A night out on the town can be a rare occasion for us mamas these days (how many of you have had sick children recently; we certainly have!) so when the opportunity arises to venture away from home on a sacred date with the husband, I, for one, am definitely looking for something special and exciting to experience. Drum roll please…
Introducing Coya, the newest offering from Arjun Waney (known for his successes at Zuma of course), located in the restaurant village of Four Seasons on Jumeirah Beach Road. Coya offers traditional Peruvian dishes with a contemporary twist and has already been bookmarked as one of the hottest new restaurants in the city. Well let’s face it ladies, Peruvian food is all the rage at the moment and furthermore, Coya’s London chain has unquestionably made a name for itself with our friends back home! Be prepared to literally teleport to South America with this one though; from the moment you step through the front door you can feel the spirit of this country before you’ve even sat at your table.
Having never travelled to this subcontinent, I was eager to not only taste the delights from the region but also to learn more about the specialties. On entering the new eatery, I was presented with an interior that was vibrant and bright. When I really looked around I could see lots of colour. The Pisco Bar offered a relaxed way to catch up with friends and was very inviting. Note to self: I must fit in time for cocktail hour on my next visit! An impressive corridor of bottles and colonial artifacts then led through to the dining area which seats 189 people and comes complete with 3 live cooking stations dotted around the room (a Ceviche bar, an open charcoal grill and a central kitchen). The décor is staged with elements of traditional Peru, complemented with a touch of colonial South America adding a modern feel. Very tastefully executed indeed!
As we were seated at our table I honestly started to feel like I was in a different country. Even the staff did not disappoint, and as our waiter started to explain the menu (with the ever popular sharing concept in play, which is certainly the craze these days) I began to relax into what I knew would be a well-deserved treat.
To start with we chose 2 ceviches (the Peruvian national dish) and watched salivating, as they were prepared in front of us at one of the live cooking stations. The classica dish, which is the closest to a traditional ceviche, was delicious. The contrasting textures throughout were spot on, with crunchy corn sitting next to soft sea bass and squares of sweet potato. The second dish, combining red snapper, truffle, ponzu and chives, ended up being my favourite dish of the entire meal. The fish literally melted in your mouth and the whole dish had the perfect balance of flavours.
We also tried a tiraditos entree, which resembles a Japanese sashimi. The yellow tail tuna was sliced very thinly and was sitting in a green chilli sauce with a mound of crunchy radish ribbons on top. Last but by no means least, our waiter had recommended the corn salad with sweet onions and red chilli’s, which completed a rather gluttonous array of appetizers.
Onto the small plates (as they call it) where we were presented with 2 different types of anticuchos (a fancy name for grilled skewers) and a bowl of chilli and lime squid, both of which made for a delightful mid course. At this point I have to admit to be slightly smug that I had chosen to wear loose trousers today. Whilst the portions are sharing size, I was definitely starting to wonder if we really should have ordered 2 mains!
Stealing the show (for main course at least) was the spicy beef fillet, which was one of the most succulent pieces of meat I had ever tasted. This was served with a side of grilled asparagus and patatas bravas (a plate of crispy deliciousness!) with a spicy tomato and huancaina sauce. We also tried one of the signature dishes at Coya, the Chilean sea bass hot pot, which featured delicate white fish (that flaked like black cod) and fragrant rice with accents of lime and chilli.
To round off what was a spectacular meal, we finished off with 2 lovely puds and a round of cappuccinos. The Peruvian purple corn colada, with passion fruit and strawberry was fresh and light, so there was definitely enough space in the tum for that one, and the chocolate pud… well sometimes you just have to make indulge a little bit mamas! All the D’s come to mind – decadent, divine, and downright delicious.
Coya is open for lunch and dinner, but you must book in advance, as it is very popular. It undoubtedly ticked every box for me, from the fun and lively atmosphere to the mouthwatering food on the menu. I honestly believe every mama should be treated to a date at this Peruvian haven. I still find myself drooling at the thought of every single dish I tried (no joke!) and fantasizing about the ones I didn’t. It comes as no surprise I’m sure when I say Coya is firmly situated in the high end dining category and will set you back a fair wedge of your weekly spend, but the culinary experience is worth every dirham you pay, and well, in the words of one of the world’s biggest cosmetics giant, “Because you’re worth it!”.
Coya, Restaurant Village, Four Seasons Resort, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 2, Dubai, (+971) (0) 4 316 9600, www.coyarestaurant.com