This March Arepa & Co, the home of Venezuelan cooking in London, will throw open the doors of their new restaurant on Bethnal Green’s Paradise Row. Husband and Wife, Gus and Kathe opened Arepa & Co Haggerston as a home from home for the Venezuelan community back in 2014, which has become synonymous with the vibrant flavours of their native country. The new restaurant will mark the next chapter in the Arepa & Co story, arriving at Paradise Row with a host of brand new dishes rooted in Venezuelan cuisine, but drawing influence from the wider South America and beyond.
Taking inspiration from the industrial surroundings of the Paradise Row arches, the restaurant will open up to a large terrace, with bi-fold doors and a bare brick interior, with an open kitchen at the centre of the room and stools for counter dining at the bar.
On the mezzanine level a private dining area will be available, as well as a brand new selection of cocktails making their debut at Paradise Row. Largely centred around rum, Venezuala’s nation spirit, libations will include the Arepa Sour with rum, lime and Gomme Syrup, and house made softs of Sugar cane lemonade and tropical juices.
Craving arepas whilst living here London, and unable to find any that compared to those back home, the couple met whilst Gus was running the city’s first Arepa Stall at a local market. The pair soon joined forces and spent months painstakingly perfecting their recipes at home, which now take centre stage on the menu. For the new opening, Arepa & Co have created a brand new menu which features Venezuelan classics and a brand new selection of arepa fillings, as well as small plates of Pastelitos, light and fluffy puff pastry parcels, and Hallaquitas, steamed corn dough balls. There will also be traditional dishes of Crispy fried plantain, and Tequenos, a cheese stuffed pastry with a guava sauce. New arepa creations will include Fried chicken, Soft shell crab with chilli mayo and the Sabich, with roasted aubergine, pineapple & coconut chutney and pico de gallo.
Pabellón, which Gus describes as ‘Venezuela on a plate’, will be at the heart of the mains; a traditional dish of shredded beef with black beans, fried plantain, rice and cheese. Other dishes will include Cachapa Pernil, a soft corn pancake with 12 hour braised pork leg with jerk mayo, tomato and avocado salsa, and Fosforera, a hearty seafood soup from the Venezuelan Caribbean coast.
On Saturday’s and Sunday’s Arepa & Co brunches will inject some South American sunshine into the weekend, with Breakfast Criollo, Cachapas ‘La Previsora’, corn pancakes layered with grilled bacon and cheese, and ‘Funche’, a cornmeal based with beef stock, streaky bacon and sugarcane syrup.
‘I’m so proud that I’ve been able to bring the flavours of my home country to London, but I also want to show that Venezuelan cooking can be really creative, not just bound by traditional recipes. The new restaurant will be packed with influences from around the world, taking inspiration from our roots and creating something new and exciting around that’ says Gus ‘We’re so thrilled to be opening our second restaurant in East London – its become our local area, its where we live, and where the Arepa & Co journey really began. We can’t wait to share the new project with our friends and neighbours!’ adds Kathe.