Peyote: Much Mexican magic (June 2014)

All things South American (and not just the football) currently seem in vogue. After the success and subsequent entrenchment of Coya and Sushisamba on the London dining scene, along comes Peyote, devoted broadly to the cuisine of Mexico – admittedly in Central America, but stylistically quite similar in terms of cuisine. Our group that visited on a recent weeknight evening were highly impressed from beginning to end. Peyote is about as far from Tex-Mex as one can possibly imagine and that the backers of the restaurant are also behind the perennially popular Zuma should give one a sense of what to expect. The dishes are relatively small in size and designed for sharing, ideal for groups. We began with a chunky guacamole that really packed some flavour accompanied by tortillas and a wonderfully presented range of chilli dipping sauces, ascending in order of hotness. This was followed by fish (lobster ceviche and yellow tail), both of which excelled in terms of freshness. The rib eye steak with borracha salsa was another stand-out, wonderfully tender and the sauce representing a perfect accompaniment. The vegetables were also crisp and certainly not an after-thought here. Probably the only disappointment on the culinary side was a relatively lacklustre sea bass accompanied by coriander and pineapple, a somewhat curious combination. The drinks also merit mention: we rated the cocktails (especially the margarita with chilli and orange), wines (a 2004 red Burgundy worked well across all of the menu) and spirits (much mescal was sampled). If the above were not reason enough to go, the other markedly positive impression we took away from Peyote was the attitude of the serving staff, friendly, enthusiastic and willing to proffer advice, but not in an overbearing fashion. Such a restaurant inevitably deserved to be as full as it was, and there is every reason to believe that Peyote’s presence will endure.