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|Address:||17 Frith Street, London W1D 4RG|
|Tel:||020 7292 2040|
|Price: £44.00||Wine: £17.00||Champagne: £42.00|
|Opening Hours:||Mon-Sun 12N-11.30PM (Sun -10.15pm)|
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We weren't too successful the first time we attempted Ceviche. A 60 minute wait for our reservation went seemingly unacknowledged in the tiny, packed galley bar at the front of the restaurant and we ate elsewhere, grumpily and late.
I've got to say though, upon being told of the extent of the delay and the effect it'd had on a long anticipated night out with friends, über amiable host Martin rolled out the red carpet, inviting us back for a return visit on him. True to his word, from welcome to the goodbye we were thoroughly wined, dined and damn near 69'ed. I do love the VIP touch, though it's a shame to only get it when you kick up a stink. The food thankfully, after the hype and the wait, broadly lived up to our heightened expectations..
3 to 4 dishes per person, tapas style, is the recommendation. On that basis you could just get out on about £30 a head without booze. Not bad value for the quality and quantity, but it's not a cheap night out either. The food arrives as it's cooked, in fits, spurts and starts. Such wanton disregard to timing is expected when you're sharing, but it's definitely an experience that's best enjoyed with close friends. You'll need to be close to hear over the din too, it's dark, close and shouty in here.
We took advice on the menu, pulling a selection from each section. Ceviche, the house hit, is a bit of a one note wonder to me. Slivers of seabass swim in a feisty lime and chilli marinade, silken in texture and fresh as hell. As well as this, we go for a mixed seafood plate, sadly this one is a little too similar and I think we'd had our fill by the time it turned up. It was certainly slower than the first to disappear.
The other major food group here is the selection of anticuchos or grilled skewers of varying sorts. Not recognising most of the things they've been marinaded or basted with, we chanced a selection. Beef rump and heart came doused in aji panca chilli sauce, which turned out to be a mild tingling piquancy rather than anything too robust. The best of these served big chunks of salmon in rocoto sauce. For those uninitiated into the world of the chilli, the rocoto goes by the amusing name of Capsicum Pubescens, a hairy leaved little heatbomb from the west coast of South America. Botany lesson aside, it gave the blackened fish a wonderful smoothly smokey flavour. The killer dish for me was a Lomo Saltado, wokfried striploin of beef served with onion and pepper. Sweet and moreishly powerful, you could have told me halfway through that I was eating slow cooked child and I'd have still carried on.
Unlike last time, half the group were steering clear of the booze for reasons transportational and so only Dr Vole and I were able to enjoy Pisco Sours so moreish they had more than a touch of the Columbian about them. In an ideal world, Ceviche would be a perfect spot for a post work cocktail, washing down a plate of cold fresh seabass and a skewer or two at the bar. Sadly, and subjectively, it's way too busy for that to feel like an option yet, but it delivers further compelling evidence that the independent start up restaurant scene in London continues to thrive.