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Friday, 13 January 2012

Chino Latino, Vauxhall

'Chino Latino' might sound like a shonky salsa band on Shanghai’s Got Talent, but it's the name of the Park Plaza Riverside's Latin bar/ Asian restaurant, a joint that has somehow escaped my attention until tonight. I'm at a loose end and its PR has invited me along to try the £50 tasting menu - so, why not? The nine-course pig-out is better than anticipated: 'Pan-Asian' too often equals 'con-fusion'. Facing an extreme eating challenge of sadistic Japanese game show proportions, I soon regret snarfing kilos of salty nibbles over pre-dinner drinks at the bar. Set in a low-lit nightclubby lounge that would have looked on-the-money circa The Chemical Brothers’ Block Rockin’ Beats, this could be a handy hook-up ahead of a night on Vauxhall'’s gay dancefloors. Perhaps it’s time for the chemical brothers that frequent such dens to ditch illegal cocktails in favour of less hardcore disco jollies before they wake up one day and find It’'s All Gone Pear Shaped, the name, as it happens, of a Chivas and butterscotch concoction sold here. To each his own, I say. I bring this up only because one disco bunny I knew, mixed so many Class ABandC's, he ended up being sectioned, convinced he was Cindy Crawford, only filthy and smelly -  too scared to turn on any taps, lest little green men emerge and cut him open in an attempt to discover the physiology of  perfect humanoid beauty (he's still not fully recovered 15 years on, I hear).  At £9, Educated Gringo - a bourbon and port muddle - might not be liquid ecstasy but it's good enough for me in terms of getting that warm, fuzzy glow. Despite doubts about combining creamy saké, Beefeater 24, plum wine and Asahi lager, I’m loved-up with a Geisha. Among the wines, a ballsy Mexican shiraz promises ‘a spicy mouthful'. ‘Like 4 am in a Vauxhall back room’ quips my date.
 18 Albert Embankment SE1 7769 2500 www.chinolatino.eu