All the boxes are ticked for Peter Morrell at this stylish restaurant which offers a fusion of Asian and Latin American cuisine
There are few restaurants that can create a true sense of occasion when eating out but my wife and I recently found Chino Latino offered that elusive dining experience.
The restaurant is located in the Park Plaza Riverbank hotel which has uninterrupted views of the Thames and the décor of the hotel is stylish and sophisticated from the minute you go through the swing doors. The Latin bar and Chino Latino which have both recently been refurbished are on the first floor and huge windows give stunning vistas of the Houses of Parliament downstream and the new U.S. Embassy upstream.
Before eating we had cocktails from the newly curated drinks menu which celebrate the flavours and colours of Latin America. Spirits included rum, agave and cachaça and were crafted with coconut, mint, lime and guava. My wife’s Mojitotini with Havana Club añejo especiale, champagne, fresh mint and lime was delicious as was my classic Mojito.
The menu was a tempting mix of familiar and less well known dishes, There are starter sections for dim sum, raw, tiradito, ceviche, taquitos. anticucho, tempura, sashimi, sushi and nigiri, and there is an impressive range of mains, all with an Asian/Latin twist. Examples were lamb cutlets marinated in Korean hot pepper paste and wasabi cream, Thai chicken green curry with micro bok choi, sweet potato and chockla, and monkfish tail with a yuzu kusho dressing and yuzu jelly.
Some of these dishes may be unfamiliar but this is part of the culinary adventure and any questions can be answered by a member of the friendly service team.
After considering the taquitos, mini tacos filled with meat seafood or vegetarian, the anticucho, a skewer of waygu beef flank and the ceviche of watermelon pickled tuna we opted for a tasting menu as we wanted to try as much as possible.
There are three set menus, all offering a selection of dishes with prices ranging from £37 per person to £55 per person, we had the mid-priced ‘Rengin’ at £49. The taste fireworks began with the very first mouthful. We started with a taquito, filled with Waygu beef, ají panca, (mild Peruvian red pepper), jalapeño pepper and avocado and an Amerillo maki roll, packed with crab, sea bass, salmon and tuna. This duo were accompanied by a sea bass tiradito, a Peruvian first cousin of ceviche, it was served with a sauce of coriander, citrus based tiger’s milk, borage flowers and chia seeds. This wide combination of tastes, flavours and textures blended into a harmonious and satisfying eating experience.
We then moved on to a trio of small dishes, coated calamari rings with a dressing of tamarind, tomato, red onion and mint and Chilean sea bass and crayfish gyoza (pot sticker dumplings). The third in this line up was prawn tempura with a ponzu sauce. Again flavours and textures joined with crunch from the calamari, succulence from the dumplings and a sea fresh taste from the prawns.
Our mains arrived and this were two of the best dishes I’ve eaten this year. The first was sirloin steak on hot rocks with soy, mirin and garlic, it was powerful and punchy with great depth of flavour. The second was even better, Chilean sea bass with smoked chipotle and miso, it was delicate, balanced and utterly delicious.
The finale was light and fresh, a medley of watermelon, kiwi fruit, lychee and melon together with an intense chocolate ice cream and banana mousse.
There was a good wine list with representation from both the old and the new worlds. The whites had a good selection of aromatic wines and the reds ranged from light, through spicy to robust. Our wine pairing for the meal was the Nederburg ‘The Manor’, a very on trend chenin blanc from South Africa. It was light and refreshing with tropical fruit aromas in the bouquet and crisp pineapple and peach flavours on the palate. The finish was fruity and persistent, it was a good match for the food.
The ambiance of the restaurant was excellent, is was quite busy giving it a good atmosphere and this was enhanced by the live music from a band with a lead vocal who’s voice was comparable to the late Amy Winehouse. From the initial greeting to the service through the meal the team who looked after us were charming and friendly.
This was an exceptional dining experience that ticked every box. The location and views, the décor, the service and the inventive food all joined to make it a memorable meal.
If you want to enjoy Chino Latino but haven’t got time for dinner there is a Sundowners session on Friday 5-7 with 2-4-1 cocktails. There is also a bar food menu and and a Pan-Asian inspired afternoon tea.
18 Albert Embankment,
London, SE1 7TJ
+44 (0) 207 769 2500