Ceviche, Old Street
Martin Morales brought his Peruvian dining concept to East London with Andina and now his original food baby, Ceviche, has opened near Old Street. Goody, Tech City has yet another reason to be smug. But it’s high fives all round as Ceviche is a beautifully executed dining concept; from the shadowy, film noir door sign to the spacious, casual dining room littered with bright Peruvian artwork. The building itself, built in 1898 by Sir Thomas Lipton, of Lipton’s Tea was originally a place for East London’s working class to dine with friends and family and some of that casual post-work dining atmosphere remains.
For dating, it’s dangerous. Small plates arriving speedily only to be inhaled alongside reasonably priced bottles of red. It’s Pisco Sours and a good looking, young crowd – the sort of place you’ll return to with the same date to make it your local. Routine forming heaven.
Oh it depends. The sea bass ceviche is citrus-y, punchy nirvana. Light, fresh, gone in seconds and a #cleanlean Instagrammer’s dream. On a date, do get meaty. Fluff around with a Pisco Sour but then go in hard with a bottle of red and several grill items. Sugar-cured pork belly on corn cream, bavette steak with egg and plantain, and divine octopus with potato and an olive mayo. Be polite with a side of beans. Finish off with a salted caramel ice-cream.
Old Street station – no matter how many trendy pop-ups it attracts – will never be good-looking. Meet them at Shoreditch Grind just outside and have a little beaker of red. Then pootle on down to Ceviche and claim your place at a low table (the bar is for 3rd dates). You loosen up here pretty quickly so make sure your chat is a happy mix of playful and deep. Immature kicks under the table, corn tossing and a warm repartee with waiters will go down a charm. By dessert, you’re merry and flushed. Spoon fight over the ice-cream (we should have ordered more) then fix your face in the bathrooms and split the bill. Hug the staff goodbye, then kiss your date in the alley outside. Grab them by the hand and run to the Hoxton Hotel for, yes, more wine. This was fun.
You can rack up quite a bill on small plates. But this is counteracted by reasonably priced wine and, frankly, it’s worth it.
5. Darling, let’s make a scene.