Mexican is a tough one to class up. No matter how much piquant this and ceviche that, we’re also talking a hefty dose of tortillas, meat, cheese and guac. At Peyote, just like La Bodega Negra, its the artfully decorated room and the attractive people that fill it, as well as the superb cocktail list, that make it worthwhile. A mid-week date at this Cork Street dining room is ideal for those who work in Mayfair or appreciate its charms, and anyone who is a fan of Roka, Coya (heaven), the Arts Club and Zuma. With venture capitalist Arjun Waney behind all these projects you can perhaps see why the dating clientele tend to be financiers and fashionistas. A typical dining room scene will see 3 or four “early days” dates, the odd wealthy family getting out of the house, and table upon table of chic investment types – a few dapper Frenchmen, a lot of well spoken suits. It should be offensive, but it isn’t. It’s quietly glamorous, rather good looking, and a solid swanky date, with almost realised ‘hip’ credentials and the softening blow of tequila shots.
The food is a mixture of fine tuned street food (tacos, quesadillas) and high end fare. I recommend just matching the vibe of the place and sticking with high end. On the ‘yes’ list: yellow tail laminados and prawn ceviche, very good. The sea bass with cilantro and pineapple sauce was very tasty indeed and the steak with a smokey aubergine paste was a winner but extremely filling. The corn and Mexican rice was, perhaps bizarrely, one of the highlights. While the tacos, tostada and quesadillas have a few noteworthy options, I’d skip the bunch – they’re messy to eat on a date and no better than cheaper options I’ve had. The cocktail list is pure heaven, with a Chilli and Passionfruit Margarita and the watermelon and tequila Pink Daze.
This is how things went for the couple next to us. Early thirties hedge funder from New York waits at the table for his date. He has clearly come straight from the gym and is radiant, with slicked back hair and a tie that has been artfully loosened. He’s exotic looking, perhaps half Indian, and very handsome indeed. His US/Euro twang is soft and elegant; he almost certainly went to business school. Enter his date. A late twenties brunette who is polished to the hilt. Poker straight hair, a black pencil skirt suit, nice bag, high heels. She isn’t posh, but she’s dead classy. Despite looking immaculate, both have a very friendly air about them, a willingness to make this work. They were definitely set up by mutual friends.
She walks in ten minutes late; he’s been waiting with a cocktail that’s a little too pink. She apologises, but the time lag was probably intentional. They exchange how are yous four times before noticing the repetition and cringing. Conversation then moves onto their respective days at work, deals closed, and gym routines. The gentleman orders and voices his gladness that the meeting is happening. After the first drink they switch to mineral water. Not because they’re not having fun, but because they’re disciplined. The chat loosens up, there are a few sparks and play punches, and they end the date just in time to get to bed, separately, by 11. It seemed like a good date but who knows, these chaps leave poker faced.
Style over substance. OK for foodies but perfect for daters.
2. Based on said corporate couple, it’s the elegant long game you’re playing here.