Every time we passed Andina the Peruvian Kitchen in London, my foodie senses spiked. What caught my attention was that it was a colorful restaurant on the corner of a quiet road in the trendy Shoreditch area in London. For a few days I’d resisted dragging my companion in but one evening we were starving and had missed all the last orders for most places; luckily Andina’s doors were still open. The warm atmosphere at Andina invited us in.

Immediately we felt at ease with the Latino music humming in the background, a vibrant interior and fun-loving staff who were happy to advise us on what dishes to try. We decided to share everything and launched our feast off with the Ceviche de Verano; cured Sea Bass, Watermelon, Strawberries, and Red Onion in Tiger’s Milk.

Andina burger. Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness.
Andina burger. Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness.

Ceviche refers to the technique of using a citrus-based marinade to ‘cook’ the fish, this method preserves the delicate flavor of the fish and creates a unique freshness to the dish. This was followed by Grilled Salmon Skewers, the sweetness of the fish set of against mildly salty Rock Samphire, a simple yet elegant dish.

We watched with wide eyes as dishes were delivered to neighboring tables and got food-envy of every plate we saw.Two more mains were on their way to us;another salmon dish but with a different execution and Tamalito, which I’d been dying to try ever since hearing the phrase hot tamale.

The Salmon Tartar Causa was next up, featuring the fish served raw with Avocado, Limo Chilli, cold purple Potato and a Uchucuta herb sauce. The Uchucuta was similar to a sauce verde in look, however in flavor was tangy, sweet, well balanced, and addictively good. We finished our main courses with Tamalito made from the ever-popular Quinoa mixed with Coriander that was formed into a dumpling oozing with Cheese, and topped with Salsa Criolla.

Andina's ground floor. Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness.
Andina's ground floor. Photo credit: Paul Winch-Furness.

The food we’d had so far was exquisite, and with just enough room left to satisfy our sweet teeth we ordered two desserts. A Dulce de Leche crème Mille-feuille and the star of the evening Quinoa Chocolate Brownie, which was mouthwateringly good. Both were as good as the rest of our food and as our evening came to a close we were already reminiscing about the great experience we’d had in this chance encounter. The food, staff and decor all added up together to make for a truly memorable evening.

By the time we left we were trying to digest why we’d never explored Peruvian cuisine until now. The delicate flavors were complimentary both on the individual dishes and through the overall spread. Each plate introduced us to new, exotic ingredients and with South American food slowly gaining the attention it deserves we felt somewhat like the first explorers to discover Machu Picchu.

Our fingers are crossed in the hopes of seeing Peruvian food hit the Gulf sometime soon.

For more information, visit www.andinalondon.com

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