Anyone who knows me knows I am obsessed with my birthday. Really obsessed. I will start planning my birthday celebrations (which will last at least a fortnight) now, and my birthday is in September… It is my favourite day. Ever.
So imagine how distressing it is to now have a boyfriend who loathes his birthday. When I asked him what he was doing for his birthday this year, he informed me he’d be ignoring it. Can you think of how horrifying that was for me, for a self-proclaimed birthday obsessive to hear that the person I have chosen to romantically associate myself with doesn’t like my favourite thing in the world?
Not one to accept such a travesty, I made it my mission to change his mind and help him see the light when it comes to birthdays, so last weekend I curated a day full of birthday celebrations for him, and it started with a bottomless brunch at Señor Ceviche.
Exclusive to Charlotte Street, the bottomless Brunch Banquet encapsulates the epitome of Peruvian dining. Diners can enjoy unlimited Para Picar & Ceviche, a BBQ dish of their choice and many more Peruvian delights, not to mention free-flowing peach Bellini’s and Red or White Wine for an hour and 45 minutes.
My fella and I arrived for brunch at 1pm and we got stuck into all elements of the bottomless brunch straight away. The first of many peach bellinis were served to our table and we eagerly sipped (gulped) at the sweet, fruity bubbles while we looked at everything we were going to enjoy on the menu. With the exception of the BBQ section, all the food is bottomless. You can order and re-order the entire menu until your heart (and belly) is content, which we certainly did. This is the most wonderful way to introduce yourself to these bold and exciting flavours if you are new to the world of Peruvian cuisine.
The small plates of food began to arrive at our table and we dug in, greedily – firstly to the crispy baby calamari, the spicy and messy hot wings, the slow-cooked pork belly squares and the mushroom and sweet potato tequenos.
The slow-cooked pork was the winner of this round, with the most beautifully succulent and sweet meat beneath a caramelised, fatty lid which melted in the mouth. The sweet potato puree that sat beneath it was smooth and smokey and though this dish lasted all of two mouthfuls, it certainly made an impression – so much so that we ordered it again. Along with another round of peach bellinis.
The ceviche dishes began to arrive, with a BBQ Jerusalem artichoke, fennel and samphire ceviche fighting the corner for the vegetarian offering, accompanied by a beautiful purple corn cracker which helped us to scoop up the remaining aji Amarillo tiger’s milk which sat at the bottom of the dish, having already worked its magic flavouring the rest of the ingredients.
Of course, no brunch is complete without the addition of avocado, which came with the Nikkei Ceviche dish, served alongside yellowfin tuna and sea bass which was beautiful and full of a tangy almost pickled flavour. We ordered this again, too. Along with another round of peach bellinis.
Meat-wise, the Kizami Tiradito ceviche dish was a long plate of thin, lightly seared rare beef with a wasabi salsa, ponzu onions and crunchy enoki mushrooms. Each slice was tender and juicy, with a light lip-smacking tang. However, the real meat came from the BBQ section of the menu, from which we were allowed to choose one dish each. My fella chose the Flat Iron Y Nikkei Uchucuta – a papaya marinated flat iron steak with pickled shiitake mushroom and uchucuta sauce – a spicy accompaniment, starring fresh green parsley, mint and coriander. It was perfectly pink, visibly juicy and almost melt in the mouth tender. We washed this one down with another round of peach bellinis.
While my choice was the intriguing Corazon de Red – a plate of grilled beef heart with sweet potato mayonnaise, ají panca (a Peruvian red pepper), botija olives and mint. These beef hearts were succulent but not as tender as the Flat Iron. The red peppers on the top were sweet and made the dish a beautiful one to look at prior to devouring… with another round of peach bellinis.
On top of all of this, there were also side dishes (just in case you weren’t already filled to the brim) We casually grazed on these, which included crisp Patatas Fritas (sweet potato fries) and Charred hispi cabbage with burnt butter, garlic miso and roasted pecans, while we finished the rest of our “main course”.
Thinking the food portion of our brunch was over (with only ten more minutes left of our bottomless booze window) our dessert suddenly arrived… with another two rounds of bottomless bellinis for good measure. This dessert was a Chocolate & Maca brownie with a dulce de leche ice-cream scooped on the side. It arrived with a slightly less than desirable presentation… not too dissimilar to something one might see streaking across a toilet bowl the night after a hot curry. We might not have made this observation had we not by this point been totally pickled! With a few bites of the rich dark chocolate accompanied by the smooth, creamy ice-cream, we were defeated, with only enough room for one final glug of bellini before paying the bill.
The bottomless brunch banquet is priced at £39 a head, though luckily for me, I was in possession of a 50% off offer with my ‘Nudge’ membership. If you dine out a lot, this is quite a good thing to join. For £12 a month you get access to a whole host of excellent deals like this one, from soft launch deals or secret menus and exclusive dishes. For £19.50 each, my chap and I ate 16 plates of food and drank what felt like 257 bellinis each (though it might have been 6, it’s all quite a blur now to be honest) and we spent the rest of the day at a perpetual level of sozzled.
Unfortunately, he still hasn’t arrived at my level of excitement and glee when it comes to birthdays, but I do have a brunch convert on my hands. After a sudden epiphany after the first 4 bellinis (“oh so *this* is where all the women are on the weekends!!”), he is already keen to find the next bottomless brunch for us to enjoy together. I’d repeat this one in a heartbeat. Even without The Nudge deal, it’s excellent value for money and a wonderful way to experience a feast of Peruvian flavours.