With two weeks left before Christmas, Team Coco are ramping up the holiday cheer and checking out the best festive dining spots in town. Our girl Hannah Tan-Gillies ventured to Paddington to sample the wonderfully creative fusion cuisine of Ayllu, and their Christmas ‘Nikkei’ tasting menu.
Set right on the canal, Ayllu London is a buzzy yet cosy foodie spot offering Peruvian-Japanese cuisine that packs a festive punch. There’s plenty of canalside seating outdoors if you’re planning a socially-distanced meetup with your pals, and plexiglass dividers inside for extra safety if you’re dining indoors with members of your household.
Inside, Ayllu exudes an effortless yet atmospheric community vibe. Picture low hanging woven pendant lights, deep green velvet banquettes, and plenty of stylish tropical foliage accents that almost tricks you into thinking you’ve hopped on a plane to Peru.
The restaurant was inspired by the food culture the ‘Ayllu’ Incan community and serves up some excellent Peruvian-Japanese small plates and sushi rolls and at excellent value too. We sampled the ‘Nikkei’ Tasting menu, which is priced at an incredibly reasonable £55 for two. We paired our meal with a deliciously-light 2018 New Zealand Pinot Noir from The Nest.
Our culinary voyage began with a trio of starters: Ceviche Mixto, Chicharron Roll and the Cazuela Sabor A Mar.
The Ceviche — a combination of sea bass, octopus, coriander and chilli — was executed to give just the right kick. The Chicharron Roll, which was mixture of avocado, pork, lime and kimchi mayo, was an excellent savoury mouthful, while the Cazuela Sabor Mar carefully married complementary Japanese and Peruvian elements. This final starter dish was made up of chargrilled salmon served over seafood stock rice and roasted seaweed.
Ayllu certainly ramped up the festivities with the Roast Turkey main course, but of course, added their own little fusion twist. Here, they wrapped turkey breast, asparagus and pepper, with delicious bacon and served it with a generous dollop of cranberry sauce.
Finally, we end with a quartet of Peruvian chocolate truffles, a final sweet flourish to bookend truly excellent meal.
‘Festive’ may not be the first word that comes to mind when you think of fusion cuisine, but at £55 for two and with four wonderfully flavourful courses – we highly doubt you’ll find a better festive meal in town this holiday season than at Ayllu London.