It’s no secret that Peruvian is this year’s foodie trend, but that doesn’t mean it’s old news just yet. Sasha Arms visits Ceviche in the heart of Soho to investigate further.
There’s no shortage of restaurants to choose from on Frith Street, but none have that steamy Latin vibrancy of Ceviche. One reason it’s so hot and humid inside is that Ceviche is small and seemingly always busy. Pass by the corridor-like bar where Pisco Sours rule the roost and you’ll find yourself in a buzzing room adorned with Peruvian kitsch. It’s not the first restaurant that’s adopted the bang on-trendiness of framed black and white photos and retro posters from the country of origin, but that’s not to say it doesn’t work. In fact, you 100% feel like you’re in a Latin American ceviche bar, albeit in a slightly more polished version than is typical of our Latin friends.
Dining at Ceviche is very much a Peruvian-style tapas affair. As you’d hope, the best thing on the menu here is the ceviche. This time around we went for Don Ceviche – melt in your mouth seabass in aji Amarillo chilli tiger’s milk, aji limo chilli and red onions. The freshest fish you’ve ever tasted marinated in a dressing that couldn’t have got the combination of kick, citrus zest and creaminess any more perfect. If I could relive the meal I would have ordered three of these (or perhaps ventured out and tried one of the other five fish ceviches on the menu.
The tequeños – white cheese deep fried fritters – embody a heart attack waiting to happen, but are too good to resist. Grilled skewers of steak and chicken are good, but it’s the Poplo – braised octopus marinated in aji panca chilli with chorizo chunks that wins the day. Tender octopus alongside the meaty chorizo kick is an underused pairing, and served alongside a potato mini cake and anticuchera olive sauce is true heaven. This is a restaurant that is synonymous with all things fresh, and the salads and sides are another victory. Try the Ensalada de Quinoa, which comes with white quinoa, tomatoes, avocado, butter beans, coriander and rocoto chilli vinaigrette.
A meal at Ceviche offers one of the healthiest meals you can get in town, made more attractive by the very fact it doesn’t don itself as a faddish foodie heaven for those on a diet. Of course, if one
Pisco Sour isn’t enough and the desserts are too tempting (the Encanelado de Pisco – a cinnamon sponge soaked in Pisco syrup and served with artisan dulce de leche ice cream got me this time), then the goodness of the ceviche and other low carb, nutritionally rich menu items will dissipate somewhat. But with all the buzz of the fiesta (complete with the apparently hilarious Peruvian talk show being played in the bathrooms), you’ll quickly forget your sins. At Ceviche, life is for living, and quite rightly too.