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Andina Restaurant, Shoreditch, London

Andina Peruvian Restaurant, London
I recently was in Shoreditch checking out a normally very lively foodie festival but on this occasion the event at the Truman Brewery, East London fell short. Thankfully due to the area Spitafields, Brick Lane & Shoreditch high street, there were plenty of places on offer and we were lucky to secure a spot at the popular Peruvian restaurant, Andina. Before then we hit another hot spot (and all day hang out) Forge & Co, one of the many trendy bars in Shoreditch, please note that some bars require 'hipsters be accompanied by grown ups'. I couldn't help but wonder if these folk in Shoreditch really understand how lucky they are to have a mecca of great restaurants and bars with loads of square footage at their disposal. I am envious but then I remember how beautiful Richmond borough is, it is us who are the lucky ones with our tree-lined streets, Parks and a riverside that we enjoy so much.

Malt Lager

All day eating at Andina

When we head to Andina we find it is already filling up fast. This tapas styled eatery was created by Soho's Ceviche founder, Martin Morales. Martin dreamed of watching customers have fresh ceviche and grilled meats prepared right before their eyes.

Cassava Chips with Andean Dip
Pork Chicharonnes
Andina is a very busy spot and with all the chaos, staff (mainly Spanish) are incredibly welcoming and seem genuinely enthusiastic. We were offered ring-side seats to their kitchen. The menu takes some 'perusing' (get it? 'peru'sing, lol ok ignore me), this is a new style of food that are I'm admittedly not familiar with but all in all it is a selection of different styled ceviches and grilled meats with exotic dipping sauces. The staff who were thoroughly rehearsed in the contents and preparation of the dishes were quite helpful, nothing was a problem, and liked to joke with the patrons. The food comes comes out as it is prepped so everything is ready to go. 

Tamalito - Quinoa in Corn Husk
We had started off with some Mini pork chicharonnes - delicious cubes of pork belly with rocoto chilli sauce and salsa cirolla. The pork was slightly gamy (the naughty fat layers intact) and the sauce was sweet and thick. The salsa helps cut the richness  - these are devilishly good bites. The Cassava Chips that followed were dense in texture and slightly sweet with plantain flavour, the exotic dipping sauce was nutty with a unique herbaceous flavour.  
A real comfort plate of food.

Classic Ceviche - Seam Bream
Beef Fillet Skewers - Outstanding

Next was the Tamalito which consisted of quinoa and corriander filling topped with soft cheese all wrapped inside a corn husk. This was a deceivingly simple looking dish but had delicious complex flavours. It was buttery with corriander, spicy with sweet onion, quite delicious and a highlight so far. After this, we enjoyed a classic Ceviche, of fresh seabass, lime and tiger's milk - no actual tiger's involved at all but the juice from the ceviche itself. Another simple dish in appearance that came with choclo corn (the kernels are huge) and sweet potato. 

However good the previous small plates were, we were still in for an incredible treat with the next two. The Monkfish and the Beef fillet steak grilled skewers were outstanding. I got so delirious over the Monkfish that I'd missed a photo op and polished it off without a thought. 
These two plates I don't want to go into much detail about as to not spoil the results, but they are an absolute requirement should you visit Andina.  We also tried the lamb santiago which was served with rice and beans, this was a slow cooked dish with curry like flavours but nowhere near as good as the skewers, I wouldn't bother with this dish. Stick to the skewers.

Beef Skewers (back) - Lamb (front) 
Close up of Monkfish Skewer (outstanding)

The whole experience was finished off with a sweet of Lengua De Suegra. Peruvian filo pastries, dulce de leche and pecan ice cream. This is caramelised custard like cream (ducle de leche) piped between two pieces of flaky pastry, and an absolutely divine pecan ice cream, this will have you convinced that you must come back - once again a simple dessert dish that was just outstanding. I was utterly stuffed after all this eating. I dread the inevitable fasting that follows a meal like this and as the calorific xmas period approaches I can't help but think I must be careful but, tbh - to hell with it - that's what January's for - in December I eat, drink and be merry!

Andina is exciting, fun and the food is exotic - so much value in the offerings themselves but they are all executed well. It is an amazing place to eat and would recommend a day out at Spitafields market finished by a dinner at Andina. The delicious new flavours are tantilising and the service is fun. For a real show-stopper to impress your friends Andina do a Whole Suckling Pig (needs 5 day notice) and have a private music room that can host up to 20 people - combine the two and you're in for a very special get together.

Chef preparing the tapas
Caramelised Leche - delicious

I imagine I would be waiting years for anything slightly resembling this style of eating to appear in Richmond or Twickenham (Twickenham only got it first sushi bar 18 months ago). So, until then I will continue venturing into London, even if it is to eat alongside all the 'parent assisted hipsters'.


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