Spotlight On: Casita Andina
Casita Andina, a new restaurant from Ceviche founder Martin Morales, opened in Soho on 28th July, Peruvian Independence Day. Located at 31 Great Windmill Street, Casita Andina has a different menu, style and offer than Martin’s other unique one-off restaurants but as always serves beautiful dishes and drinks with extraordinary flavours and great value for money.
Casita Andina is inspired by Peruvian ‘picanterias’, family-run, traditional restaurants which serve the local community and travellers. Usually found in the Andes in the homes of ‘Andinas’ (women from the Andes), Martin grew up eating in such picanterias, gaining his love and knowledge of cooking from his Andina grandmother’s recipes. Martin draws from these memories to create an intimate, charming ‘home from home’ for anyone eating there. So important to Peruvian heritage are picanterias that in 2015 they were awarded Places of National Cultural Heritage by the Peruvian government.
Casita Andina’s lunch menu includes 5 nibbles, 5 hot dishes, 5 cold dishes and 2 desserts. From £2 to £9. A la carte or any 2 for £10. Great value, quick, light and exquisite. The dinner menu is more extensive.
The menu’s focus is on evolving classic Andean soulful cooking just like those served by the mothers who run picanterias in the Andes. These include Pork Tamale with Salsa Criolla, Lamb Loin in Coriander and Beer Sauce, Grilled Salmon Escabeche, Crispy Aubergine with Uchucuta Herbs, 52 day-aged Sirloin Steak Pachamanca, Chupe Style Prawns, Rocoto Chilli with Skate Stuffing, Watermelon, Queso Fresco and Pink Quinoa Salad and Ceviche Casita with sustainable sea bass, limo chilli tiger’s milk, avocado cream and sweet potato. The menu also includes dessert of Choco Sauco, a melt-in-the-middle Peruvian chocolate with an elderberry gel and chocolate coated amaranth.
“In the last 2 years my team and I have travelled to Peru several times to deeply research regional Andean dishes, drinks and ingredients as well as history, art and traditions. From this we have created new dishes and drinks based on local traditions some of which date back hundreds of years. And at Casita Andina I also want to celebrate the textile legacy of the Andes of Peru. So through our dishes, art and design is a key colourful theme running through it” says Martin Morales.
Working in harmony with the Andes, many picanterias are attached to farms, orchards or allotments and they all use local and sustainable produce. Paying homage to this gastronomic heritage, Casita Andina’s menu incorporates both nutritious Andean ingredients such as rocoto chilli, lucuma fruits, quinoa, maca and amaranth, and also a majority of ingredients from selected British farms. The kitchen is headed by Executive Chef Vitelio Reyes who was previously at Lima Floral and the Bar is headed by Miguel Arbe who was a finalist at this year’s Imbibe Innovator of the Year Award; both have travelled to Peru with Martin.
With Casita Andina Martin and his team have done something different to anything theye’ve done before. For many years the site for Casita Andina was a restaurant called ‘The Little Cottage’ due to its small and charming size and layout. Martin and his team have continued this heritage, but created a cute picanteria, and have brought the charm back to Soho. Anyone with a love for food, fashion, textiles, style and art will enjoy Casita Andina.
Designed by Martin Morales and Cantor Masters Interior Designers, Casita Andina has the look and feel of a welcoming home, with 58 seats set across two small cosy floors and a basement kitchen. Contemporary textiles using ancient Andean weaving and embroidery techniques feature in the seating, carved cedar wood from Peru adorns the doors, hand crafted tin mirrors made by a top Peruvian artesian maker feature on the walls, while artworks by top contemporary Peruvian artists are shown throughout. All this is a further reflection of the deep heritage, tradition and chic touches that Casita Andina draw upon. On the ground floor there is a ceviche counter with a takeaway area, a pisco bar and cosy seating at the end of the room. The upper floor is a bright 30-seat dining room leading out to an open air patio seating 8.
Casita Andina, 31 Great Windmill Street, Soho, London, W1D 7LP
Covers: 58 inside plus 8 on the outside patio
Opening Hours: 11am – midnight 7 days a week
– Issued by Fraser Communications on behalf of Casita Andina –
For more information, please contact Dominique Fraser at Fraser Communications