Knowing little to nothing about Peruvian food, I ventured into Andina a couple of months ago expecting to devour giant plates of grilled red meat, slathered in spicy sauce, imagining the food to be much akin to the Brazilian joints you get across the UK where you pay £25 for an all-you-can-eat meat buffet. I couldn’t have been more wrong. The authentic Peruvian fare served up at Andina was sophisticated, colourful and extremely exciting. My palette was awakened from the very first mouthful. But just one trip here wasn’t enough to truly understand this intriguing cuisine. So calling upon my trusty foodie friend, I took a trip to Andina’s sister restaurant, located at the heart of London’s Soho: Ceviche.
Ceviche’s menu is completed different to that of Andina, but has the same flare for flavour injected into an array of small plates for sharing. Six to seven dishes are recommended for two people, however, I would say four is plenty for lunchtime (unless of course you are particularly peckish).
Ceviche’s cooking is bold and confident. Each bite packs a punch, whether this be the zesty lime that cuts through the creamy, spicy amarillo chilli sauce that immerses morsels of succulent sea bass for the don ceviche (£8), or the intensely meaty jus that soaks into al dente rice and glistens on chunks of rare beef fillet for the lomo altado (£13).
The pulpo al olivo (£12) – octopus marinated in Peruvian black sauce and then grilled, served with a salad of black lentils, herbs, feta and chilli – was a star dish, extremely succulent with a masterful balance of sweet and savoury. And the asparagus huancaina (£5.50) was the surprise delight. The unusual (to my palette at least) pairing of earthy grilled green asparagus with crushed toasted corn kernels and a creamy yet light fresh cheese and amarillo chilli sauce, was an elegant dish both in flavour and presentation.
We finished our meal with one of the best espressos (£1) I’ve ever had (and I drink a LOT of coffee). Strong yet balanced, the silky coffee had an intense bitter-sweet cocoa finish, as if letting a square of dark chocolate melt on your tongue. The perfect way to round of this whirlwind of a meal and bring my tastebuds back down to earth!
17 Frith Street,
T: 020 7292 2040
Open 12:00-23:30 Mon-Sat; 12:00-22:15 Sun *kitchen closed 15:00-17:00 Mon-Thurs