A Venezuelan feast takes over the kitchen at Craving Coffee

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This weekend, the popular cafe hosts pop-up chef Andrea Morena and Caracas Baby.


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Photo: Courtesy Andrea Moreno/ Caracas Baby

C raving Coffee, the popular Markfield Road-based cafe, is well known throughout N17 and beyond for its weekend Tottenham Socials and kitchen takeovers.

Held over the summer months, they’re a great place to try delicious street food, sample craft beers, wines and cocktails and enjoy the latest exhibition on show.

This weekend, it will be debuting Caracas Baby, a new menu from local chef Andrea Moreno. It is named after her home city and the nickname she affectionately bestows upon everyone.

Expect a selection of wholesome, traditional Venezuelan dishes with a twist.

Andrea had spent a year working at Craving Coffee and watching various food traders host pop ups in the cafe before realising she was keen to introduce her own Venezuelan dishes to the line up.

Approaching director Rachel and the team with her ideas, she was offered the opportunity to create a bespoke menu for the event.

Inspired by her molecular chef father and the food of her great grandmother (a very well known cook in Venezuela), Andrea began to practice recreating traditional dishes at home, much to her housemates’ delight.

Living in the UK has meant some ingredients haven’t been available or weren’t quite right for the traditional dishes Andrea wanted to cook. She’s used this challenge to her advantage, swapping out hard-to-come-by ingredients for more readily available alternatives.

Photo: Courtesy Andrea Moreno/ Caracas Baby

A Venezuelan soft cheese has been replaced with burrata, for example.

All Latin American ingredients have been sourced from local market ‘El Pueblito Paisa’, the Seven Sisters destination that’s ‘vibrant, rich and reminds me of home’.

The overall effect is a menu Andrea describes as ‘having all the Venezuelan taste but they aren’t all typical, dishes have a playful vibe’.

A recent trip to New York has also influenced the experience. Here Andrea found that Venezuelan restaurants were a common sight, embedded in the culinary culture of the city.

Food was flavoursome, rich, uncomplicated and a pleasure to eat – an experience she hopes to replicate in London. She’s hand-picked the team working over the weekend to create a relaxed, friendly event for her customers.

In the evening of 29 July, local poet Seki Lynch will also be hosting a poetry evening and encouraging Venezuelan writers to join him and share stories and poems about Venezuelan culture and politics.

Also running alongside this event is Andrea’s own art exhibition, Venezuelan Scenarios | Hugo Chavez: The God Of The Children Of Violence.

Photo: Courtesy Andrea Moreno/ Caracas Baby

The work criticises the excess of propaganda which pervades the Venezuelan nation, drawing on influences from cave paintings to Santaría, Brujería to Aboriginal ceramics, creating little deities and altars throughout the cafe to the self-titled god, Hugo Chavez, whose influence on the country still runs deep long after his death.

The exhibition also shows Andrea’s latest collaboration with architects RMF Studio – a collection of beautiful designer wallpapers.

We can’t wait to see Andrea and her team in action and sample something delicious and new. Here is a selection of favourite dishes she will be serving on the night.

Small dishes:

Tequeños – Cheese sticks made from pastry, stuffed with soft young cheese and served with a spicy guava sauce on the side

Vuelvealavida – Sea bass cooked in a spicy tomato and lime marinade, served with Topochos on the side.

Large dishes:

Arepas – a flat corn flour bread

Dominó of Burrata – Arepa topped with black beans, burrata and a yellow spicy Peruvian pepper sauce

Pelúa of Lamb and Cheddar – Arepa topped with slow cooked pulled lamb, greased cheddar, fried sweet plantains and guasacaca (a Venezuelan guacamole blended with vinegar, garlic, peppers and onion)

Reina Crayfish – Arepa topped with Crayfish mixed with avocado and mayo.

 

Words by Dannie Price

 

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Caracas Baby at Craving Coffee, July 27-29 from 6pm onwards. For more information go to the event’s Facebook page, check out Andrea Moreno’s artTottenham Social Pop Ups or Craving Coffee Map  

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