Casita Andina, a new restaurant from Ceviche founder Martin Morales, is to open in Soho on 28th July, Peruvian Independence Day.
Located on Great Windmill Street, 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 will draw on these memories to create an intimate, charming ‘home from home’ with Castia Andina, representing the world of the Andes in the centre of London.
“With Casita Andina we want to do something different to anything we’ve done before,” says Martin. “The site has a great restaurant heritage, once called ‘The Little Cottage’.
“We want to build on that heritage, turning it into a cute picanteria, and bringing the charm back into Soho. Our focus is on incredible flavours; honest dishes full of tradition, and organic, sustainable ingredients. And my love for the Andes will come through its celebration of dishes and drinks, textiles and textures.”
So important to Peruvian heritage are picanterias that in 2015 they were awarded Places of National Cultural Heritage by the Peruvian government. Working in harmony with the Andes, many are attached to farms, orchards or allotments and they all use local and sustainable produce.
Paying homage to this gastronomic heritage of the picanteria, Casita Andina’s menu will incorporate traditional Andean dishes and snacks as well as new creations featuring both healthy Andean ‘superfood’ ingredients such as quinoa, maca and amaranth, and also those from British farms. The kitchen is headed by Executive Chef Vitelio Reyes who was previously Senior Sous Chef at Lima Floral and has travelled to Peru on a number of occasions, most recently with Martin.
Designed by Martin Morales and Cantor Masters Interior Designers, Casita Andina will have 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 techniques will feature in the seating, while artworks by top Peruvian artists will adorn the walls, a further reflection of the deep heritage, tradition and chic touches that Casita Andina will draw upon.
On the ground floor will be a ceviche counter, a pisco bar, a takeaway area, and cosy seating at the end of the room. On the upper floor will be a bright 30-seat dining room leading out to an open air patio seating 8.