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Cafe Sanjuan

Restaurant - South American

Serving a unique Caribbean-Colombian combo, Cafe Sanjuan is the creation of Luis Felipe Sanjuan, who hails from Barranquilla, a bustling seaport on the Caribbean coast of Colombia – his mum Viviana helps in the kitchen to keep it real; his dad, also Luis Felipe, does deliveries.

Breakfast, burritos and butties are the name of the game here, with fritos, or fried snacks, and home-made salsas on the side. Of the latter, jammy chilli churry and garlic-pumped hollandaise-style ajonice are the least dangerous, and perfect with the fries or churros; rosada, on the other hand, is infused with bourbon. That should put a spring in your morning step. The fresh corn-based arepas and empanadas are popular, and the papa is vast – a golden ball of potato, stuffed with your choice of filling (brisket, or slow-cooked chicken, or beans, for example), then San Miguel battered and fried.

Perico scrambled eggs make it into the Sanjuan sandwich special, with bangers and bagel, and the Colombian full breakfast, alongside chipotle habaneros sausages, fried plantain, beans, guacamole and perfectly round arepa cornmeal cakes. Plantain, caramelised on the grill this time, and those spicy Colombian sausages are choices of fillings for the despacito – a flour tortilla grilled and topped with a mix of feta, halloumi and hard mozzarella; plenty of the dishes can be ordered vegetarian without anyone batting an eye. Viva Caribe is full-on meat free: a sweetcorn pancake topped with mixed beans and guacamole, and sprinkled with house-pickled shallot and fennel. Another Sanjuan innovation are the eggless brioche finger rolls housing slow-cooked pulled chicken in the pollo loco and frio dishes.

Come on the weekend, and off-menu items win the popular vote. You get what you’re given, pretty much, but think lechona – a whole hog stuffed with rice and peas served with crackling and arepas – or fried red snapper with smoked coconut rice and mango for a fiesta of flavour.

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