Brunch in London: Peruvian in the East, British in the West

If you live for Sundays and enjoy whiling time away with friends over a good meal, it’s not a far-fetched assumption that you enjoy gathering the gang for brunch. It’s almost perfect – you get to combine breakfast and lunch, and you can even use it as an excuse to justify having a Bloody Mary (or two) before noon.

The only downside I can see is getting a tad too hungry waiting for everyone to get there, order their food, and so on, and wolfing down a huge meal in brief seconds leaving you feeling like you’ve swallowed a balloon.

Recently I went to a couple of places where the food is genuinely healthy, portions are just the right size, and perfectly nutritious to boot!

I came across an article on the Londonist about the best spots to eat breakfast from around the world in London (yes, that’s right!). One of the places immediately caught my eye and made the ‘To Try’ list. Andina is a Peruvian all-day restaurant in Shoreditch which serves healthy meals with traditional recipes and ingredients from the Peruvian Andes, such as quinoa porridge, ceviche with tiger milk, and tomato jam. How cool and exotic is that?
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We ordered fresh juices: Green Pimiento (green pepper, cucumber, kale, ginger) for my fellow blogger Lidiya, and Ekeko (carrot, melon, pear, maca, ginger) for me. Lidiya had the Quinoa croquetas with ricoto chili sauce (left) and the Cassava chips with andean herb & nut dip (right).

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My order was of an even more experimental nature. I tried the traditional Ceviche Morado (left) with salmon, avocado, red peppers, blueberries (ahem, yes) and purple maize tiger’s milk. To top it all off, there was an actual flower in my plate! We also shared the Cachangas (the menu defined them as Andean crisp toast bread with tomato jam), which we envisioned as toast coated with salsa. We were surprised to get what looked and tasted like pastry (right) but was very yummy nonetheless.

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We went for a walk around Shoreditch and took in all the colour and the artful character of the Old Spitalfields Market. I even bagged myself a new hand-crafted grunge-looking ring.

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Funnily enough, our walk took us all the way back to Trafalgar Square, and the National Gallery in particular, where we set our creative selves free and spent a meditative hour sketching paintings. I shall not post a picture of my sketch, as an artist should never show unfinished work. Either that, or I’m just not sure it’s good enough to show, but let’s assume it’s the former.

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On a separate occasion (not even I can take two brunches in the same day!), I met the girls at High Street Kensington and we went to Bumpkin to celebrate Dani’s birthday (again, at a brunch party Bloody Mary’s are perfectly fine to have!). It’s a cosy British brasserie with a countryside feel, and is often quoted as one of the top places in London for organic food.

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I had the Pearl Barley Risotto with foraged mushrooms and chervil roots which tasted like heaven on that chilly morning. Nice and filling, thank you very much!

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Dani enjoying some of her birthday presents. She looked particularly ecstatic when she opened the Fortnum & Mason box to find a selection of macaroons… Who wouldn’t be, really?

Taking a long stroll after a nice relaxed brunch has become something of a tradition, so we headed for Kensington Gardens. Unfortunately, the biting wind outside turned what should have been a long stroll into a brisk walk to the nearest coffee shop. I optimistically took the little bird chirping on the wall as a promise of spring. That’s why I look so happy, but Maggie isn’t convinced. Or she just doesn’t care much! xx

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