11 months ago

This is the Latin American tapas you didn’t know you needed

You wouldn’t usually find Latin American flavour served in tapas style dishes. But Candelaria is mixing things up with their fusion menu.

Candelaria Tapas in Broadway Market is a Latin American inspired tapas bar who are doing things differently. They’ve combined their passion for the flavours of Cuba, Peru, Argentina, Uruguay and Colombia with a small plate concept and created something really special in the middle of Tooting. The name ‘Candelaria’ says a lot about the heart of this restaurant. It’s a traditional name that relates to the Virgin Madonna, a hugely important figure in the Latin American culture. They say that their “…aim with this name is to pay tribute to Latin woman through an environment full of colour, flavour, fiesta and soul“. And what a lovely concept that is.

We started our journey into Latin American cuisine in the best way we know: with alcohol. We tried two of their cocktails, the Candelaria mojito and the Chik-Bonita. Both would have been perfect on a sun lounger- served long they were sweet, refreshing and just the ticket on a warm summer’s day. The mojito was a perfect version of the classic with a lovely bit of zing from the mint, whereas the Chik-Bonita was a little fruiter. Made with vodka, coconut rum, peach liquor, grenadine syrup and pineapple juice it was a tropical treat that made us crave our next beach holiday.

When ordering tapas we’d usually expect to get around 5-6 dishes between two, but were advised against this at Candelaria… The candid tip from our waiter was appreciated! The portion sizes here are generous and the 4 dishes we were served was more than enough and we rated their not trying to flog us more food than we could have managed. From the tapas menu we had the padron peppers which came ladened with big flakes of salt and perfectly mouth-burningly hot; just how we like it. Steak is always a winner and this one was especially good. It was skilfully cooked to just-right tenderness and though we begged our server for the recipe of the chimichurri that it came with, it is a well guarded secret not to be told. Darn.

The pulled pork was extremely succulent and came perched atop some chunky, nutty cassava fries- the trademark crumbly texture of which went delightfully well with the juices from the meat. But the prawns! This is a new addition to the menu and we are still thanking our lucky stars we were told to order this dish. The buttery sauce, the bite in the batter and luxuriously big prawns were a real treat. Decadent to the end; they were even served to us in a Champagne flute! An absolute must order.

By this point we were about full to burst, but show us someone who can turn down a churros when it’s offered. We couldn’t help ourselves and there are fewer lovelier ways to end a meal than with hot, crispy, sugar-coated dough.

Candelaria Tapas really is the restaurant you didn’t know you were missing. Latin American tapas is certainly not commonplace but after a trip to Broadway Market, it’s confusing to us why it isn’t. Delicious, full of fun and cocktails that will take you to sunnier climbs, Candelaria has our vote. Make sure you keep an eye on their socials for all their fantastic weekday deals too!

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