As though Peruvian food wasn’t trendy enough already, the latest restaurant on the scene boasts a separate pisco bar too, and has just set down roots in the heart of Shoreditch… With all the ready ingredients for a good night out, my gal pals and I headed East to Ceviche Old Street (sister to Ceviche Soho) for a much-needed midweek rescue.
We loved the spacious feel and laid-back vibes from the moment we walked in. The restaurant is housed in a historic space, having taken over the Alexandra Trust Dining Room (established in 1898 to feed the poor in the area). Original features such as the bare tiles stand out, but more so against the contemporary and colourful Peruvian artwork decorating the walls. Red booths and rich mahogany furniture provide a cosy setting, with an L-shaped layout separating the bar (a large space in itself) from the dining area. Our fellow diners varied from couples sharing an intimate tête-à-tête to an elderly group of friends catching up, all at ease in the relaxed and leisurely ambience.
The menu is a dream. Avo-aficionados are in for a treat, as avocado is used generously, not to mention creatively, to lend a rich and creamy texture to most dishes. Inescapably tempted by everything on offer, one of our group who had initially joined in only for our (brilliant) company, actually rescheduled her blood test the next morning so that she could do the food justice… It was a good decision.
We started off with ceviche marinated in Amarillo chilli tiger’s milk for a subtle tinge of spice balanced by a zingy lemon juice. The beautifully presented Palteado was a delicious fusion of avocado, amaranth, beetroot coulis and asparagus, that would win over even the purest of carnivores.
My non-veggie friend went for the signature Don Ceviche: seabass, sweet potato, red onions, limo chilli. Judging by her expression while tucking in, we took that she more than enjoyed it.
Highlights also included enticing salads packed with Peruvian staples along with seasonal British vegetables. We especially loved the Ensalada sierra, a delicate but flavoursome mix of pearl quinoa, Hass avocado, tomato, goldenberry coulis and broad beans in a limo chilli vinaigrette.
Causa Milagros was like nothing we’ve ever tasted before (in a good way), a cold mash of beetroot and potato, topped with (you guessed it) avocado, sweet potato and mayo. While the Sacha Inchi Greens (essentially just green beans), seasoned with cauliflower flakes, omega 3 Amazon oil and lime, also went down surprisingly fast.
We couldn’t resist the quinoa burger, dressed with Kiwi yoghurt and amarillo chilli mayo. Very moreish. So much so in fact, that I actually dug up the winning formula by Martin Morales, owner of Ceviche and the man we have to thank for bringing Peru to London’s doorsteps (here’s the link in case you’re interested: http://www.bbc.co.uk/food/recipes/quinoa_burger_cassava_43753).
All washed down with a Pisco sour of course. The Andean Mule was a refreshing choice, infused with ginger, lime, Peruvian Chuncho bitters and ginger beer. The hearty size of the drinks was also refreshing, a change from cocktails half drowning in ice.
We unanimously agreed on the richly denseLúcuma cream and cancha corn, served with deliciously crunchy chilli meringue sticks.
We left already planning our next Peruvian foray, this time to check out Andina, Morales’ other eatery located just a few streets away.
Ceviche Old Street, 2 Baldwin Street, London EC1V 9NU