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Peruvian cuisine champion Martin Morales returns to his Ceviche turf with this well-judged, vivacious restaurant that provides a taste of the Andes on a predominantly gluten-free menu. The tall, narrow site is classic Soho and suits this purpose well; the steep staircase and close quarters are reminiscent of a house party. Bright accessories spray colour throughout, while the predominantly neutral walls and furnishings help ease any claustrophobia. The ground-floor bar and dining room leads to a more spacious first floor, which even incorporates a tiny turquoise dining terrace at the rear. If the term ‘gluten-free’ doesn’t inspire you, rest assured that flavour isn’t sacrificed. The menu is packed with delicious-sounding intrigue, such as chilli-marinated cauliflower, or lamb sweetbreads with dark beer sauce. Our tamal, a corn ‘dumpling’ of pork, was a grey misstep, but every other dish impressed us. Don’t miss the mildly spiced, moist black pudding on quinoa toast, or chilli-pressed watermelon and black quinoa salad: an addictive balance of fruit juice and chocolatey accents. Well-trained staff can navigate you through these honestly priced small plates, but don’t leave without ordering the Peruvian chocolate ball, encasing elderberry gel and scattered with puffed chocolate rice. As you’d expect, Pisco Sours are exemplary – and preferable to the more experimental cocktails. Gluten-free smoothies, great coffee and a Latin wines specials board mean that this casita also works as an easy-going drink stop. Four restaurants in, Martin Morales has proved that when it comes to casual Peruvian food, he’s the one to beat.
When I heard Martin Morales, the man who kickstarted the Peruvian food revolution in London, opened another Peruvian gem called Casita Andina in Soho, I knew I had to go. Martin is the brains behind Ceviche restaurants as well as the Michelin-recommended Andina in Shoreditch.Casita Andina is inpsired by ‘picanterias’ or traditional family-run restaurants usually found in the old homes of Andes locals. The cooking here is a homage to Cusco cuisine in the Andes and aims to celebrate fresh, nutritious Peruvian ingredients paired with sustainable British produce. The menu is a gold mine for gluten-free eating, so...
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Signature Recipe by Casita Andina - Trout Tiradito - Serves 1
80g trout fillet
40ml amarillo tiger’s milk (See below)
3 nasturtium leaves
2g amaranth seeds
15g purple (heritage) potatoes, boiled and mashed
15g trout roe
For the amarillo tiger’s milk
A small piece of fresh ginger, cut in half
1 garlic clove, cut in half
4 sprigs of coriander
Juice of 4 limes
1⁄4 teaspoon of salt
2 teaspoons of PK Peruvian Kitchen Amarillo Chilli Sauce
For the tiger’s milk, add the fresh ginger, garlic, coriander and lime juice into a bowl. Stir then leave to infuse for five minutes. Strain the mixture through a sieve. Add the salt and the chilli paste, mix thoroughly and taste to ensure the balance of flavours are correct. Set aside.
Boil the potatoes and mash into a smooth purée and leave to cool. Shape the mashed potato into a cylinder shape and cut into discs.
Prepare the amaranth seeds in a hot pan and heat until they open.
Place the trout fillets and potato discs on a serving plate. Place the trout roe on the potato. Pour the tiger’s milk generously on the dish and sprinkle the amaranth seeds. Garnish with the nasturtium leaves and serve immediately.
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