Venezuelan in London: Mi cocina es tuya

I recently had some serious cravings for South American food.  It started with booking in to go to Buen Ayre for Argentinian steak. (This happened and probably not blogged about yet because I am still full.) Then, I was reminded of this amazing but elusive arepa I once had a Maltby Street but never saw again...until I learned they have a permanent cafe near Elephant and Castle.  This then led me to look up and drool over Columbian restaurants near Elephant and Castle.  Anyways, somehow, all of that culminated at a Venezuelan cafe Mi Cocina es Tuya in Crystal Palace.  I don't know.

Anyways, I'm very happy to have discovered this adorable restaurant.  Also, this marks the first time in Crystal Palace, woo!  Don't worry, there are plenty of pubs nearby too...win.  The restaurant is very small, full of personalized decor, and clearly family owned...win again.  Seriously, I love places like this.


In atypical fashion, we decided to order some sugarcane rum cocktails.  This was a very good decision because they turned out to be enormous and potent!

Arepas are definitely necessary in this situation.  To start, we got the mini cheese arepas.  I've never had bite sized arepas but I can now confirm I approve of them.  The cheese is mixed into it, giving them a soft and creamy texture.

Next we tried the cassava fingers with a latin chorizo.  Cassava is a starchy root vegetable that I almost never eat.  It is slightly tougher than potatoes and understandably is perfect for frying.  The chorizo was ok, but lacked the spice of most chorizos that I so love.  It was at this stage I was introduced to the very addictive garlic coriander chili mayo as seen below.  We proceeded to put this on everything. 

Next we had a pabellon de pernil, a dish of over roasted pork with plantains, black beans and rice.  I enjoyed the plantains the most, partly because roasted pork has never been very thrilling to me, but mostly because I adore plantains cooked like this...fried, soft and slightly sweet. The black beans were delicious too.

The best and most surprising part of this meal was the tres leches cake.  We were not even contemplating dessert but was roped into it by a regular customer who was eating it next to us.  I found it charming that the cake was baked in a small dish that I probably own, and was taken out of a mini fridge that I definitely owned in college.  Holy crap this was so good.  They were not kidding when they said tres leches as this included three of the richest fattiest leches.  The result is an incredibly sweet and gooey cake with a thick layer of whipped topping, and lots of cinnamon.  As predicted, this put me completely out of commission.

Apart from the dessert, the food wasn't necessarily top notch, but I loved the atmosphere and the very friendly and personalized service.  The owner was so nice and gave us a few shots of something sweet at the end.  This type of hospitality is unheard of in London and I am always delighted to be reminded that it does indeed still exist within reach. #

Mi Cocina Es Tuya - Café Latino on Urbanspoon

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