COYA’s latest City opening offers stunning and memorable food but, be warned, a Square Mile price tag to match
Review by Geoffey Leadwell
COYA Angel Court, in Bank, is the sister restaurant of COYA Mayfair. Inside it’s big – it seats 94. The decor is concept heavy; lots of faux-Peruvian mirrors/patterns/carvings. The bespoke chairs are lime green and match the plastic plants ‘growing’ on the wall. There’s an iron gate which leads to the bar. Tables are squeezed in, although on the Monday we visit clientele are sparse.
Despite (or perhaps because of) this, the numerous staff are friendly and attentive. They whisk away unused wine glasses. We drop a spoon and they replace it. A delicious fresh guacamole is made at the table, an inspired touch. Their other recommendations and advice are extremely helpful.
We order a lot. Following the guacamole we get ceviche: classic sea bass with red onion and white corn is delicious; by contrast, the yellowfin tuna with soy is too salty – the soy just slightly too strong and overpowering, which is a shame. But another take on yellowfin – thinly sliced and served with green chilli and radish – is beautifully light and delicate – a perfect compliment to our Pisco based cocktails.
Other notable dishes include the Ox heart skewers, both tender and rich, and the insanely good rib eye steak, cooked in the josper oven at 400 degrees C. It is melt in the mouth tender, run through with fat, and so well-seasoned it had me doubled over with pleasure. Undoubtedly the highlight of the meal.
The drinks list was narrow: a handful of reds and whites, and a cocktail list focussed on Pisco. Some of the cocktails were incredible, most notably the Aji Margarita, made with chilli infused Pisco, apple and avocado. But others were sweetly bland, and lacking in variety. The popcorn sour was the most ridiculous, made with popcorn infused Laphroaig and with actual popcorn floating in it – it felt like silly conceptual dining with little culinary value.
But subtlety is perhaps not COYA’s forte – flavours are bold and strong; dishes are all heavy in serious protein – steak; octopus; ox heart; crab; prawn; seabass; tuna. All of them bang the table to make themselves heard. There is no light relief. Even a simple side dish of asparagus has a heavy smokiness which swirls straight to the stomach. After a while it begins to overwhelm.
There is clear and obvious skill however, in the execution of all this. The octopus and steak, the fish, are all cooked to perfection – tender and juicy with crisp flavourful edges. Yet after some calculations, we figure out our meal would have come to around £400 for two and wonder if this is good value for money. Even if you ate frugally, choosing less pricey options, you could still eat £200 of food between two.
Clearly COYA Mayfair, Dubai and now Angel Court, is aiming to entice customers wealthy enough to feel unconcerned about dropping close to half a grand in a Peruvian theme restaurant. If you’re a customer who doesn’t need to look at the bill then I would certainly recommend this place. But I’ve had better, more soulful food for less, and despite the very helpful staff and some stunningly cooked dishes, COYA leaves a lingering aftertaste in the mouth – of a novelty restaurant for the super wealthy.
Enquiries: COYA Angel Court, 31 – 33 Throgmorton Street, London EC2N 2AT / 0203 9070000 / www.coyarestaurant.com/menu/angel-court/overview