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New York Fashion Week is still in full swing, but tomorrow is your last chance to enjoy exquisite cuisine and cocktails at the Spring Place pop-up for the intercontinental, Peruvian-inspired restaurant COYA. Available to book for private parties through February 14 (with only a few slots each night, for both members and non-members), the coveted award-winning Latin American eatery—with locations in Dubai, Abu Dhabi, Monte Carlo, and Angel Court and Mayfair in London—is bringing its famed ceviche and cocktails to TriBeCa for New York Fashion Week.
Alongside COYA’s Global Corporate Bar Manager, Sany Bacsi, Global Culinary Director Sanjay Dwivedi hand-selected the custom food and beverage menus, and music by the restaurant group’s music director, Stephane Karl, will be heard, too.
“It was important to us to bring together all key members of the COYA team—Global Culinary Director Sanjay Dwivedi, Global Corporate Bar Manager, Sany Bacsi, as well as Music Director, Stephane Karl—to provide a cohesive dining experience true to the COYA ethos, said Olivier Lordonnois, Spring Place CEO. “The COYA team’s relentless attention to detail and authenticity as well as their global viewpoint make them the perfect partners for Spring Place and an offering we’re delighted to offer our members.”
Whitewall stopped by the pop-up for some vibrant, innovative bites, and caught up with Dwivedi about his love for food and what items he couldn’t leave the menu without.
WHITEWALL: You grew up in India but serve Peruvian-inspired dishes at COYA. Where did your interest in food start? What was the spark?
SANJAY DWIVEDI: Growing up in India, my uncle owned a beach resort called Sun and Sea. I saw a chef preparing a Chicken dish—En Paupiette, “chicken in a paper bag.” The chef then presented it to me, opened the bag in style. I was around nine years old and remember the moment clearly, even now after all these years. The smell and taste were magical. I suppose it was then that the seed was sown. What one can do with just a piece of meat, a few vegetables, and spices. And the effects it can have thereafter…
WW: The COYA menu is a celebration of flavor. What do you feel it is, beginning with Peru?
SD: Peru has the fortune of explosive flavors all from Japan, China, and Spain. COYA is a clean eating experience, a culinary freshness to write home about, and a palette of colors to suit so many styles.
WW: What about Spring Place aligns with COYA—whether it be its design, its harnessing of creation and innovation, culinary, or mixology?
SD: Spring Place oozes sophistication and creativity. COYA, a luxury brand, mixes together so many different elements, where we attract an array of characters, preferences, and tastes. An offering like no other that infuses food, drink, and music—all in one experience. COYA is able to provide the most perfect settings for an intimate dinner to a special occasion celebration. The Spring Place NYFW activation is the prime example of how COYA can be transported all over the world. We have injected our brand into this beautiful site, where both Spring Place and COYA have such unique qualities, that bring guests together in an unforgettable way and only complement each other day by day.
WW: Signature items on the menu that were curated for this occasion were the Ceviche de Atún Chifa, Arroz Nikkei, and the Pisco Sour. Tell us a bit about how you made the selection of items and why the menu couldn’t do without them.
SD: The Pisco sour is the national drink of Peru, we took this drink and added our own flavors and infusions. I believe COYA currently has the biggest range of Pisco infusions in the world. Everything from Strawberry, Raspberry, Lavender, Chili, Popcorn, Passion Fruit and more.
Tuna, as we know, is loved by everyone. The beauty of tuna is it has its own flavor and it loves to do its own dance with chilies. So, I created a Chinese version, and this was the first ceviche I ever created back in 2012.
Rice and fish—I was brought up on this. Now you combine Chilean seabass and rice made with Dashi, soya and mirin, finished with lime and chili butter… This is where the explosion of flavors begin.
WW: Tell us a bit about how COYA creates a unique dining experience, and not just a meal, regardless of where it is.
SD: I have always had the philosophy that COYA is like bringing people to my very own home, except in COYA, I have a bigger kitchen and dining room. What does one do when you have guests, friends and family coming over all at once? COYA goes out of the way to provide the best possible experience and create that exclusive dining journey by serving best food and drink and combining music and fun. COYA is a lifestyle.
When I started the journey of COYA back in 2012, my motto was to create the best Latin American experience in London. You have to start from somewhere and back then I never would have dreamed of where we are today. Five COYAs worldwide, currently a pop-up activation in one of my favorite cities, New York, and soon to be the newest launched site in the group, COYA Paris.
WW: This summer, COYA is opening in Paris. Tell us a bit about what we can expect?
SD: Paris—the gastronomical capital of the world. Paris, like any other city, has changed and evolved at an incredible rate. People travel more, are open to more cultures, and are so much more familiar with them overall also. We are located in the hippest area of Paris and surrounded by many innovative and renewed restaurants. COYA is going to be a huge success and complement the area extremely well.