The Culture Trip reports on Arepa and Co, a trail blazing Haggerston restaurant which is bringing Venezuelan food to East London.
Haggerston, London N1 is situated close to part of Regent’s canal and is becoming a hang-out hot spot at the weekend. The bankside is starting to bubble with cute little riverside cafes and food joints. One establishment to try out is Arepa and Co which serves up delicious Venezuelan food to the locals and London’s South American population who flock there in the evenings and at the weekend.
Nestled in amongst the social housing, gentrified Victorian properties and industrial warehouse buildings, you’ll find this idyllic waterside cafe. The expanse of windows gives you a relaxing view across the canal which is priceless. With seating outside, you can enjoy the fresh air on a sunny day and soak up the creative local vibe.
Starting out with a stall at Camden Market at the weekends, Arepa and Co opened up this permanent cafe due to popular demand. They offer up Venezuelan food which pays homage to traditional dishes but with a contemporary update. It’s really no nonsense nosh with simple ingredients and packed full of flavour.
If you head there at the weekend you can try the breakfast which is served from 10am until 4pm. The vegetarian plates consist of scrambled eggs with cheese or a more filling alternative with roasted vegetables, plantains plus black beans. The meaty alternatives feature Perico, which is scrambled eggs, onions and tomatoes, with beef, black beans, cheese and plantains. There is also a chicken version with guacamole, black beans, cheese and plantains. This offering certainly makes a pleasant change from the usual English fry up.
Most dishes come with the choice of an Arepas or Cachapas. The Arepa is 100% cornbread and shaped like a pocket sandwich which is split open and stuffed with your choice of fillings. The Cachapa is a sweet tasting corn pancake which is often filled and then folded over. You can select which one you’d prefer and then opt for one of the fillings from chicken and guacamole, shredded beef with cheddar, artisan cheeses, black beans with plantains and cheddar, roasted veg and goats cheese plus and more.
If you’re feeling particularly hungry there are a couple of main meals. You can try Pabellon, which is the National dish of Venezuela. This features rice, shredded beef and black beans. Or you can go for Hallaca which is cornmeal wrapped in plantain leaves with beef, chicken and pork shoulder which comes with a salad. Side dishes include plantain variations, coleslaw, shredded beef, etc.
The selection of Pasapalos are great if you just want something to nibble on while enjoying a cocktail. These are little starters which were traditionally served at weddings. The Pasapalos options include cassava fingers with homemade garlic and parsley sauce plus cheese pastries with sugar cane and tamarind sauce.
The bar offers up plenty of rum cocktails with the focus on the Venezuelan brand called Santa Teresa Rum. Try the authentic cocktail called Guarapita which is made with sugar cane lemonade, passion fruit juice with gold and orange rum. They also feature classics like Rum Sour, Mojito and Daiquiri.
The interiors are unpretentious and relaxing. Its concrete walls, exposed air-con pipes and wooden floors. Flashes of colour come from hammocks and bright chairs. The expanse of windows give you a fantastic view of Regent’s Canal. The space isn’t very large inside but with seating on the balcony area, you might be lucky to get yourself a seat.
100% Venezuelan cuisine.
On the banks of Regents Canal in Haggerston which is close to Kingsland Road and Hoxton. The address is
Arepas of course, especially as the restaurant is named after them!
Evening cocktails or enjoy breakfast at the weekend with friends.