Ceviche has taken Soho by storm. Whenever we walk past this Peruvian restaurant on Frith street it’s always packed. We took advantage of the Olympic fever and went on the weekend of the Opening Ceremony and it was empty – along with every other restaurant in Soho.
We chose to sit in the restaurant out the back as opposed to the ceviche bar at the front by the entrance. Even though we were presented with a restaurant that was a quarter full we were plonked right in the middle of two couples – don’t you hate it when that happens? The woman next to me tutted as she moved her shopping bags from under my seat. Feeling unloved and unwanted we pleaded with our waiter to move to another seat (preferably not squished next to anyone) and he kindly obliged – as long as we didn’t stay longer than an hour – charming!
The menu was presented on a large single laminated page which reminded me of TGI Friday’s. As neither myself nor my gentleman companion are familiar with Peruvian food, some guidance on the menu would have been helpful, but our waiter didn’t seem too keen on chatting. This resulted in our ordering the least exciting dishes on the menu – which seemed a shame.
Ceviche recommends that you order three or four savoury dishes per person. We ordered five between us with the view of ordering more if we were enticed. However we were not!
Chacalon from the ceviche bar was a ceviche of sweet potato, button mushrooms, clementine, tiger’s milk and limo chili (£6). Raw red onion and mushroom were the only flavours we could detect in this dish and it lacked seasoning.
Corazon from the grilled skewers section of the menu was tender beef heart marinated in panca chili, anticucho sauce with choclo corn (£5). I’ve never had beef heart before and it was delicious – beautifully tender and served pink. The creamy garlic sauce soothed the heat from the chili. We liked this a lot.
From the ‘classic favourites’ section we ordered Lomo Saltado which was cooked thick slices of beef fillet, red onions, tomatoes and “our Saltado sauce” (£12.50). The beef was pleasant enough and fairly tender but nothing out of the ordinary. It was served alongside some soggy chips which didn’t impress. The dish didn’t look particularly attractive and did nothing for our tastebuds either.
Some Arrocito which is long grain rice with Peruvian choclo corn (£2.75) was completely void of flavour. It just tasted of boiled rice. The choclo corn which featured in three of the five dishes we ordered was something we’d never eaten before and had the texture of a pomegranate seed which was intriguing.
Our final dish was chicken marinated in Amarillo chili with a red and yellow beetroot salad (£6.75). We found the chicken dry and bland yet the beetroot salad underneath was so sharp and tangy it was inedible.
Our visit to Ceviche wasn’t dire, but wasn’t a particularly enjoyable experience either. We expected food with bold punchy flavours – instead we found plain looking and plain tasting dishes. It didn’t break the bank but for £37.13 for five dishes – and nothing to drink – we felt our money could have been better spent elsewhere.