When Andina shut its doors in Shoreditch last July, many feared this was the end for Martin Morales’ sophomore eatery. Having stood on its original site for more than six years, the Redchurch Street restaurant had gained a fierce reputation for serving some of the most exciting Peruvian food in London. Luckily, the pisco-happy haunt did not turn out to be another victim of the pandemic and reopened in Spitalfields in mid-May. Naturally, we went down to welcome them back.
While the old venue will hold a place in many ceviche-loving hearts, I’m happy to report that the new digs have turned Andina into a younger, hotter and bigger version of its former self. Alongside an expanded 80-seater dining space, the venue fronts a slinky basement taqueria, Bar Mistura, and a prime location right in the heart of Commercial Street.
And the people have noticed.
The place is absolutely packed when we walk in on a Friday night - and they haven’t even opened Mistura at this point. The staff seem unflustered by the hubbub, seating us swiftly and smilingly on a table by the bar. First up is an Andina must - the pisco sour (£8.50). Sharp, smokey and sweet, the bartenders have got their signature drink down to a fine art. We paired our cocktails with a couple of snacks - a squid jalea (£8) and some gelatinous pork belly bites (£5). My boyfriend demolishes the whole bowl of squid in minutes, but the few morsels I did manage to wrestle away from him were salty and crisp, with the accompanying Amarillo chilli mayonnaise bringing some welcome heat.
Next up? It’s ceviche time. A speciality of both Andina and sister restaurant, Ceviche, this Peruvian classic comes in a range of guises. We opt for the tuna ceviche (£11), a sharp, colourful mound of cubed fish, pink pickled onion, black radish and pineapple basking in a puddle of rocoto chilli tiger’s milk. The dish is bright and acidic, with a salty hit of samphire and a satisfying combination of soft fish and crunchy garnishes adding plenty of texture to every mouthful. We’ve also grabbed a plate of the Peruvian ceviche (£9.50), which offers a pared-back but no less potent mix of sustainable chunks of sea bass, sweet potato, red onion and cancha corn nuts.
With tiger’s milk pooling on our plates, our main dish arrives. The corn cake (£8) is one of the best value plates of food I have ever had, if you’re judging on flavour-per-pound sterling. Composed of fresh sweetcorn, rich buttery batter and flanked by a dollop of chilli-cheese Huancaina sauce, it’s at once too much to handle and impossible to stop eating.
The DesignMyNight Digest
To say it's a blessing that Andina has lived to serve another ceviche is an understatement. The menu continues to excite, both on paper and in the execution, helping to keep Peruvian eats up there with London's most popular cuisines. I’d highly recommend a weekend visit to really feel the buzz of their new space, but even a quiet evening here would be something to shout about.
You can find Andina Spitalfields at 60-62 Commercial Street, London E1 6LT. And if you're looking for more of London's best Peruvian restaurants, we've rounded up our favourites here.