2 years ago

Cool and Colombian; El Rancho de Lalo

Affordable food in London is tough to come by. Affordable good food seems like a myth. But not in the case of El Rancho de Lalo…

Often Google reviews can be a bit touch and go when it comes to accuracy of description. A quick search of El Rancho de Lalo came up with this; “Unfussy, down-to-earth restaurant offering hearty Colombian fare, grilled meats & sandwiches.”. Oh, that one really hit the nail on the head actually. It’s only a few more clicks and you’re in Trip Advisor territory, where again, the comments were spot on; “Excellent food, very friendly and hospitable staff…”, “The food is amazing but get yourself ready for some serious portions! Staff was very friendly and welcoming…” & “Big portions and great quality. The service is always attentive and friendly. Yum!” are all just sprinklings of some of the 5 star reviews online. Not sure if you picked up on the themes there, but just to clarify: Great food. Great staff. Big portions.

When we visited we couldn’t have agreed more with these observations. We were welcomed by extremely friendly servers who were keen to make us feel at home straight away in this lively spot. The interior is very authentic and the restaurant clearly attracts a big portion of the Southern American population who want a taste of nostalgia- always a good sign.

To eat we started with the yuca frita and the empanada. The yuca was great- we’d not tried anything like it before so it was a delicious way to get our palates ready for the rest of the meal. The empanada was delicious and stuffed to bursting with gently spiced ground meat and mashed potato. Plus for £2.20 it felt like we’d found a London cheat code- where else in town can you get a starter like that for such a bargain?

Next up we had, as predicted by our online friends, very full, very flavourful plates. The mains were the El Rancherito and the Bandeja Paisa The former was so fun- lots of different grilled meats on the plate (chicken, pork and beef), accompanied with an array of sides like the traditional cornbread, avocado and green plantain. The latter was also a meaty affair, but this time grilled steak, crispy pork belly and pork sausage. Sitting alongside this one was a flavourful array of rice, a fried egg, beans, avocado… a true melting pot of Colombian fare. Both came in for under £20 and there was enough left after we’d had our fill to take home a little goody bags for a late night craving. These mammoth plates were complimented perfectly with a refreshing Aguapanela con Limon and traditional light Colombian beer.

El Rancho de Lalo really live up to their reviews online- a rare case where you can trust what you read on the web. Go with an empty stomach and get ready to try some new flavours in the most traditional setting. You’ll leave full and with a traditional cultural experience too.

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