Let’s play a game of word association. If I say ‘brunch’, chances are you’ll probably say… eggs? Brunch became a London restaurant staple faster than you can say hollandaise, but if it had one drawback…? They’re all getting a bit similar. Runny eggs on toasted muffins with ham? Salmon? Spinach? Don’t get me wrong, I love it, but seen one brunch, seen ’em all. And another thing? We sit in front of eggs and chosen accompaniment, sipping coffee (a mimosa if you’re lucky), and it’s all become a bit void of fun. So it was inevitable that places would start to mix things up, inject a blast of vibrancy into proceedings, and bring something new to the table: literally. And so enter COYA Mayfair. Their brand spanking new ‘party brunch’, split into 3 sections (drinks & nibbles, then food, then disco) is set to redefine the notion of brunch in London. So on a chilly December lunchtime, we were primed and ready to swap eggs for ceviche, coffee for champagne, and sausages for steak.
This sultry Peruvian lair is found on one of London’s most upmarket stretches, Piccadilly, and on arrival we descend the stairway to their pulsating bar. It’s only just eking into the afternoon, but DJs are already on the decks, pumping the bass through the room, the drinks are a-flowing, and trays of taquitos glide through the room. There’s a choice of Veuve Clicquot champagne, Bloody Mary or the classic Peruvian cocktail: pisco sour. We sip on a mix of beautifully chilled bubbles and freshly blended cocktails, served real-deal, with a frothy egg-white topping. The bar is bursting with Day of the Dead-style decoration: animal skulls suspended over the bar in golden cages, piled-high fruit displays, and jars of spirits filled with colourful pickling fruits. With its perfectly pitched mix of quirkiness and luxury, this place wouldn’t be out of place in the heart of Lima.
Sipping the last of our drinks, we head into the main dining room. Huge arches of flowers offset the moodily lit space, and the tables encircle a majestic central buffet, laid with South American-style textiles. There are individual bowls set on ice and filled with dressed ceviche, salads and colourful grains we’re free to pick from in the centre of the room, while our tables are ready set with a gorgeously ripe, seasoned and dressed avocado, that’s smashed into guacamole by our waiter in a huge stone bowl. We spread this onto warm bread, and nibble on salty tossed corn kernels.
Platters make their way round the room: gorgeously squishy steamed buns with sticky-sweet pork and mushroom fillings, plus beautifully tender and rich ox heart yakitori. It was super tempting to keep picking at everything, but this was actually just the ‘starter’ section of the meal. We wouldn’t have believed you if you’d told us the best was to come when we were chomping through slippery, gorgeously fresh salmon and tuna ceviche, but it really was…
For the main event, we’re bowled over by beautifully pink and juicy steak, served with a punchy garlic salsa verde and crispy chips. Sides included tenderstem broccoli with just the right amount of bite, and smoky chargrilled corn.
Next, flaky sea bass with crispy skin, served atop marinated pink fir potatoes and with thin slivers of radish.
Staying true to the party theme, there’s the most upbeat of musical interludes, served with a mini espresso martini… The lights go down, the music up, and enter the bongos. Being up dancing is seemingly mandatory: those who were earlier whizzing round with trays are now stood in windows and on banquettes, body-popping to the beat. It’s safe to say there’s nothing else like this in London, and it’s a pretty special experience.
We head back to the buffet for dessert: zingy tropical fruits and little cups of passion fruit mousse with honeycomb and salted caramel.
We challenge you to find a more fun, exhilarating way to get your brunch fix in London, and for £65, this experience is a party for the pennies as well as the palate. You’ll get your eggs, but get ready to have them in a pisco sour, rather than on a muffin… We promise you’ll be happy with the swap.
118 Piccadilly, London, W1J 7NW