Harden's survey result
“A great find in the wasteland around Elephant & Castle, where everything is South American, from ingredients, such as plantain and cassava, to the wine list and the lively clientele”. A bar/restaurant (with walled garden for warmer days), it’s “a great introduction to Latino food”: “typical dishes such as ceviche and braised black beef are produced to a higher standard than just about anywhere else in London”. Top Tip – all dishes are gluten-free, with a range of veggie and vegan options.
A stylish new restaurant, wine bar and bodega, not far from Elephant & Castle, showcasing flavours from across South America. (The name means palate in Spanish and Portuguese, and in Cuba a ‘paladar’ is also a privately-run restaurant with character.) Founder Charles Tyler was behind Bermondsey’s once-pathbreaking Champor Champor, while chef Jose Rubio-Guevara hails from Colombia via Miami and draws on various Latino inspirations (as do the cocktails, wines and cigars). Too little feedback for a rating as yet, but for one early reporter it’s already a favourite.
Paladar brings the taste of Latin America to the heart of London SE1. More than just a restaurant, Paladar’s philosophy is to showcase the best food, drinks, art and music from Latin America, making it a centre of excellence for the region in London.
Chef Jose Rubio-Guevara’s creative cuisine takes a deliciously eclectic ‘mix-and-match’ approach to Latin American food, drawing primary inspiration from Colombia, Ecuador, Mexico and Peru. Dishes are designed to be shared ‘tapas style’ although traditionalists can have a 3-course meal if preferred. The food at Paladar is also, naturally, 100% gluten-free.
The all-Latin American wine list has been carefully selected by Ecuadorian sommelier, Rafael Cabezas-Castro, and goes well beyond big Argentine Malbecs and Chilean Carmeneres: Discover less well-known grape varieties, such as Pais and Torrontes, along with wines from countries as diverse as Peru, Uruguay, Brazil and Mexico.
An exciting selection of innovative cocktails and straight-up spirits are on offer from the long, sleek bar where French bar manager, Cedric Gautier, has gathered together an extraordinary collection of Latin American spirits. Think fine rums, cachacas, piscos, mezcals and tequilas - plus a bizarre clutch of gins from Argentina, Colombia and Peru!
Regularly changing art exhibitions offer Latin American artists the opportunity to display their works for sale on the walls, and this brings a fresh look to the interior of the restaurant every couple of months.
During the summer months, the courtyard garden to the rear of the property offers an oasis of calm and delightful al fresco dining opportunities (British weather permitting!) while the adjoining bodega doubles up as a semi-private dining area on the Chef’s Table, as well as offering all wines for sale at retail prices.
|Wine per bottle||£29.50|
Chef Jose Rubio-Guevara
Jose Rubio-Guevara is the 34-year-old head chef of Paladar. It is his first head chef position in a hospitality career spanning seventeen years and encompassing both back- and front-of-house roles in Miami and London.
Born in Caracas, Venezuela, but Colombian by nationality and at heart, Jose is a creative chef who experiments with Latin American flavours and techniques to create dishes which reflect the diversity and spirit of the region’s cuisine in a modern style – retaining the authenticity of flavours, but moving away from traditional restrictions, recipes and presentations.
Jose’s A la Carte Menu comprises six sections: Nibbles; The Sea; The Farm; The Land; Side Dishes and Sweet Endings. There are also two Tasting Menus (one specifically tailored to vegans), and a two-or-three course ‘Quick Lunch Menu’.
These menus are entirely gluten-free. Latin American cuisine typically uses corn rather than wheat, and in the course of developing his menu for Paladar Jose found that very few dishes contained gluten. By making further tweaks – substituting soy sauce and flour where used for gluten-free alternatives, for example – Jose was able to make the whole menu gluten-free.
Jose is now at the forefront of modern Colombian/Latin American cuisine here in the UK. His recipes have been featured in BBC Good Food Magazine, Restaurant Magazine, and he has participated in the Radio 4 Kitchen Cabinet programme. Jose, who lives locally to the restaurant in SE1, is a co-founder of Paladar, and along with the other members of the key team is a shareholder in Paladar.
The Chef’s Table in the Bodega offers a unique semi-private dining area for parties of between 8-10 guests. Offering a grand-stand view across the pass into the theatrical open kitchen, the Chef’s Table has an intimacy, yet also a vibrancy, that is unmatched in the area.
Advanced booking is strongly recommended for this table.
Paladar Restaurant Diner Reviews
"Food was good although felt like it tried a bit too hard to be innovative. Service started out very attentive but slowed towards the end. Ambience average - the restaurant is quite brightly lit."
4-5 London Road, London, SE1 6JZ
|Monday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑10 pm|
|Tuesday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑10 pm|
|Wednesday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑10 pm|
|Thursday||12 pm‑3 pm, 5:30 pm‑10 pm|
|Friday||12 pm‑3:30 pm, 5 pm‑10:30 pm|
|Saturday||1 pm‑5 pm, 5 pm‑10:30 pm|