Paladar – a short bus ride away

Sorry, don’t yet have an outside picture

Address: 4-5 London Rd, London, SE1 6JZ

Website: Paladar Latin American Restaurant in the heart of London SE1 (paladarlondon.com)

Phone: 020 7186 5555

Opening Times:

Monday: 5.00pm – 9.00pm
Tuesday – Friday: 12 noon – 2.45pm, 5.00pm – 9.45pm
Saturday: 12.30pm – 10.00pm
Sunday: 12.30pm – 8.00pm

We were alerted to this restaurant by a colleague who lives around the corner. It is very popular so we ended up going at 6.30 on a Friday evening. Remember to book in advance. It is a South American restaurant with dishes and influences from Central America too. They serve lots of vegetarian and gluten-free dishes, innovative cocktails and wine and spirits all from Latin America. The head chef is from Colombia, the sommelier from Ecuador and the front of house is from Cuba so definitely the real deal.

Inside (and outside) there are several places to sit. Having a broken ankle means the high bar in front of the kitchen was out of scope so they moved us to the tables and chairs section. It is now a bit on the chilly side so we would have objected to the al fresco dining area. I am sure it is fine in summer but even with heaters we noticed people keeping their coats on. Decor is  (as is everything) inspired by Latin America – colourful walls, paintings – some for sale.

The menu is really interesting so be hungry – the menu has a few option with nibbles (quite substantial as you will see), then mains from land (palm heart ceviche, roast aubergine), sea (sea bass, seared prawns) and farm (pork belly, ox tongue,  lamb and pulled pork). They all sound relatively dull except for the palm heart ceviche but take it from us that it is far from it. 

We ordered the green plantain crisps and taquero guacamole for a shared first course. The plaintain crisps are cut lengthwise to provide what looks like a plant. The guacomole was slightly spicy so didn’t hide the flavour of the avocado and we headed into it quickly but the bowl was completely full when it arrived – hence the photo. We would order this vegan dish again.

For mains we ordered the roast aubergine which comes with fried beans with salsa negra and Maya hummus – also vegetarian – with a side of Chimichurri skin-on potato fries which we dipped in a sauce that came with one of our dishes. This does need a knife and fork but the nuts provided some texture and the salsa was spicy again not as spicy as we would have expected although it does creep up on you.

The second dish was pan-roasted fillet of seabass, mole poblano, grilled asparagus, and purple cauliflower – as you can see a colourful dish. The fish was fantastic – really crispy skin but the vegetables needed to be a bit softer especially the cauliflower. Again the sauce was lovely and very differently spiced to the one with the aubergine.

Finally we did have some room for a pudding and ordered Purple corn churros, that comes with two sauces chocolate & ancho chilli sauce and coffee dulce de leche. The ancho added flavour not heat and the coffee was strong enough to feel like a sweet and creamy espresso.

It was Friday so we ordered drinks but one of us was driving so we ordered a Virgin Piscini and a Nubes Torrontes which defintiely had alcohol in it. We liked both of them but didn’t head into the wine list.

The bill came to a hefty £92.35 – £16.00 was the drinks. But it was a really enjoyable meal and we will return and potentially sit on the high stools so we can peer into the kitchen – it may also be a quieter place to sit if you are with a party.