Ceviche brings Peruvian food, drinks and spirit to London
The interior of Ceviche has been praised for its casual, friendly feel. (Photo: Paul Winch-Furness)
By Charlotte Allen
June 15, 2012
A Peruvian’s dream is coming true; Peruvian food and drinks have arrived at London’s Ceviche and by the way things are looking, everyone in Britain will be eating it in no time. Founder and restaurateur Martin Morales, who created Ceviche, is well-known in the entertainment industry, having worked for Steve Jobs at Apple as a founding member of iTunes Europe and as Executive Director for Disney Music Group. Also a self-taught chef and a former globetrotting DJ, he sold his family home and said goodbye to his life at Disney and Apple to start Ceviche in London.
Born in Lima to a British father and a Peruvian mother, he has dreamt of opening a Peruvian restaurant from the moment he arrived in London over 15 years ago. As a child, he loved La Rosa Nautica, La Granja Azul and La Costa Verde, but he also loved eating ceviches from local huariques and the Andean soups, stews and delicacies on offer in his grandmother’s home of Santiado de Chuco.
Frustrated by the fact that there were no great Peruvian restaurants in Britain, he decided to do something about it. He started tweeting about it, creating pop-up restaurants and events and then brought the team together at Ceviche. It includes a stellar line-up of top-shelf chefs, bar personnel, investors and partners who have experience at Nobu, Soho House Group, Le Cordon Bleu Lima, Roka and Zuma Restaurants.
Peruvian chefs, Pisco mixologists, waiters and waitresses are well- represented serving delicious ceviches with names like Alianza Lima, tiraditos like Sakura Maru (a Nikkei tiradito named after the first ship that set sail from Japan to Peru in 1899) and cocktails like Sofia Del Mar named after Peru’s surfing world champ Sofia Mulanovic.
Since opening in London’s fashionable Soho district in February, Ceviche has received enormous praise from customers and the media for its pioneering work.
“This place is brilliant. The cooking is super-confident, rare and interesting, the look of the room is great and the bar must be fantastic in the evening, the music is lovely, the staff are incredibly sweet and kind and even the loos are very cute. And it’s cheap. I never really want to go anywhere else again,” said Giles Coren for The Times.
And just last week Ceviche’s ceviche was voted the number 1 dish by Time Out London in a poll of London restaurateurs. Ceviche’s clientele now features the likes of Kate Moss, Yoko Ono, Jamie Cullum and designer Patrick Cox.
As Martin’s cousin, I was lucky enough to be invited to the opening night on Feb. 25, which was a spectacular evening. As soon as I walked through the door the happy faces of the bar staff were there to greet me, young, very hip and Peruvian or Latino. I later found out that their service matched their warm appearance; both were fantastic. They gave personal recommendations, details of the dishes and were perfectly attentive, available when needed but not over-the-top.
Pisco sours and chicha sours started the night off: heaven! I would be telling a lie if I said I didn’t overindulge in these. As far as the food was concerned, we tried as much as we could; Don Ceviche was an immediate winner, its seabass beautifully marinated in the punchy “leche de tigre” or tiger’s milk; pulpo al olivo was without doubt the most tender octopus I’ve ever eaten; causa mar went down very well with me as it had my favorite ingredients of prawns and avocado; and corazón anticucho, which was something I was a little apprehensive about as I’d never eaten heart before, but it was truly delicious.
One more dish I can’t leave out was the lomo saltado. It was simply exquisite, and one of my favorites, along with the ceviche. Morales recalls visiting Lima a year ago and trying lomo saltado in 27 restaurants in a week just to get that dish right. For dessert, I had suspiro de chirimoya, delightfully sweet and extremely moreish.
Ceviche could not have gone down better with Londoners, and if ceviche (the dish) is going to have a chance at conquering the rest of Europe, it could not have had a better start. Moreover, at the end of June, to tie in with Peru’s National Ceviche Day, June 28, Morales has created London Ceviche Week 2012. And following from that, as part of the London Olympics 2012, Ceviche will host, at its restaurant site in Soho, an exhibition of never-before-seen original photographs taken by Peruvian athletes at the 1948 London Olympics alongside an event to host Peru’s 2012 delegation in London.
Morales now has his eyes set on the next unique Peruvian-London venture and is looking for a site and to grow the team. Let’s hope all this excitement really kick starts a domino effect so we can all enjoy the delights of Peruvian cuisine wherever we are in the world.
Total coments: 6
Commented By: email@example.com
On: June 16, 2012
I have actually been to Ceviche and it is everything it says it is, loved the Pisco sours can't wait to try the next venue!
Commented By: firstname.lastname@example.org
On: June 17, 2012
We went at Easter and took a Spanish friend who had never tried Peruvian; converted;) Great atmosphere and friendly staff. Food tasty but portions a bit small. We will be going back this week to try out some more dishes. Can't wait for his next venue to open.
Commented By: Locozodiac
On: June 17, 2012
Interesting article, best of all, food is excellent, prices are cheap and affordable. Gastón,read this article and get down from your heavenly pedestal.
Commented By: Alan
On: June 19, 2012
This article is a little misleading, there is already a very popular Peruvian restaurant in London called Tito's!
Commented By: juaneuro90
On: June 24, 2012
Good article! This is my cousin's Restaurant!
Commented By: MARTAPMONGE@YAHOO.COM
On: July 8, 2012
GOOD FOR YOU! CONGRATULATIONS AND ALL THE LUCK OF THE WORLD! ARRIBA PERU!
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