Ah January, we meet again. Every year it’s the same – bad weather, bad essays, and bad finances to get through, all whilst attempting a complete lifestyle revamp only to get to February and realise you quite liked your lifestyle already, thank you very much. Now I’m all for a health kick, but I want it to be fun and enjoyable. Just because it’s good for me shouldn’t mean I have to give up on pleasure.
This is where I share with you a rather large ray of sunshine – and not just any sunshine, a beautiful Peruvian inspired restaurant ray of sunshine.
Andina is the new treat served up by Martin Morales, a name already familiar to foodies everywhere from his restaurant Ceviche in Soho. Inspired by Peruvian family-run, traditional restaurants called ‘picanterias’, Andina dishes up all sorts of healthy and tasty goodies from breakfast through to dinner and beyond…
We were invited for breakfast, and left feeling inspired, energised and desperate for another Supay juice! (Orange juice, pomegranate, goldenberry and limo chilli, delicious!) I was adventurous and ordered Tamalito (steamed quinoa dumpling, filled with coriander, queso fresco cheese, with salsa criolla) with my partner sticking slightly closer to home with the Benedicto (smoked trout, poached egg with quinoa pancake, asparagus and amarillo chilli sauce).
The Tamalito was delicate yet filling, with the star performer of the salsa criolla making me wish my plate was never ending. There was also a certain novelty factor in working out how to eat the Tamalito (note: the wrapping is not edible, something I discovered in a mildly embarrassing fashion). The Benedicto was also a winner, with my eating partner being very pleased to find trout on the menu. This dish also showcased perfectly the fusion of South American and British cuisine that is unique to Andina.
Special mention must go to the juices, smoothies and teas on offer though. Packed full of vitamin goodness and dazzlingly bright in colour these have to be the ultimate winter blues buster. Made at the bar along the back wall, the drinks are also available to take-away – great for an on the go pick-me-up.
But Andina deserves to be sat in and enjoyed thoroughly, it is far too beautiful to waltz in and back out off. Personally I would happily move in tomorrow just for the light fittings, which appear to have had as much thought put into them as the menu; we were told the story of sourcing all the various bits and bobs artfully displayed around the rooms. Venture into The Music Room behind the front dining space to be greeted by one of the most welcoming wooden tables you’ll ever see, behind which is a wall of Peruvian funk CDs and yet another great light fitting – described as a place to “eat, drink and work” by the creators.
Andina is immersive into the bright and colourful world of Peru, and should be on the list of every gloomy Londoner (as well as the not so gloomy ones!) as a place to eat. Personally I can’t wait to return for dinner and some slightly naughtier drinks as soon as is humanely possible.
For more information and to book, visit the Andina website here.