Chino Latino, Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, 18 Albert Embankment, London SE1 7TJ www.chinolatino.co.uk
If you looked at the name of this restaurant, which is situated in the Park Plaza Riverbank Hotel, you could be forgiven for thinking that its menu focus would be Spanish or Latin American food – your mind might immediately go to Tapas for instance. However, you’d be wrong. The restaurant is, we understand, named after the cocktail bar that is immediately adjacent to it in the hotel and its menu is very much focused on the East, describing their cuisine as Pan Asian. The entrance to the restaurant is just beyond the entrance lobby on the ground floor of the Hotel – it is spacious, welcoming and comfortable yet has a chic style in its decor.
Seated at our table we ordered a bottle of the house rose, which we thought might go well with Asian food and it was lovely, delivering a fruity mouthful, with big strawberry accents, at £17 a bottle we thought it was a great price.
Our party chose to share a variety of starters and mains having been told that Chino Latino’s food lends itself well to sharing and who were we to argue? Starters began to arrive in waves. Sesame prawn spring rolls, served in a cocktail glass with a chilli sauce were lovely crispy filo pastry rolls filled with prawn matched well by their sauce. The spicy fried squid and the prawn tempura with crushed wasabi peas arrived together, each served with a creamy chilli sauce , they were very tasty, the flavour of both the squid and the prawn excellent on their own, but enhanced beautifully by the sauce. The beetroot salad, a little tower of sliced beetroot with cream cheese and a lemongrasss port reduction was lovely, a light crisp wafer was placed in the middle of these little towers giving a great contrast of textures and flavours in the mouth. The pork and prawn gyoza was another mouthful of loveliness, complemented, as it was, by chilli soy sauce. All of these sharing starters were vibrantly tasty and left your mouth tingling with the diversity of the flavours, and with the well balanced chilli in the accompanying sauces.
After a bit of a gap we moved on to mains, again we did the sharing thing with three of the main menu dishes. The 28 day mature Casterbridge rib eye steak was a very tender piece of meat, medium rare it had great flavour. The black cod was beautifully cooked, moist and flaky and given a different dimension through its spicy miso. The lobster and king crab was divine, the two meats paired well, perfectly cooked, their sweetness was contrasted very well by a chilli garlic mayonnaise. These were three amazingly good dishes, great flavours that delivered on all levels.
Wines at Chino Latino start at £17 per bottle, we have already commented on the rose, we also tried some reds by the glass with our mains, these were excellent. Service at the restaurant was exceptionally good, it was attentive and we liked the fact that our waiter came down to our level when taking our order and to discuss any issues related to our meal. Chino Latino is an excellent restaurant, we enjoyed our meal there and the ambience enormously. Situated on the south bank of the Thames, diagonally opposite the Houses of Parliament, it is a little away from central London’s restaurant land, but it is well worth making the effort to seek out.