A few weeks ago, I finally went for dinner at Andina. I’m actually a little embarrassed that it’s taken me so long, as I travel past it every day and took a Pisco Sour Masterclass there over a year ago. If you’re not familiar with it, Andina London is the second restaurant from Ceviche‘s Martin Morales. Celebrating the earthy ‘soul food’ of the Andes, Andina takes the spotlight off ceviche and focuses on Peru’s other delicious, native ingredients. Having been to Peru and eaten plenty of the local food, I can confirm that it’s definitely not all ceviche. Away from the capital of Lima and the coastal areas, Peruvian food takes on a whole new persona.
At the heart of Andean cooking are healthy and nutritious ingredients, such as quinoa, avocado, aji amarillo and various pulses and grains. So with a healthy menu of juices, superfood smoothies, salads and ceviche, it’s no surprise that the Shoreditch-based restaurant is popular with the young and trendy. We sat at the bar to have our meal overlooking the kitchen. I instantly identified dishes that I was going to order. Like Ceviche, Andina’s menu is made up of small plates – great for the tastebuds, not always so great for the bank account. We ordered the recommended three plates, including a mixture of ceviches, meat dishes and vegetarian sides.
The ceviche was delicious, especially the tuna tiradito with sweet blood orange tiger’s milk. But for me, the highlights were the more substantial dishes. I could have eaten a whole dinner plate of the Tacu Tacu Quechua; sweet sticky aubergine on a bed of quinoa tacu tacu (a Peruvian dish traditionally made of refried beans and rice) with goats cheese crumbled on top.
The Chicken Aji de Gallina, a traditional creamy chicken curry, was rich and nutty, but far more delicate than heavily cheesy versions you would find in Peru. Again, I’d order that dish as a main if I could!
I mean it when I say that the amount of food that we ordered was enough to satisfy us. Yet, we couldn’t resist trying a pudding. After a recommendation from our waiter, we ordered the Dulce con Cafe. Beautifully presented like a something you’d seen in your garden, this dessert was a perfect ending to our meal. Creamy dulce de leche mouse topped with a coffee crumble, tangy passionfruit sauce and fragrant coconut and amaranth. Divine. Whilst Andina naturally plays to the trendy Shoreditch crowd, this restaurant stays true to Peruvian heritage. The tastes and flavours of this menu were reminiscent of my experience in Peru, more so than the Lima-influenced food of Ceviche. Martin Morales has once again managed to take the authentic flavours of Peru and modify them to create a menu that will take off with the London crowds.
Andina, http://andinalondon.com (Twitter: @andinalondon)