Given the hype surrounding the opening of the much anticipated opening of the Four Seasons Jumeirah Beach late last year, with promises of it being Dubai’s unparalleled dining destination, our trip to Coya, is full of expectation. Set within the confines of the resort’s ‘Restaurant Village’ which will combine a number of world-class restaurants in the months to come (celeb-endorsed Turkish steakhouse Nusret has already opened its doors and Jean-Georges Vongerichten’s first restaurant in Dubai is set to make its debut in April), Coya is Peruvian cuisine at its finest. Having won the accolade of being London’s ‘Restaurant of the Year’ at 2014’s Lifestyle Awards, and brought to Dubai by the same operators of hotspots Zuma and Le Petite Maison, it’s fair to say that Coya is blessed with the recipe of success.
To our surprise, upon arrival, the restaurant and lounge (which serves infusions of authentic Peruvian tipple, Pisco), is much smaller than we imagined; an intimate setting of dark, nefarious lighting, to create an intriguing ambience we imagine. To be honest, it only makes it more difficult to see the menu and could be set a couple of notches brighter. However, zesty Incan colours, bespoke furniture and antique South American artwork gives this sultry venue a vibrant, contemporary vibe.
Despite it being the beginning of the working week, the venue is abuzz with activity, with tables filling fast in both sections and on-the-ball waiting staff anticipating your every need. So far, so impressive. The menu is a tad more complicated and we are grateful for the recommendations from our waiter, Vladamir, given that we have never tried Peruvian cuisine before. If you’re wondering, it’s actually a melting pot of influences brought in by the country’s immigrants which range from Europe to Japan, which means that yuzu, is as frequent on the menu as truffle oil. It’s certainly not boring, let’s put it that way.
We begin with a ceviche of red snapper flavoured with truffle, ponzu and chives; a perfectly light and flavoursome way to start the meal, followed by skewers of barbecued prawns and Seabass spring rolls. Each dish is small but fresh and satisfying, and rather than leave you hankering for another skewer as only two come in the portion, it epitomises the term ‘culinary journey’ as we eagerly anticipate the main course.
We opt for the Solomillo de Res, a spicy beef fillet flavoured with spring onions and star anise. To say it is spicy is something of an overstatement. You may expect the fiery tastes of red chilli, given the way it is presented beautifully, with flecks of red and green, however, the kick is supremely mild but flavourful with a pungent aroma of aniseed dominating the dish. Its unique taste tantalises the tastebuds and is a solid choice for the main event. To end, we share a corn sundae, one of the restaurant’s signature dishes, a dense, yet velvety ice cream with fruity elements of pineapple and the addition of salted popcorn which serve to heighten flavour profiles.
In a nutshell, Coya surpasses all expectations, and is definitely on our radar for being Dubai’s newest classy joint to see and be seen at (if they just increase the lighting a notch for clearer vision). We predict that this fresh and exciting concept will make this a city hotspot for years to come.
INFO: 12noon-3.30pm and 7pm-2am daily, Restaurant Village, Four Seasons Resort Dubai, Jumeirah Beach Road, Jumeirah 2, 04 316 9600, www.coyarestaurant.com
Pargo a la Trufa (Red snapper ceviche) Dhs72
Rollitos de Pescado (Seabass spring rolls) Dhs56
Solomillo de Res (Spicy beef fillet) Dhs180