Dieting can be exciting, can’t it? The rush of seeing all those salads on display, the thrill of counting up your calories for the day and seeing if maybe, just maybe, you can squeeze in an extra slice of lean chicken breast with dinner.
No, it’s awful and horrible and I want a cheeseburger.
The only way to survive dieting or ‘eating healthy’ is if the food you choose is low calorie and also utterly fabulous. Cue my personal favourite, ceviche. Much like sashimi, it’s lean protein with very little fat. If sashimi can be a little bland or rubbery for you, then ceviche is its sexier South American cousin bursting with sharp flavour and exploding with colour. Basically it’s healthy eating wrapped in a fabulous frock. ‘Cooked’ with lime juice, you even avoid any oils and it’s often marinated with vegetables and herbs for that additional healthy smug superiority.
Grant and I headed to the Old Street branch of Ceviche for a little lunch and a lotta gossip. They have a £12 lunch special which is a decent deal but we decided to order off the main menu. A little bit saint, a little bit sinner.
First up, Ají de Pollo Tequeños, which are wonton fritters with chicken and Parmesan filling and a amarillo chilli dip. I loved these and could easily have eaten a dozen. Crispy with a kick of spice.
The chargrilled cauliflower was also a hit, mainly because of its rocoto chilli cheesy sauce, which was fantastic and pink! I genuinely think the sauce of this was such a revelation that you could spread it on toast! But maybe char the cauliflower a little less?
Ahem, back to the diet. Grant went for the Carnaval de Conchitas, hand-dived scallop tiradito, ikura, avocado, mandarin tiger’s milk and sea fennel. This was such a beautifully presented and fresh tasting dish but was sadly let down by how little scallops you actually get for the £12 price tag.
Personally I loved my dish, the Trujillo Tiradito, sustainable sea bass, rocoto chilli tiger’s milk, Greek yoghurt, black tobiko caviar, sweet potato crisps. There was enough seabass to keep me happy and it paired beautifully with the yoghurt and tiger’s milk. Unlike sashimi, ceviche never tastes raw and the spice of the dish also gives it a really hearty feeling.
The Old Street branch of Ceviche is in a beautiful restored building, formally the Alexandra Trust Dining Rooms. It has that old boys’ club leather and mahogany vibe that makes you feel like you should be sipping martinis… or eating ceviche, either works for me.
Ceviche is part of the Peruvian Kitchen group and you can find the Old Street branch at:
2 Baldwin Street,
London, EC1V 9NU