Paladar, a Latin American-inspired restaurant, wine bar and bodega, completed the final stage of its opening in in SE1 this month. The restaurant aims to serve as ‘a centre of excellence for Latin America in London’, and has been quietly opening in phases, starting with the bar, then the shop, and now finally the restaurant.
Founder and director, Charles Tyler, has industry experience, being the man behind the popular Malay-Asian restaurant Champor-Champor in Bermondsey. He is a local resident, and his former business partner there, Adu Amran, is consultant chef at Paladar, alongside Colombian head chef Jose Rubio-Guevara.
Located on St George’s Circus, the 50-cover is conveniently located in an area home to a large Latin American community. The site itself, formerly an Italian restaurant, has been in stages of renovation since November, and will be completed with the launch of a courtyard and terrace in spring. An eight-cover chefs table offers a view into the kitchen, and bar seating provides the opportunity for guests to enjoy light snacks and drinks. Fronted by tall windows, the restaurant features a ‘Rays of Palar’ mural, on its rear wall, painted by Tyler’s business partner, Adu,
The menu comprises a range of small, medium and large plates priced from £3 to £19 and is inspired by Colombian, Ecuadorian, Mexican and Peruvian cuisine. Entirely gluten-free and featuring an impressive selection of vegetarian and vegan options, the menu been designed to encourage sharing amongst guests. Snacks include plantain crisps with zesty guacamole; cassava fritters with mora compote and tamarind sauce; and crispy pork belly with agave and sriracha reduction. Larger options include sea bass ceviche with passionfruit leche de tigre and cassava; grilled sirloin steak with arepas and chimichurri; and a vegan take on tiradito made from hearts of palm dressed in jalapeno pickle, aguachile and sweetcorn.
Curated by Ecuador-born sommelier Rafael Cabezas-Castro, the wine list comprises entirely Latin American wines from Argentina, Chile, Uruguay, Brazil, Peru and even Mexico. A range of piscos, mezcals, tequilas, cachaças and rums sourced with similar care features exclusively Latin bottles, used in creative cocktails like Mula del Maguey (A mezcal twist on the Moscow mule) and the Habanero, which is a mojito made with habanero chilli syrup.
And another thing
The languages spoken in Latin America are predominantly Spanish and Portuguesuse, and the word ‘Paladar’ means ‘palate’ in both. In Cuba, however, the word also refers to a small, privately run restaurant- which makes it a fitting name for the new south London opening.