A friend of mine has set up a brilliant idea called “Secret Friday Feasts,” which is organised through Whatsapp. It started with a relatively small group of friends but has expanded as more people have added their friends to the group.
How does “Secret Friday Feasts” work?
The idea is that every 6 weeks someone will host and book a restauarant for 15 people. They will then announce a few weeks in advance that the table is open and the first 15 people who say yes get a seat. Only the host knows where the group is eating and will announce the restaurant at the pre-drink location which is shared a few days in advance. It’s so simple but it is fun and gets you meeting new people.
On Friday I went to my first “Secret Friday Feast.” We started at the John Snow pub in Soho, which has incredibly affordable alcohol for London. It was here that the host announced that we were going to a Peruvian restaurant called Señor Ceviche. I had never tried Peruvian food before so I was intrigued to see what they would offer for vegans. I’d heard that South American food is quite meaty, however the host assured me that they had a vegan menu, which was perfect. Sometimes I feel like I have the most incredible friends. They’d taken care of my dietary requirements without me even having to ask.
About Señor Ceviche
Señor Ceviche is the brainchild of Harry Edmeades. In 2012, after working at Lima’s renowned ceviche restaurant El Mercado, the British chef returned to London and started Don Ceviche, a pop-up which became very popular. He spent a further two years perfecting his craft and expanding his menu before finding a permanent home in Kingly Court.
Where to find Señor Ceviche
If you haven’t heard of Kingly Court then you’re one of many. It’s easy to miss as you stroll down Carnaby Street. You’ll find Kingly Court at the opposite end to Liberty’s, fronting onto Ganton Street to the North and Carnaby Street to the East. This courtyard has become a Mecca for foodies with restaurants such as Pizza Pilgrims, Rum Kitchen and Cinnamon Soho spread over three floors. The courtyard is vibrant and has become a bustling food hub, perfect for meeting with friends.
Interior and atmosphere
The interior layout and decor of Señor Ceviche transmits the vibe of Barranco, which is an increasingly bohemian district of Lima. The restaurant has graffitti walls, bright tiles and colourful cushions, which transport you to somewhere much more tropical than London.
The restaurant had a relaxed vibe with upbeat music playing in the background, but not too loud that you couldn’t have a conversation with those on your table.
What I ate at Señor Ceviche
We all had a set menu for £30pp with mine being vegan. I was pleasantly surprised by how many dishes there were – six in total – with every single one of them sounding delicious. I couldn’t wait to tuck in.
Luckily we didn’t have to wait for long and the first dish to arrive was the Colifor Quemado (burnt cauliflower with aji limo and piquillo pepper salsa and sesame tofu cream). This dish was delicious. The cauliflower was tender with a nice charred taste to it and the sesame tofu cream was like nothing I had tasted before. I wish that I could bottle it and take it home with me.
The second dish to arrive was the BBQ Jerusalem Artichoke (grilled Jerusalem artichoke and samphire ceviche with aji amarillo tiger’s milk and confit tomato). I had heard that Peruvian food was known to be citrus-y and this was exactly that. It was beautifully put together with the crunchiness of the samphire complimenting the zesty sauce.
The third dish was the Grilled Baby Aubergine (grilled baby aubergine with sweet aji amarillo miso and chancha corn). This was probably my least favourite dish out of the three, but it was still enjoyable. I make miso aubergine at home, however there was something very sweet on top of this one which wasn’t to my taste, but nevertheless it was a good dish.
For sides there were Patatas Fritas (sweet potato fries with aji rocotto dip) and Quinoa Soltero (black and white quinoa, mizuna, roasted beetroot and butternut squash, hijiki seaweed, crispy shallots and sesame tofu dressing). Now I have to admit that I heavily tucked into the sweet potato fries (which were incredible) and I didn’t even realise that I hadn’t seen the salad until they started clearing the table and asked if I wanted it. By that point I was stuffed so I gave it a miss as I still had dessert coming and that needed the little space that I had left!
For dessert I had a Coconut Chia Pudding with Pineapple and Shiso Granita. It was small but the perfect size given how much I’d eaten up to that point. It came decorated with some beautiful flowers and was just what was needed to finish off the meal. I tend to make chia pudding with soya milk, but after this dessert I would try it with a coconut yogurt or milk as it gives it that extra bit of flavour.
I would highly recommend Señor Ceviche to anyone looking for a place to eat in Central London. I was really impressed that they had their own vegan set menu, which included dishes with a variety of flavours and textures. The other guys on my table had the standard (meat) set-menu and they said it was great too, so it caters for both really well.
One thing I would urge you to do is to book a table. We sat down to eat at 9pm and it was packed. You definitely need to make a reservation here if you want to go at peak times such as the evening or weekend, but it is totally worth it. The atmosphere is lively and on a warm summer’s day they open all the windows given it a casual vibe that transports you out of London.
In terms of value for money I felt it was very reasonably priced. £30 for the set menu at first felt steep but the size and number of dishes put before me made me sure that I was getting value for money. Did I mention that they were delicious too?
If you’re in the area doing a spot of shopping on Carnaby Street or even if you’re not, then be sure to visit. You will not be disappointed.