I must have walked past the Park Plaza Hotel many times, feeling very small as I gazed up at its many floors. Little did I know that situated on the second floor was Chino Latino, one of London’s finest Pan-Asian eateries. The multi-award-winning restaurant offers riverside views, delicious food, a cocktail bar and even live music. With an ethos of ‘Love, Share & Enjoy’, expect to order lots of dishes so you can taste the parade of exotic flavours.
Chino Latino is both a place to relax and enjoy a fine meal in, a sentiment which is very much echoed by the style of the decor. Dining tables line the large glass front of the restaurant, but as you move closer to the bar area the furniture becomes more informal, with armchairs, and stalls dimly lit with table lights offering a warm red glow, very typical of Asian restaurants.
I was surprised that this restaurant wasn’t busier, given it was inside a hotel and very close to central London – but maybe that’s what made it so great? We didn’t feel rushed, we were able to sit back and enjoy the constant flow of food, with the sound of the soft piano playing in the background. Of the few people dining, it was a very mixed crowd; couples and families were the dominant guests in the restaurant, while suited city workers sat at the bar, working their way through the dynamic cocktail list.
With such a range of dishes on the menu, it can be hard to know what to choose but Chino Latino has a selection of set menus, which offer a little bit of everything. We dined from the ‘Rengin’ set menu, starting with Maki Rolls; topped with fresh tuna and salmon sashimi, King Crab and Smoked Eel; piled high on squares of watermelon, and Casterbridge Beef Taquitos; beautifully seasoned chunks of meat served in a crunchy taco cone.
The next three sharing plates to join the table were Prawn Tempura; possibly the two biggest prawns I have ever seen that was beautifully seasoned with Asian flavours, Calamari, and Pancetta wrapped Dates; the perfect combination of salty and sweet.
By the time the main dishes came, we were already feeling rather full but that didn’t stop us from polishing off every bite of the sizzling steak and sea bass we had ordered. Of the two dishes, our favourite was the Chilean Sea Bass, sitting in a delicious soy-based sauce. We were rather thankful that dessert was a fruit platter, though it certainly wasn’t any old fruit platter; dragon fruit, kiwi, raspberries and lychees were piled high and accompanied by a side of coconut cream.
In a nutshell
For dinner or drinks, Chino Latino is a great spot thanks to its versatile menu and beautiful views across London. Set menus start at £40 per person and bottles of wine from the mid-twenties. As a lover of live music, this is one element that would make me want to visit again, even just for a drink at the bar. London isn’t the only spot you’ll find this great Pan Asian restaurant, it’s also in Leeds and Nottingham, too.