COYA City a Peruvian restaurant launches the ultimate Friday night experience with live music to attract diners to the City.

COYA is a Peruvian fusion restaurant that blends together gastronomy, art, music and culture to create an ambiance that promises to transport guests straight to the soul of Latin America.

As Latin America still comfortably sits on my travel bucketlist I can’t guarantee that COYA does that, but its tasteful décor and piquant dishes certainly create a special ‘out of London’ atmosphere.

Like COYA Mayfair COYA City also infuses its own piscos on premises at the Pisco Bar. The large jars can be seen all around the bar, it’s a cold infusion that takes a few weeks.

Both locations share some similar flavours, as well as ones unique to each bar such as Mango & Chilli, Pineapple & Tonka and Basil & Liqorice in COYA City. I already mentioned that I was fond of their piscos here.

Well I wasn’t let down, the bartenders in the City are just as talented and quick mixing in the frothy Strawberry Macerado. It’s so airy with just the right amount of pisco and a delicate strawberry notes on the tounge and nose.  

There is a reason we are visiting COYA City on a Friday evening, and not any other day of the week. And that’s because of their new Friday night experience starting at 7:30.

Diners can enjoy live music with artists singing popular classics to guests’ delight. It’s a great touch, while most Londoners flock to choked Soho and Chelsea, the City becomes a rather wonderful area with just the right amount of crowd.

That’s because that crowd knows a little secret about the City establishments. Many now offer weekend entertainment or attractively priced set menus with, above all, far less bustle.

We were amongst that knowledgeable stream enjoying our meal for two. Starting with seconds-fresh guacamole.

The dish begins with just two halves of an avocado and sauces in the hollow part of the pit space.

The server swiftly mixes the content into a creamy guacamole with just two spoons, for such result the avocadoes of course have to be perfectly ripe.

The guacamole is served in a black stone mortar ( very Inca style) and crisp yellow corn tortilla discs, no blue corn this time sadly.  

We are told there is an issue with the delivery from Latin America of the blue nixtamised corn flour.

As we take turns scooping up the fresh guacamole from the pot, our hot starters are here. First, it’s Anticuchos marinated chargrilled chicken skewers.  

Anticuchos were traditionally made with inexpensive cuts of meat such as beef heart in Antisuyu region but nowadays they can be made from premium cuts of meat too. Ours is a very delicate juicy fillet of soy chicken.

We can’t fault anticuchos, they’re wonderful, so are the pulled pork buns, served with chipotle and creola salsa. A little bit on the spicy side for me, but I work through it. 

It’ll be criminal not to, only a bite size and quite cute looking, the buns are soft and bouncy with an overwhelming meat filling.

Next are some fish dishes from the crudo section – salmon ceviche on a compelling pepper and a tomato like sauce bed, which surprisingly works well together. It’s a little tangy but sweetness and density of the salmon sets it well, a satisfying umami dish.

Followed by ceviche de atun with soy and sesame oil, a pairing I would normally highly welcome, this is a little disappointing primarily because it’s a little too acidic and way too spicy over shadowing the tuna.

The mains like with the Mayfair COYA were are the signature Arroz Nikkei Chilliean seabass with rice, lime and aji amarillo. As the name suggests the special yellow pepper turns the rice yellow. We were both looking forward to this dish after our previous visit.

It’s creamy with an ideal hint of spice and skillfully cooked flaky seabass. If you are in COYA this should be your absolute must paired with one of the piscos of course.

The evening is completed by a superb dessert Tres Leches – milky cloud light sweet sponge filled with dulce de leche caramel and a quality vanilla ice cream scoop. It’s absolutely flawless combining various textures and temperatures, the cake is warm while ice cream is slowly melting soaking into the sponge.

Next time you want to take your plus one or friends out on a Friday night don’t go for the overcrowding instead head for some Arroz Nikkei and Tres Leches at the City.   

COYA City, 31-33 Throgmorton St, London EC2N 2AT