Andina London & Loungelover (Shoreditch)

For someone who claims to be a culture craving chica, my limited – no, non-existent – experience of Peruvian cuisine may shock some of you. In fact, up until a few days ago when my uber-generous friend took my out for a belated birthday treat, the word ‘Peruvian’ had never made its way to my mouth, despite the fact I’m jetting off to Peru in October. I think that’s what they call a ‘hashtag fail’. And, good Lord, I’ve been missing out!

The folks at Andina recommend three tapas dishes per person, so we went for a selection of nibbles (thick cut chips and crunchy corn) and a couple of causas CAUS’A we had to (sorry). The chicken and avocado causa was divine, and the salmon tartare said ‘ta ta’ as soon as the fork reached my tongue. We double dropped quinoa in the form of a burger and a dumpling. This modern Picanteria only serves the best of Andean cooking – the soul food of Peru – so you can nibble away knowing you’re indulging on the healthiest of the yummies. The food was absolutely DELISH and I was pretty close to slapping etiquette in the face, just so I could lick up the remnants of the huancaina sauce (where chili meets cheese).

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Common decency totally went out the window when my Pisco Sour came along – it demanded a good ole slurping. The cocktails were just… *dribble*. I’m totally living on Pisco when I’m in Peru – I’ll be “pisced” a lot, but who cares? The Malbec, as you might expect from a South American hotspot, was rich and spicy. If the gorgeous grub and drool-worthy drinks weren’t enough, the restaurant features art work by Peru’s best artists, so you can satisfy all your senses in one fair swoop to Shoreditch.

After dinner, determined to embrace Friday night for all it was worth, we headed to Loungelover. Gotta love that lounge. The waitress looked like she’d wandered out of Britain’s Next Top Model and the barmen had flirting down to a fine art. Don’t be surprised if they wink as they top up your Espresso Martini by a cheeky (and probably extra) shot of vodka. For seconds, we opted for a Peruvian Princess. She was a cheeky minx and it was this last cocktail that saw the collapse of my jaw line, legs and liver, so I sent my Princess butt back to Brighton.

All in all, a great night – thank you, Victoria!

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