17 Frith Street, Soho, W1D 4RG
Nearest tube: Tottenham Court Road
020 7292 2040
Ceviche and Lima are the dual prongs in Peruvian cuisine’s attack on the London food scene. Lima is the slightly more polished wannabee “bib gourmand” elder sibling whilst Ceviche is the trendier, skinny-jeaned younger brother. The interior design is by Schneider Designers and it is very cool: with South American movie posters, bright custom-made tiles and funky lamps. Ceviche has received mixed reviews since it opened amid a lot of buzz in February – many bloggers and critics have praised the ceviches and skewers but criticised their Peruvian “classics” like Lomo Saltado (a take on steak and chips). We started with cocktails at the Pisco bar – their Pisco sour was nowhere near as good as what I sampled in Peru – the Pisco tasted more like Tequila than the real thing.
We started a selection of four ceviches between the two of us (ceviche is fresh fish or prawns cured in lime juice with tomatoes – called tiger’s milk – for around half a day until they are cooked through). Don Ceviche (£7) was a simple seabass ceviche with red onions, the fish had a strong fresh flavour and was not overpowered by the tiger’s milk. Mackerel and Gooseberry Tiradito (£7) used good quality mackerel but the gooseberry flavour was barely detectable, it was topped with pecan nuts which added a nice crunch. Barranco I love you (£7) was also seabass based, again the quality of fish was good and it was nicely dressed with baby basil leaves.
Our final choice, Drunk scallops was a bit more expensive at £11 but well worth it – the scallops were large and thickly sliced, the marinade contained a hint of Pisco and the dish was finished with fresh coriander and pomegranate seeds. All the ceviches were well executed but they were not very large (containing around 150g of fish on each plate) and they needed to be served with something crunchy eg popcorn, banana chips or roasted corn, as they do in Ecuador and Peru. We also had a Quinoa salad (£4.50) to accompany our ceviches – the Quinoa was well cooked so it still had a bit of bite. The beef heart skewer (£5) was very tasty, and it seemed more like beef fillet than heart (albeit with a bit more chew). Although this sounds like a lot of food we were still hungry after it all (and with our wallets over £40 lighter). So to fill our empty tummies we had the Brownie Peruano (£5) a chocolate and pecan brownie with cinnamon ice cream. It was very tasty but an extremely simple dish.
Ceviche is very stylish and it has a great buzz – I would visit at lunchtime and fill up on their ceviches, avoiding the rest of the menu.