Category: Bistro (Â£Â£+)
I had Peruvian food only at a few occasions and enjoyed it a lot, so I was excited to meet my friend Uyen at Ceviche for a girly lunch.
Contrary to our expectations, our experience at Ceviche felt like entire kitchen crew went off to the pub and left the kitchen help and the girl who washes the dishes to fend on their own. I strongly suspect that this must have been the case considering the wealth of positive reviews that Ceviche has received since its opening. Out of the 7 dishes we tried, only 2 passed the mark, 4 were undistinguished and 1 actually disgusting.
I was intrigued by the vegetarian ceviche ChacalÃ³n (Â£5.25); unfortunately this dish was a very boring and massively overpriced (considering it was tiny and only cheap vegetables were used). The marinade tasted the same as in Don Ceviche and its overwhelmingly acidity screamed for something sweet for balance.
Very tasty with finally the right balance of sour, sweet and spicy and by far the best of the savoury dishes was the Ensalada de Quinoa (Â£3.75) and this also was the only dish which seemed worth its price. White quinoa was mixed with tomatoes, onions, and coriander and arranged on a bed of ripe and creamy avocado. Together with the slightly sweet marinade it tasted heavenly. The only let down was the fact that the quinoa was severely undercooked.
The main courses were frankly a joke. We tried one of the dishes that illustrate the Chinese influence in Peru, resulting in a culinary movement called Chifa. Chicken TallarÃn Saltado (Â£7.75), wok cooked chicken, pasta noodles and vegetables in Chifa saltado sauce consisted of very few dried up pieces of chicken mixed with pasta, onions, mushrooms and peppers in a bland sauce that faintly tasted of soy. All we craved for when half-heartedly picking at this dish, was a plate of cheap Chinese fried noodles which would at least offer some more interesting vegetables and a flavourful sauce.
Almost inedible and so overpriced it hurt was the Arroz con Pato Confit duck (Â£11.50). A tasteless, dry and fatty piece of bird was, as if to hide it, covered by a limp and greasy piece of duck skin. The rice was better: supposedly cooked in dark beer and scattered with pieces of choclo corn (very pale and humongous) I would have loved the enjoy it with a better piece of meat on top. We didn’t even eat half of it.
When we complained about the quality of the duck dish, our lovely waiter offered us 2 desserts on the house.
The Encanelado de Pisco (Â£4.75) was delicious. A sponge with a subtle cinnamon taste was topped with a sweet, sticky and caramelly syrup and came with the most beautiful dulce de leche ice cream. Oh I wish all the food at Ceviche would have had similarly gorgeous flavours!
The Chocolate mousse with guanabana cream (Â£5.50) was an old boring chocolate mousse, nothing more and nothing less.
Apart from the food, Ceviche is a nice place and it certainly succeeds in bringing some of the Peruvian culture to London. The service was professional, friendly and good. We didn’t try the Pisco Sours, but other people have enjoyed them a lot and they might be a reason to pop by.
I really don’t know now if I was just very unlucky when I visited Ceviche, it the food is genuinely bad or if I just don’t like Peruvian food. I think I will have to try Lima when it opens in June to find out!
- Food: 4/10
- Ambiance: 6/10
- Service: 8/10
- Value for Money: 3/10
- Chances of Returning: 0%
- Verdict: this might be the one of the hippest places going at the moment, but the food is rubbish.
17 Frith Street, London
W1D 4RG, 020 72922040