By Baldwin Ho

I have never thought of Vauxhall as a bastion of culinary excellence, so I had approached my meal at Chino Latino recently on Albert Embankment with a certain degree of scepticism. The restaurant is situated inside Park Plaza London Riverbank and to a certain degree that provided some assurance, as I had enjoyed wonderful meals at their sister hotels in Westminster and Lambeth North.

As soon as you enter their dining space, you will be awestruck by their striking, somewhat futuristic designs: the sharp neon red walls will immediately capture your attention along with a video wall displaying artistic projections. It makes stunning use of natural lighting with exceptional views of the Thames even though you are not particularly high up in the London skyline. For those who always struggle to read the menus, maybe a seat by their oversized desk lamps is in order.

Pan-Asian menus are always a dream when they are executed well because there are just endless items to choose from. They certainly have great pedigree here with group head chef Werner Seebach having worked at the likes of Sushisamba. As you might expect from a restaurant situated inside one of the biggest hotel groups in London, presentation is everything; the stuffed chilli and soft shell crab tempura were served almost resembling a bonsai tree with a light smattering of tempura batter over the ingredients to ensure it isn’t overly greasy. The ponzu sauce and green chilli aioli also helped to cut through any oiliness of the dish. Although I would have preferred more soft shell crab than the red chilli.

The vegetable gyozas were packed with much more variation in flavours than what you would typically expect with an interesting combination with the sugariness from the sweet potato puree contrasting with the heat from the aji amarillo. Whilst the daikon rolls will keep your GP extremely pleased with healthy doses of red peppers, chives and mushrooms to accompany the main act.

Their well thought out menu is a delight for bringing guests along who are vegetarians or have any allergies with many options to choose from. The main course of yellow vegetable curry was satisfyingly hearty with that hint of added sweetness and tanginess from the turmeric and even comes with a side portion of crispy vegetables.

Monkfish tail was not only exquisite in presentation but also tremendous tasting with strong citrusy notes from the yuzu kusho dressing and yuzu jelly. The meaty white flesh was very similar to that of lobster meat and just as sweet tasting.

With live music every night, well-executed dishes and delightful ambiance, there is no reason to not be adventurous and head down to Vauxhall when you plan your next culinary adventure.

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