18 Charlotte St, W1T
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WHAT AND WHERE? This was one of the first restaurants to surf the great Peruvian wave of 2014. Owner Harry Edmeades fell in love with the cuisine on his travels, worked in a few kitchens in Lima, then set up a pop-up in London. He opened his first restaurant in Carnabys Kingly Court and a second outpost in Fitzrovia last year.
WHATS THE DEAL? The Lunch Special is a bargainous £17 per person for three courses. Rather like a tasting menu, the chef devises a series of small sharing plates for the table.
WHATS ON THE MENU? If you havent a clue about Peru, this is a great place to start as there are TWO signature ceviches to try, as well as some beautifully marinated hunks of meat. Though the online menu promised cheesecake, we were presented with a sizeable dulce de leche creme brulee. There are also pisco sours, of course.
WHATS THE BEST? Both ceviches were served at the same time as the snacky para picar plates, complementing the crispy cubes of sticky pork belly with mouthfuls of sharp, citrus seafood. For our money, the simple Nikkei Ceviche – tuna and seabass with a hit of sweet tigers milk – was the best, but the mushroom-packed gyoza on the side didnt bring much to the Peruvian party. The same could be said of the sweet potato fries that came with the main, a procession of delicately sliced steak, cooked to order and dabbed with a vibrant chilli and pickled shiitake mushroom relish. The creme brulees accompaniment on the other hand, a pineapple and shiso granita, was a stone cold success.
BUSINESS OR PLEASURE? Its a great place to showcase Londons cosmopolitan vibe to visitors. Quite apart from being sociable, the lunch menu manages to be both great value for money and just the right amount of food. Remember, kids, business shouldnt leave you bloated.
NEED TO BOOK? Youll be able to walk up during the week, but book through OpenTable at senor-ceviche.com for a Friday lunch. Ask for a seat outside on a nice day as it can get a bit gloomy inside.
THE VERDICT… Decidedly unshowy, Senor Ceviche is modern dining at its most relaxed and friendly. Plus, its hard to beat for value, variety and speedy service.