What: Chino Latino is an award-winning, pan-Asian restaurant that combines an intimate restaurant area, bar, live music stage and riverside lounge.
New? Chino Latino opened 1st February after an extensive reinvention including new menus and live music performances, with other locations in Leeds, Nottingham and Germany.
Where? 18 Albert Embankment, Lambeth, SE1 7TJ www.chinolatino.eu
On the Menu: Executive Group Chef Werner Seebach is head of the kitchen team at Chino Latino London and has previously worked at Roka and Sushi Samba. The menu focuses on the flavours of South America, with a particular nod to Peruvian influences as well as a range of traditional Asian dishes. Designed to be shared, dishes include watermelon and tuna ceviche with toasted Peruvian corn, dim sum, Tiger maki rolls, sous vide salmon wrapped in shiso leaves and duck breast cooked on a traditional Japanese clay BBQ grill.
First Impressions: From the ground floor an escalator takes you up a half floor where the walls are made of thousands of multi-coloured LED lights, making for an impressive first impression. The next escalator takes you up to first floor where the restaurant is sprawled out in front; the best seats in the house are easily the ones facing the river with floor to ceiling glass walls giving you romantic views of the city including Big Ben.
The Look: The colour theme is strongly black and red with dark carpet, black leather sofas in the lounge area, ginormous red desk lamps that loomed over diners, and black and red panelled walls. Its modern decor straddles an atmosphere of fine far eastern dining and a jazz bar with a sushi bar that runs along one wall and the Latin bar by a small stage on the other side.
What We Ate: Cone taquitos starters with fillings of Wagyu beef, lobster and vegetables were artfully presented in a spiral stand, of which beef was the standout filling. You can’t go wrong with vegetable tempura which also comes as a small side for the vegetable yellow curry; a creamy but light option. With all dishes presented like one-off show-pieces, the steak sizzling on hot rocks was particularly juicy and well received. The cassava chips seemed a tad stale while the Japanese mushroom hand roll was exceedingly fresh, filled with a selection of mushrooms, shiso, quinoa and delicious truffle mayo.
The desserts were really inventive; one presented as a rock garden with lemon crumble base and rocks made of pistachio and chocolate ganache complete with a scoop of cherry sorbet, while the other was a miniature garden centred round a raspberry log decorated with meringue mushrooms and gummy gnomes.
What We Drank: The cocktail menu at Chino Latino is where the Latino element really comes alive; sit directly at the bar and work through the menu or enjoy them with your meal. Knock back a Kiwi Cocoloco made with Sagatiba cachaça, fresh kiwis, mango juice and coconut cream for a taste of tropical paradise or spice things up with a Mushi a Gari made with Beefeater gin, red chillies, fresh mango and apple juice.
Go With: Those romantic views can’t be beaten; this is definitely an ideal date location.
Final Word: Every night Chino Latino hosts live music in the cocktail lounge playing Jazz to acoustic to soul. Whilst pan-Asian fusion isn’t necessarily rare, Chino Latino deliver a high-end experience whilst retaining a relaxing cocktail bar atmosphere.