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Wednesday 28 June 2017

Is There Such a Thing as a Good Pan-Asian Restaurant? Chino Latino May Be Your Answer.

Name: Chino Latino

Where: 18 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TJ, http://www.chinolatino.eu/

Cost: Average cost per person is £45 not including drinks or service. The restaurant has three set menus, priced from £37 to £55 per person, offering a range of sushi, sashimi and main dishes.

About: With restaurants in Leeds, Nottingham and Cologne, the London branch of Chino Latino is situated in the beautiful riverside Park Plaza Hotel on the Albert Embankment. 

The London Foodie visited Chino Latino a few years ago, reviewed here, but the restaurant has since then been thoroughly refurbished and moved to the first floor of the hotel, with full length plate glass windows opening to great views of the River Thames and the Houses of Parliament. 

The restaurant group’s kitchens are headed by South African Executive Chef Werner Seebach formerly of Roka, Zuma and Kyashi restaurants, and offers a comprehensive modern 'Pan-Asian' cuisine.

The menu has a range of Japanese-Nikkei dishes from Peru and Brazil, and a smattering of other Asian dishes including Thai, Chinese and Malaysian. The restaurant has a long bar opened to non-residents and offers a range of great cocktails as well as live Jazz music every evening. 

What We Ate: The a la carte menu is divided into small dishes, main courses, sides and desserts, and it is recommended to order a minimum of three small dishes per person. 

We ordered a number of dishes from the a la carte menu, starting with a delectable beef salad (£11.50) with coriander, mint, chilli, shallots, cucumber and red onion – well seasoned and with many textures, this was excellent.

The seabass tiradito (£10.50) came with coriander tiger's milk, jalapeño chillies, borage flowers and chia seeds. With a gorgeous presentation, this packed quite a whack of chilli heat, which I felt somewhat overwhelmed the coriander cream – for me, the coriander’s tigers milk lacked acidity and depth of flavour.

Next up were the Taquitos Three-Ways (£20) – these were served on a dinky chrome frame, and combined crispy taquito cones filled with rare Wagyu beef and aji panca sauce, lobster with an aji amarillo sauce, and the third filled with a lovely vegetable brunoise - carrot, green bean and mushroom, with a topping of finely shredded lettuce and radish. 

The anticucho of wagyu (£14), normally a skewer of slices of beef heart, was deliciously soft wagyu flank beef served with aji panca sauce (Peruvian dried red chilli) that added a layer of smokiness and flavour.

We loved the tempura - red chilli stuffed with cream cheese, and soft shell crab tempura (£10 for 2 pieces) – it was gorgeously presented on a slice of raw daikon, and served with a refreshing ponzu dressing and green chilli aioli. 

From the sushi menu, we chose the surf and turf dragon roll (£20 for 8 pieces), filled with lobster, avocado and cucumber and topped with thin slices of lightly seared sirloin beef, spicy cream and chive. The sushi was well-made, specially the rice and the presentation, although I felt there were too many competing flavours in this roll.

From the main course menu, we chose one of Chino Latino’s signature dishes – their English sirloin steak served on hot black rocks (300g for (£29), with soy, garlic and mirin sauce. Beautifully presented, the steak was medium rare and soft and well flavoured. 

The monkfish tail was served on the bone with yuzu kosho dressing and yuzu jelly (£32.50). I loved their use of yuzu kosho in this dish, this is a wonderful condiment from Kyushu island in Japan made from yuzu rind, chillies and salt, so it is spicy, salty and citrusy all at once. I is a great accompaniment to grilled fish and meats and worked quite well in this dish. 

We had three side dishes. I love making miso aubergine with Parmesan cheese (£4.50), and this was what I ordered, though there was an excessive amount of Parmesan in my opinion. Better was the Peruvian corn sauteed in butter (£4.50) with a lovely sweet tartness from the addition of sugar and lime to heighten the flavours. And finally the cassava chips (£4) – these were fresh and crispy on the outside, they were served with a refreshing aji amarillo dipping sauce. 

Desserts are all priced at £8.50, and include options like salted caramel banana mousse, yuzu cream sugar bulb, and chocolate brownie and peanut butter parfait with blackcurrant sponge. Tempting as they were, we could not try them as we had eaten far too much by then, I will return for those one day soon!

What We Drank: Pre-dinner, we shared the Chilli and Ginger Caipirinha (£9) – this blended Sagatiba Pura cachaça with ginger wine, red chillies, fresh ginger and lime. This was thoroughly refreshing and I loved the way the chilli heat came long after swallowing. 

The Perrier-Jouet Blason Rose Champagne (£12.50) had a lovely strawberry nose and refreshing acidity. 

There is small but well thought out wine list, with 7 white and 6 red wines offered by the glass. The entry level wines are a white Nederberg Chenin Blanc from South Africa and a red Granfort Merlot from France, both priced at £27. But as we chose a variety of fish and meat dishes, we preferred to share two half bottles. We chose the Sancerre Les Collinettes, Joseph Mellot, France, and the Don Jacobo Rioja Crianza Tinto, Boedgas Corral, Spain, both priced at £17.50 per half bottle. These were both excellent, with a great depth of flavour, concentration and complexity. 

Likes: Anticuchos, tempura and taquitos were sensational. Great service and gorgeous restaurant.

Dislikes: the coriander tigers milk lacked acidity and depth of flavour, and there was far too much Parmesan in the miso aubergine. These were minor problems in a overall very good meal.

Verdict: For good quality Pan-Asian cooking, Chino Latino is my ‘go-to’ restaurant. If you are looking for great food, cocktails and a stunning setting overlooking the river Thames, I highly recommend Chino Latino.

1 comment:

  1. The place looks amazing. The food looks even better. Great post


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