An expedition to the Andes, in search of an authentic Peruvian breakfast, was made less arduous by a visit to Shoreditch. There, in the bosom of East London, is a Peruvian escape where hearty appetites are nourished with first class care: Andina. The all-day restaurant is the second opening from Martin Morales, the former iTunes executive-turned-cook and restaurateur.
Morales launched Ceviche in Soho, in 2012, showcasing critically acclaimed pickled dishes inspired by his Peruvian roots. Andina ventures beyond this remit to introduce a super-food-rich menu inspired by the Andes.
The rustic décor is sufficiently stylized to attract fashion-conscious locals: wood, tiling, exposed beams and brickwork, coloured cords, and low hanging lights. Together, they create an embracing, informal ethos, emphasised by the presentation of “help yourself” cutlery within coloured glasses on each table.
A basement bar specialises in Pisco (a Peruvian grape spirit available in homemade flavours) whilst the ground floor houses an open-plan kitchen and juice bar. There’s also a private room for hire, decorated with some of the vintage records Morales has licensed for his Peruvian music label.
The breakfast menu is liquid-heavy: six food dishes and a raft of juice blends, smoothies, Fuerza (Peruvian liquid breakfasts), Hot Emoliente (a healthy Andean drink that can be flavoured with cinnamon or mint), Peruvian teas and coffees.
We began with a moreish Lengua De Suegra – two layers of Peruvian filo pastry sandwiched with dulce de leche (caramel). Ideal for anyone with a sweet tooth, but it lacked the portability and bulk of European equivalents and seemed unlikely to fuel a diner until lunchtime.
Peruvian Porridge was more substantial: an outstanding concoction of quinoa, amaranth, orange zest and fresh fruits. The creamy blend was as comforting as it was delicious, and far lighter than porridge oats. We detected notes of cinnamon and aniseed in each mouthful and syrups of purple maize and goldenberry (physalis) added sweetness.
Also impressive was a Pig Butty, a hearty street food dish of tender, crispy-edged pork belly in a soft, sourdough bun. A wonderful ketchup of sweet potato completed the sandwich, alongside a portion of Salsa Criolla (a breath-hijacking garnish of raw red onion, tomato and coriander). The dangerous salsa also arrived with our order of Tamalito, a delicately flavoured and slightly underwhelming coriander dumpling made from quinoa, stuffed with queso fresco cheese. Both dishes are also available for lunch.
Sipping tasty, wholesome smoothies throughout our meal – a banana based Saramama and avocado-packed Green Vayeho – it felt good to start the day with something more imaginative than tea and toast. However, no amount of healthy food could substitute the kick of caffeine: Andina’s robust yet smooth house blend of Peruvian, Costa Rican and Tanzanian coffee kindly obliged.
Andina provided a fantastic break from routine, successfully invigorating and reinventing the most mundane and hurried meal of the day. We enjoyed an exotic, guilt-free and delicious breakfast experience with all the flavours of Peru and none of the holiday costs!
Photos: Andrei Grosu
To book a table at Andina, 1 Redchurch Street, London, E2 7DJ, call 0207 920 6499 or visit here.