Escape to Latin America with a little help from Chef Raku from Lona Misa.

Viva La Veg with Lona Misa

As autumn falls and we find ourselves easing into a season of cooler times, lightweight layers and evenings in, THE UPSIDE seeks a new code of comfort, one that makes space for lounging and living well. There is something meditative about cooking from scratch that evokes a sense of peace and accomplishment.

Similarly, trying new things is energising, offering reprieve from our usual routines…So why not break from the norm and escape to Latin America with a little help from a rebel–with-a-cuisine Isa Raku, executive chef at cult eatery Lona Misa in Melbourne’s South Yarra.

A vegan-ish vanguard plating up house favourites like smoked watermelon tostadas and a mock meat “chicken” tamale, Raku has graciously shared with us a few warming recipes to ward off those Autumn/Winter blues…Surprisingly simple to whip up and sure to give Friday nights a fresh flavour, try your hand at Raku’s Coconut Ceviche, Huancaina and/or Mojo Picon. In the words of the renaissance woman herself, Viva Le Veg.

Want to know more about Lona Misa? Head to Lona Misa’s website here.





Serves 2

 Ceviche Mix

100g Pink oyster mushrooms, torn
40g Diced cucumber
15 Radish, julienne
15g Green tomatoes, thinly sliced
20 finely diced red onion
1/2 each Jalapeños, deseeded & diced

Place green tomatoes in a circle in the bottom of a plate. Season with s&p. Mis the other ingredients in a bowl and dress with your ceviche dressing. Season well. Place the mis on the tomatoes and finish with coriander cress.

Ceviche Dressing

100ml fresh coconut water
10g fish sauce
1/2 sheet Kombu
15g lime juice
5g fermented chilli
4g grated ginger



Bring coconut water, fish sauce and Kombu to boil, turn down to low and reduce by 1/3, cool. Add in remaining ingredients.





Serves 2

Mushroom Pinchos: Mojo Picon

50g Minced garlic
2.5g Chilli flakes
2.5g Turmeric
10g Cumin ground
7.5g Coriander ground
2.5g Oregano
10g Sweet pap
2.5g Ground black pepper
Zest and juice of 1 lemon
50ml Evoo
37.5ml Lemon juice
7.5g Sugar
400g Blue oyster mushroom
1 Lemon cheek



Skewer your oyster mushrooms. Combine all the ingredients for your marinade. Baste the mushrooms in the mojo picon. On a hot grill cook the mushrooms until they become languid. They should be soft and pliable. On your serving plate, place a spoonful of huaciana. Add the mushroom onto the plate off centre. Finish with a lemon cheek. 


Huancaina Sauce 

1 brown onion,sliced
1/2 each yellow capsicum, sliced 

75g toasted peanuts
1Tsp Yellow chilli paste
2each fresh bay leaves
2.5g oregano
to taste salt
to taste pepper
200g silken tofu
100g aioli 

In a hot pan cook for about 10 min or until completely cooked the onions, red capsicum, yellow chilli paste, fresh bay leaves and oregano. Trandfer to a small tray and allow to cool down. When completely cold, add the sofrito to the vitamix, add the rest of the ingredients and blitz on #5, add chicken stock and aioli to fix the texture. 



A huge thank you to Lona Misa for supplying these beautiful recipes.