From bottomless prosecco to pressed juices, Tatler cover worthy feasts, to the local’s egg benedict with a two lump cuppa, London’s brunch culture has become a phenomenon.
The COYA venture has grown strength- to-strength, boasting a portfolio in some of the most enviable and affluent locations including Bank, Dubai, Monaco, not to mention the Apres Ski-style pop-up in Gstaad and the Summer 2020 opening in Mykonos.
A few moments from Green Park station, ready for brunch, I was walking up the steps of 118 Piccadilly into a chocolate wooded entrance housing a lavish crystal chandelier. I headed down to the Pisco Bar and lounge where the in-house resident DJ was livening the atmosphere with beats of house and tempo.
The infectious party atmosphere rapidly turned up a bar with Perrier-Jouet champagne in full flow and Pisco Sours on the shake with the bartenders in competitive shake-off battles. Hot canapés did the rounds including mini tacos loaded with fresh seafood or hearty seasoned vegetables. The winners though were the herbed and lightly spiced chicken antichucos (skewers), moist and practically melting off the stick. The ox heart antichucos were a surprising second, tender with a hint of sweet, sticky marinade.
The Latin American style interiors were entwined with a Mayfair money stamp of electric blue walls, wooden flooring, leather sofas and traditional painted murals, complete with pendant lighting. The star attraction was the wood-blocked, marble-topped Pisco Bar, blending traditional South American culture with a flair of seductive latino spice. Aquamarine cushioned stools took their place around the bar with a side stone water feature and the piece de resistance, a backlit display of the some of the most exclusive rare piscos and tequilas you’d have laid your eyes and lips on.
We were ushered into the open plan restaurant seated on a tapestry matted round table aligned with rich gold velvet chairs. A few sips of our topped-up flutes, and an array of exquisitely presented starters arrived of spicy crackers and fresh bread served with homemade guacamole. This was followed by four coloured stone bowls of yellowfin tuna, salmon, kingfish and mix vegetable ceviche resting on a crushed ice bed scattered on a mosaic stone platter finished with a centred COYA engraved ice block. The colours from the seafood were unbelievably vibrant with each dish a flavoursome experience. The yellowfin tuna was brought to life with Asian flavours of soy and sesame, the kingfish in a rich creamy truffle oil with chopped chives, and the sushi style salmon with hints of wasabi and ginger in celery juice. All were accompanied with sides of mixed bean salad, sweet corn and crispy goats cheese and potato croquettes.
Starters over, the restaurant lights dimmed as staff danced their way to each table with wooden block trays of sparklers and surprise shots of a high content tequila concoction mixed with fruity sour notes.
Main courses were the signature dishes of Arroz Nikkei (rice and sea bass) and Lomos de Res (spicy beef), with sides of spiced broccoli and eggplant. The beef cooked to medium rare was tender with juices oozing through the smoky charcoal grilled flavours of sticky spicy pepper and star anise, finished off with fine shreds of lightly fried shallots. The spotlight, however, belonged to the Arroz Nikkei, flaky meaty chunks of Chilean sea bass marrying into the rice bursting with flavours of garlic and chilli, with a twist of fresh lime. Whilst not a particular standout, the broccoli provided some needed greens to the table as the grilled eggplant skewers hit the spot.
The waiters arrived bottle-in-hand for another champagne top up, insistent to mix up a concoction from the cocktails on offer of Pisco Sours, Margaritas and Mojito. Eventually I settled for an ice cold Mojito generously loaded with fresh mint and white rum.
The music dimmed down a notch as hip swaying carnival tunes blasted the air and two gorgeous dancers magically appeared. The female dancer mesmerised the room in a bright costume adorned with crystals and feather jewelled headpieces. The party had well and truly started as the staff sashayed their way through, hands in the air pulling up the guests to mingle and match the performers effortless snake-like moves.
Rounding off the menu was an Instagram worthy, mosaic dessert platter of hot crispy churros and chocolate sauce, cold passionfruit Creme Brûlée, coconut balls, mini pastries and exotic fruits finished off with espresso shots. With its light sugar-dusted batter the churros blew away any competition. A very close second, the Creme Brûlée was lighter on the stomach, and the pastries were a delight.
Just when I thought the party would wind down we were led back to the Pisco Bar to find the DJ in his element, cocktails on the shake and the bar staff pulling a dance move or two. The Perrier-Jouet came to a stop by the afternoon though the cocktails continued to flow effortlessly until late afternoon.
Whilst one of the more expensive brunches at £150 per person, COYA takes the crown for the best brunch experience with its beautiful venue, mouth-watering menu and all round seven-star experience. For an annual fee you are also able to enjoy the exclusive comforts of COYA’s member’s club at the Mayfair and Dubai locations, allowing you late night access, complimentary events, bespoke dishes and VIP bookings. Whether a birthday celebration, girl’s day out or romantic date, dust off your glad rags, pick up your invitation and make your way to London’s hottest brunch party.
Review by Anuja Gaur
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