Normally finding a restaurant near Waterloo to meet friends for a pre-Christmas lunch isn’t difficult, but when you’re from two different households and need somewhere with heated outdoor seating, choice becomes limited. Fortunately, our friend works in the area and suggested “Paladar”:https://www.paladarlondon.com/ on London Road – a short walk from various stations including Waterloo, Borough, Southwark and Elephant and Castle.
The Latin American restaurant doesn’t normally open on Saturday until 1pm but having made a booking, we were contacted a few days saying they were particularly busy and were opening at noon. They suggested bringing our booking forward as they needed the table back at 3pm for sanitising before a 3.20pm reservation.
We were the first arrivals and given a choice of tables in the courtyard at the back of the restaurant. We chose one covered by a Perspex awning, rather than a more temporary material one, and one near a heater.
Although there was a festive menu at £42.50, we ordered from the regular Daily December one. Rather than being divided into starters and mains, there are sections from the land, sea and farm and under these headings, were four or five choices.
Founder and General Manager, Charles, explained that many of the dishes were designed for sharing and came in portions of four. Whilst we were choosing, we were served an amuse bouche of pea and beetroot puree with spicy flavours. To start, we ordered four: tuna tostadas with guacamole and chipotle mayonnaise; tapioca and cheese croquette ‘dice’ with guava and balsamic reduction; crispy pork belly lettuce tacos, agave and Sriracha chilli sauce; and quinoa fritters, suero costeño, pickled cucumber and jalapeno. All the bite size pieces were very tasty, and it was good to be able to try a range of dishes.
For mains Roy opted for grilled Brazilian pork chorizo (mini sausages) with red onion mojo, smoked pumpkin purée and mini arepas (small scone shaped breads) and I chose a vegetarian dish, roast aubergine, fried beans with salsa negra with Maya hummus. I was advised to have a side with mine, cassava chips, truffle oil and chipotle mayonnaise. Again, all so tasty and a little unusual.
The all South American “wine list”:https://www.paladarlondon.com/uploads/1/1/4/0/114012979/paladar_wine_list_-_winter_2020-21.pdf had white wines ranging from £25 to £60, and we tried both a Mexican Chenin Blanc and Peruvian Sauvignon Blanc. Interestingly Charles told us these were the first two South American countries to produce wine.
We were too full for desert although I was rather tempted by the cheese fondant and guava sorbet.
As we went through the restaurant, we noticed some really interesting artwork on the walls and discovered later that they have regularly changing art and photography by Latin America artists. However, I suspect with food this good, we’ll return but hopefully once we can sit inside and appreciate the art at the same time.
Covid-19 wise, the staff wore masks and gloves, but the tables were rather close together.