10 months ago

Chino Latino is a big, sexy vibe

Looking for a spot for an elevated meal? Look no further than Chino Latino. It’s got all the ingredients for feeling extra special.

Credit: @comeeatwithniasanto

Whichever way you slice it, Chino Latino is a vibe. This pan-Asian restaurant, located in Park Plaza Riverbank hotel, is a lovely spot for a fancy brunch, a spoiling dinner or some upmarket cocktails for loads of reasons. Let us tell you about those reasons.

The space itself set us up for bouji. The entrance through the hotel lobby is grand- ascending stairs with abstract graphics playing either side of us, we entered the restaurant to be greeted by the front of house staff… and an impressive vista of the London skyline. That view itself is worth the trip and really set a standard. In a place like this, it was clearly going to be no average meal. We visited on a Saturday evening and there was a DJ set set up with some live deck spinning. Usually this kind of thing strikes fear into our hearts- we are here to eat, not shout over loud drum n base. But we were really pleased to note that the volume was down and the tunes were perfect- ‘laid back sexy’ is the only way to describe the background music, but a live DJ playing softly in the background? It just added to the a-little-bit-special feeling that was brewing.

Having been shown to our seats we got stuck into the menu. It’s an impressive list of food- there’s everything from sushi, gyozas, taquitos, skewers, curries, steaks, salads… we could go on. Being the indecisive duo we were we decided to head to the small plates for as much variety as our stomachs could handle. We had a wonderful time choosing between all the bites, and the good thing is that the portion sizes are really perfect for sharing- the black cod dim sum came as two individual bites and meant that, if dining as a pair, it’s easy to try out a big hunk of the menu. Those black cod bites, by the way, were deliciously juicy and spiked with a subtle yuzu soya that really enhanced the flavours of the delicate fish. We also tried out the flank steak skewers which, again, came as a duo perched on a tiny grill contraption- a really fun presentation that evaluated the (already mouthwatering) starter.

We decided to go down the sushi route for the mains. We were this close to trying out the duck breast and the pork belly large dishes… it’s a menu that will have you ready to return before your food even arrives at the table because it’s all incredibly tempting. We went for a pair of seared tuna nigiri which was smoky, simple and a really lovely twist on the usual raw fish. The rolls were tricky to decide between but eventually the California roll and the Tenkasu roll (loaded with tuna, salmon, seabass and avocado) were chosen. Both got a wide-eye reaction from us, but the latter especially was an absolute delight. The sashimi set looked really good too- raw tuna, salmon and seabass will always get us interested so that was a must order. The flavours were perfect and the quality is clearly great- there’s no hiding behind raw strips of fish when it comes to that. But the presentation of this was outstanding. The that huge boulder came out of the kitchen was decorated with leaves, ginger, wasabi and nests of daikon. So big was this rock that our wonderful server pulled up the table next to us so we could have a bit more tabletop retail to eat it. Again, each fish was usefully in 4 pieces making the sharing experience even more enjoyable- there could have easily been a bust-up over the last piece of seabass otherwise.

To round off the meal was a sweet miso cheesecake. At this point we were expecting some exciting plating and we weren’t let down- delicate ‘leaves’ made out of wafer, a luxuriously creamy cheesecake perched on a satisfyingly crunchy biscuit. Gorgeous on the tastebuds and eyes equally. We very quickly had our phones out to send this one to our WhatsApp contact list and we will be surprised if you manage to resit the temptation to do the same.

Chino Latino has managed to make a menu that is equally instagrammable and delicious- something that the majority of places don’t quite get right. We loved their imaginative plating, their vibey ambiance and the attentive staff. It all added to a really special evening that would have been good at any point in the day, but watching the sunset over the London skyline whilst enjoying the rest of the restaurant was simply perfect. If you rather earlier dining then don’t miss the bottomless Saturday brunches running in September and October from 1pm- 4pm. It’s properly unlimited; sushi, dim sum, sashimi, maki rolls, tuna nigiri, vegetable gyoza… and for just £40 that sounds like a challenge we would like to accept.

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