A lot to digest when it comes to visiting Chino Latino on the south bank of the Thames in London.
Up the neon escalators and located on the first floor of Park Plaza Riverbank, the restaurant delivers in spades on the promised views over river. A glass wall skirts one side of the location, with sunlight streaming in during our summer visit.
It’s a huge, open space, with a stage prepared for a live band later in the evening.
The new summer offering contains a vibrant array of Latin-inspired cocktails, such as the Smoke at the Port with tequila, white wine port and tabasco, and the Chilcano Valley with pisco, St Germain, mint and berries.
The bar also has an extensive selection of Sake, each with a brief description and pairing suggestion to give an authentic experience.
The problem is getting hold of a drink.
More than 20 mins after taking our seats we are still waiting for an aperitif – and we were the first diners through the door. It is all very well offering a seductive Latino cocktail bar, but turning around orders could be done quicker.
In fairness, the Pink Dragon, when it does arrive, is top draw, mixing tequila, peach puree, lychee liquor and dragon fruit to pack an almighty punch. Though, the less said about the Dirty Martini, which seems to be 90 per cent brine, the better.
The starters bring things back on course.
Casterbridge Beef Taquitos, with aji panca (Peruvian red pepper), red onion and jalapeño avocado are a delightful little bite, and very well presented on their spiralling display, while the raw sashimi – with tuna, salmon and seabass – is the highlight of the evening. Served with ponzu and a fresh wasabi, each mouthful is fresh and inviting.
Chino Latino is home to a fresh sushi counter – and they make the most of it. Also on offer are theatrical dishes like the Flaming Sushi, a salmon roll with spring onion, jalapeno and spicy miso that is set alight at the table, a highlight from executive chef, Werner Seebach.
For main, Duck Breast is served with aji amarillo miso marinade, marjoram and lime, all presented beautifully over a hot coal in a large leaf, while the Smoked Sticky Pork Ribs also delivers as promised.
The problem? They are delivered 20 mins apart, with my plate anxiously cleared before my guest’s dish had even arrived. It would have been nice to eat together.
On the side, the Cassava Chips are a delicious surprise, while for dessert Sweet Miso Cheesecake is served with sea buckthorn and pear compote alongside caramel chantilly. Surprisingly light for a cheesecake, it is a nice way to finish the meal.
There is a good restaurant hiding inside Chino Latino.
The food is thoughtful, creative and reasonably priced, while the views over the river are what many London tourists will be looking for.
To deliver on that promise, though, a few kinks in the service may have to be ironed out.
Established over ten years ago, Chino Latino seeks to create interactive, exciting and flavourful culinary offerings. This summer a new Tasting Menu – priced at £48 per person – offers guests the opportunity to sample its signature best-selling dishes.
There is more information on the official website.
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