Great indoors: Arepa – the best kept secret in Latin American cuisine in London

In London you can dine out in any part of the world. The best kept secret in Latin American themed restaurants is Arepa, specialised in Venezuelan cuisine strictly home made with ingredients imported from Venezuela. Restaurant Venezuela Arepa Monica chillaxing The owners of this cosy restaurant with a lovely view in the Haggerston  Canal (very near to Islington and the City) are new parents Augusto and Katherine. They told me they had no catering experience but instead an academic background in engineering. What motivated them to open a Venezuelan diner was their passion to spread their own food culture. They wanted to offer food they have always known from home which is nutritious, healthy and easy to make. This seems an easy recipe for success and it certainly is for them who also look after their lovely newborn Mathias while taking care the business. I am Italian and hence food runs in my veins. I love both eating and cooking but I am fussy as well and I don't compromise on quality. No pressure on those inviting me to dinner. I did not know what to order from their extensive menu so I asked for a recommendation. My brief: I wanted to try the most typical Venezuelan lunch.

Restaurant Venezuela Arepa meal

They served me a Pavellon, a corn based bread (similar to the Italian Polenta in taste) filled with slow cooked juicy and tender beef, frijoles black beans and platanos bananas - a combination I would have never dared putting together but which works really really well. It is extremely nutritious so much so that you fill satisfied until dinner & beyond with no need for other snacks. And believe it or not it is gluten free too (in case you have wheat allergy) but super tasty. This big 'sandwich' came with a plate of roots veggies that looked like fried potatoes but not greasy at all. Augusto told me that the roots get boiled first and then dipped in frying oil for only 15 seconds. I guess this is great tip we could easily apply to potatoes / chips, courgettes etc Genius!

Restaurant Venezuela Arepa roots veggies

As a drink I was served a non alcoholic juice freshly made with a very refreshing sugar cane and lime. It did not include any sugar whatsoever but was naturally very sweet. Lovely! I could have drunk at least 5 of them! Ideal place for parents with kids. In the best South American tradition families are very welcome and catered for. It is super easy to reach not just if you are in the Islington / Haggerston area but a train connects it directly with Clapham Junction in just 20 minutes. Arepa gets my 10/10 stars for the quality of the food, the service, the cordiality of its owners, its child friendliness, cleanliness and the brilliant canal view! You can find Arepa and Co at 58a De Beauvoir Crescent - Haggerston - London N1 5SB  - 020 79233507 http://arepaandco.com/

About Monica Costa

Monica Costa founded London Mums in September 2006 after her son Diego’s birth together with a group of mothers who felt the need of meeting up regularly to share the challenges and joys of motherhood in metropolitan and multicultural London. London Mums is the FREE and independent peer support group for mums and mumpreneurs based in London http://londonmumsmagazine.com and you can connect on Twitter @londonmums

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