with sweet cucumber and rocoto pepper pickle salad.
These were my favourite thing! Just slightly rare on the inside, the cooking was perfect and the cucumber salad was a great accompaniment, giving a cool crunch.
Main courses were:
Paiche fish steamed in a banana leaf with panca chilli, plantain and root vegetables. Paiche fish is native to the river Amazon in Brazil.
Diver caught scallops, locuma puree with aji lime and thyme. Locuma is a subtropical fruit native to Peru, although I love that Morales uses authentic Peruvian ingredients, I found the addition of the fruit, that tasted like a sweet potato, made the dish a little sickly and we both preferred the paiche fish main course.
After lunch we walked to Soho House for a warming cup of coffee and home made cookies. It was a bright day so we decided to walk off the food in Soho Square.
Another successful Saturday Soho Lunch Club! We both loved Ceviche and way Martin Morales brings Peru to Soho. The flavours of his food are clean and fresh, I’m so glad that the cuisine has come to London, I hope it stays for good.
17 Frith Street
020 7292 2040