So I seem to be enduring something of a run of South American food lately. I managed to end up at Andina, a Peruvian restaurant in trendy Shoreditch. Some would say that it is too trendy for me.
Causa de Camarones – Nikkei prawn tartar, avocado, coriander cold potato mash, wasabi mayo. An excellent dish which reminded me of the prawn sashimi I had had in Japan. An excellent start to the meal. The avocado and prawn tartar created a very pleasant combination with the smoothness of the avocado and the fresh sea bite of the prawns. A very eye catching and tongue delighting dish.
Cassava Chips – with Andean Ocopa herb and nut dip. Deep fried cassava, this looked very appetizing. However, I found that they were a bit dry inside. Probably because this was a root vegetable and so intrinsically dry rather than being any fault in preparing and cooking. Just not my cup of tea.
Tacu Tacu Quechua – braised aubergine, quinoa tacu tacu, queso fresco. No. The dish did not come like this. My polite friends (as they stressed to me) had decided to finish their portions of this before I had a chance to take a photo. But they were gracious enough to leave me a portion (hence their politeness). I found this to be interesting but not as stimulating as the prawn tartar.
Ceviche Andina – sea bass, goldenberry, avocado, sweet potato. With a tangy touch amid the fresh fish, avocado and sweet potato. The sharp flavours of this ceviche did not really blend that well with me. It just wasn’t really to my taste or indeed any of my fellow diners as this was the only dish that we left unfinished.
Pulpo Chancón – grilled octopus, lúcuma, butterbeans, chancaca and limo honey sauce, tomato, red onions. It has been a while since I’ve had octopus. I’m glad I didn’t meet this full sized monster when I was diving as by the size of its tentacles it could have easily wrapped its legs around my neck and throttled me if I looked at it sideways. In its more cooked form, it was cooked just right avoiding excessive springiness from overcooking. I ate this with relish while thinking about its harmlessness when in this form.
Lengua de Arguedas – slow cooked ox tongue in picante stew, red onions, beer, panca chilli, confit oca tuber, cress. I do love trying dishes which others might shy away from. Chicken hearts, whale and horse sashimi adventures spring to mind, although I have no doubt eaten more interesting (or maybe more accurately termed disgusting to some) items during my various travels. The ox tongue I found had an interesting texture as I was expecting, soft but with enough muscly tension to keep it from falling apart. Another dish to come back and try again.
Chilli curry prawns. Apparently a house special and only available for a couple of days. This was definitely a big hit and would have been more so for me IF my companions had left me any prawn to taste. Although from my futile scraping of the leftover sauce and prawn heads, it was good. Now if only my kind companions had left me some while I was distracted fiddling with my camera.
Tiradito de Pato Nikkei – duck breast, yuzu tiger’s milk, radish, pomegranate. This dish was a bit ordinary. I am not sure whether I would necessarily order this again. Although not bad, it was not anything special, rather more like pan fried duck breast with tiger’s milk (which is the juices from a ceviche). I admit that we ordered this dish mainly out of curiosity to find out what tiger’s milk tasted like. The answer. Nothing special.
Picarones Doughnuts – pumpkin, purple maize syrup and chocolate fudge. I do love hot doughnuts as they bring back memories of yelling and tearing round an amusement park to the chagrin of my parents when I was a little lad. So I always look to doughnuts to relive these memories. With some lovely vanilla ice cream when combined with the maize syrup and chocolate fudge these were good. Although I think they could have done with a touch more sugar.
Dulce con Café – crema de dulce de leche, passion fruit gelée, cocoa, coffee, red amaranth. This mashed up dish tastes better than it looks. I would pick this over the doughnuts as it was special and sweet enough for my tooth.
Service was friendly and unobtrusively attentive, appearing when needed. The food was decent and at a fair price. Although I am not sure if I would necessarily travel out of my way to eat this given my ambivalence towards Peruvian food now. Maybe, however, it is due to me being overdosed on South American food.
A quiet eating 6.5/10.
Dinner came to GBP20 excluding drinks and service.
1 Redchurch street,