Arepa & Co, Haggerston’s home to Venezuelan cooking, has confirmed it will open a second restaurant next month, taking over the Paradise Row venue left vacant by the departure of Robin Gill’s Paradise Garage last October.
Husband and wife team Gus and Kathe Salguero opened the original Arepa & Co in 2014, a restaurant that quickly became synonymous with the flavours of their native Venezuela, attracting hordes of diners to its light-filled canalside location seeking their celebrated South American-inspired brunches and cocktails.
This time around, the pair say their new restaurant, which will feature a more spartan, industrial fit-out focussed on a central open kitchen, and a large terrace, will feature all-new menus which will continue to be rooted in their Venezuelan heritage, while taking a greater influence from the wider South American region and beyond.
Speaking of this broad influence, Gus said:
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.
The new menu will of course feature Arepa & Co’s trademark arepas, alongside traditional small plates of pastelitos, hallaquitas, and tequenos — a cheese-stuffed pastry served with a guava sauce. Pabellón, a traditional dish of shredded beef with black beans, fried plantain, rice and cheese, which Gus describes as “Venezuela on a plate”, will be central to the mains on offer at Paradise Row, which will also include cachapa pernil — a soft corn pancake with braised pork leg, jerk mayo, and tomato and avocado salsa — and a hearty seafood soup from Venezuela’s Caribbean coast called fosforera.
The genre-bending brunches for which Arepa & Co’s Haggerston original is so loved will also continue in Bethnal Green, with weekend menus featuring the likes of breakfast criollo, and cachapas “La Previsora” — corn pancakes layered with grilled bacon and cheese.