Brunch has long since been institutionalised in the weekend agenda of Londoners, with no dearth of options for our Sunday fix of pancakes, hollandaise and Bloody Mary’s.
But while this weekend tradition is usually reserved for the morning after a big night out on the town – there’s a new brunch in town which culminates into a full-fledged party in itself. A steady supply of Pisco sours are involved too, this being Coya Mayfair after all…
It all starts at precisely 12pm, when Coya’s colourfully-vibrant Pisco Lounge opens its doors to guests for 90 minutes of bottomless champagne and cocktails.
Made with Peru’s signature spirit pisco (distilled from wine or fermented fruit juice), egg white, bitters and lime juice – the fabulously-frothy Pisco Sours are a splendid way to set upon the afternoon, as we drink in the Peruvian-inspired aesthetics of the lounge too. Canapés – including pumpkin tacos intricately textured with soft cheese and pumpkin seeds – make their rounds, but we do well by saving room for the main event…
The open bar closes at 1.30p.m., with revellers making their way into the main dining area. The rustic, sun-drenched setting is an unlikely but effective canvas for contemporary works of pop-art, curated by the neighbouring gallery, Imitate Modern.
Nikkei – a fusion of Japanese and Peruvian cuisines – is at the heart of Coya’s menu, reflecting the centuries-old influence of Japanese immigrants who found their way to this South American country. Set dishes as part of the brunch include mini bowls of ceviche (cured fish) and tiradito (Peruvian sashimi), piled high around the table at the centre. Astonishingly-zingy salads also occupy pride of place – each bursting with fresh and unfettered flavours, paying homage to Peruvian staples.
The corn salad showcases a spectrum of this cereal grain, featuring three different types of corn (crispy cancha, choclo or white corn, and sweet corn!); while quinoa hums with mint, coriander and a sweet dash of tamarind. There’s kale as well, elevated by generous additions of candied walnuts, dried cranberries and buttery manchego cheese. Guac is prepared table-side, seasoned with that most moreish chilli sauce, aji amarilllo.
As for the main dish, the choice is between a selection of cazeulas (or iron pots), featuring meat or seafood (Chilean sea bass). There’s a worthy veggie option too, which manifests as a creamy risotto layered with cauliflower, baby artichokes and pickled onions. It’s a gloriously satisfying affair, the sort that you might want to take a nap after… There’s no chance of that though.
Blink and the lights have dimmed, the tone changing to the high-octane soundtrack set by the saxophonist who joins in as we dance around the tables and down the coffee-laced shots handed out by the perky staff. It’s not unlike the party-going brunch scene in the Bagatelle’s of New York.
As though the afternoon couldn’t get any more buoyant, the buffet changes to one laden with desserts – from dense bites of chocolate tinged with dulce de leche, to creamy profiteroles and a lush lemon and passionfruit cheesecake!
And so the afternoon carries on in merry revelry – the fleeting sight of boots and buses passing by on Piccadilly, the only brief reminder of the world we’re by now far removed from. Service is as impeccable as it is friendly, with the effusive energy of the servers proving endearingly-infectious!
If you’re looking to shake things up on a Saturday, Coya Mayfair is certainly a fab place to start.
COYA Mayfair, 118 Piccadilly, W1J 7NW.
More details on the weekend brunch, here.