A few weeks ago I wrote how excited I was that Martin Morales, the man behind one of my favourite hangouts in London, Ceviche in Soho, was opening a second site. Andina, this time in Shoreditch, focuses on Peruvian superfood dishes inspired by Andean recipes. On the mend from a bout of flu, and Andina opening just round the corner from my house last week, it seemed the perfect moment to try out their breakfast, fill up on goodness and be restored a little.
Despite being bang in the middle of the chaos of this trendy part of town, right on the corner of Shoreditch High Street and Redchurch Street, Andina feels calm when you walk in. The staff are relaxed, cheerful music plays in the background, the lighting is soft thanks to wicker basket lampshades hanging from the ceiling and Peruvian artwork adorns the walls. At one end of the upstairs room smoothies are being made and piles of fresh fruit sit on a counter. I feel healthier already!
The Boy ordered a delicious Chaska smoothie (dried figs, apple juice, banana, lucuma, quinoa milk) while I opted for Urubamba smoothie (blueberries, quinoa, goat’s milk yogurt, quinoa milk, purple maize flour, honey). They list Urubamba as “breakfast in a cup” and they weren’t wrong. I could probably have stopped here, but that’s not the point of breakfast now is it?
We sipped our smoothies and perused the menu. Not being able to make up our minds, it was lucky that The Man Morales himself was on hand to talk us through the menu. He explained that while in London, it is only fairly recently that people have really become aware and embraced healthy foods, in Peru they have been eating organic produce forever and that many of the recipes are inspired by the food his grandmother cooked, as well as by the dishes he remembers eating as a child in Peruvian cafes.
In the end, The Boy decided to go for Peruvian Porridge made from quinoa, amaranth, orange zest, goldenberries, figs and seasonal fruits with purple corn syrup on the side. Despite the fact that it maybe could have been a tad hotter, it was moorishly tasty. Filling, but without being stodgy in the way that traditional British porridge is. On the side he ordered sourdough toast which came with beautiful, homemade, strawberry and blackpepper jam.
I chose the Choclo Corn Cake, a giant corn and fresco cheese savoury cake, (perfect) poached egg, avocado and salsa criolla with a gorgeous rich huancaina sauce made of goats cheese and pepper. This dish genuinely brought me back to life. The balance of flavours worked perfectly and left me perfectly full and satisfied without feeling liked I’d overeaten. Although, if you are after a guilt-free (ish) hangover cure, Andina also does its own take on the classic English fry-up. The “Full Peruvian” consists of two fried eggs, confit pork chicharron, potato rosti, wild mushrooms, grilled tomato, avocado and toast. Definitely one for the weekend.
We massively enjoyed our brunch and will definitely be back to work our way through the rest of the menu, but Andina is open for lunch and dinner as well. Other than the relaxed informal dining area upstairs where guests can choose to sit at intimate tables or at a beautiful breakfast bar while they watch these talented chefs at work in the open kitchen, you can sit in the Music Room and sip coffee while gazing at a wall covered in a collection of Morales’ own rare 7inch singles of Peruvian funk music (they have a record label too don’t you know?). Downstairs is the main dining area which wasn’t being used but we took a sneak peak anyway. Perfect to sit and share a grilled seabass with hot amarillo chilli sauce for dinner, it encompasses the cosy and stylish, yet totally informal atmosphere that can be found at each individual space.
I have no doubt that Andina will be embraced by Shoreditch wholeheartedly. It offers a beautiful selection of healthy, seasonal and unusual dishes (for London), obviously prepared with great skill and love. You cannot help but smile when you hear Morales talk about this latest project. His enthusiasm and passion for his roots and where his love of cooking came from is infectious. Get down and see for yourself.
1 Redchurch Street
London E2 7DJ