40% off vouchers took us to Chino Latino in Nottingham. Chino is located next to the Park Plaza hotel and is on Maid Marian way. We've been here only once before (in hundreds of Wednesdays) and there's a reason for it - the menu is EXPENSIVE.
The restaurant is done out in a very modern bachelor-pad type style - all black, red and shiny surfaces. Approaching the restaurant from a sunny September evening it takes a while for your eyes to get used to the dark of the interior.
The food is billed as 'Eastern Fusion', it's Japanese type offerings with both other Eastern (Thai / Chinese) influences and a Western twist. Novel.
As it's expensive here people tend to treat it as a treat, and even on Wednesday I felt a bit under-dressed in my jeans and top. Never mind. If I come here when their next offer is on I'll make sure to dress up a bit more.
The staff were very friendly and bore with us as we had a lot to catch up on it took us a while to even look at them menu let alone decide what to eat! My friend had sussed out that there was a dessert platter (my very favourite thing) so we had to bear in mind that we did not want to be too full with mains.
The food is all served tapas style (i.e. put in the middle to share) so we selected dinners with this in mind.
In the end we went for.....
Seafood tempura to start, accompanied by a spicy mixed veg salad.
There aren't many foods that I don't like, but prawns is one of those things, we'd ordered the tempura as I thought that they'd be easy enough to identify and pick out. They were. The tempura was nice, and kept the fish good and firm, but the surprise was in the mixed veg salad. It was crunchy, very fresh and covered in a dressing that was spicily warming and left a tingly feeling in your mouth. Recommended!
Chicken in a curry and peppercorn sauce, and steak on hot rocks.
Part of this place is the drama of the food and how it is served and prepared, so to fully experience this our beef arrived having what looked like its own spa treatment. Served rare on hot barbecued stones, the beef was drizzled with sauce at the table and we were then left to take the meat off when it became suitably cooked for each diner. Great if you and other diners (as here) like meat done to differing levels. This dish was served with chunky sweet potato chips. The beef itself was tender and slightly salty from the sauce, and went very well with the sweet potatoes.
The chicken was delicately sliced and served with a small salad. As it turned out we'd ordered really well. The tender salty beef went beautifully with the light, cream curry sauce of the chicken.
The portions are sufficient if you're aiming to eat 3 courses, but if you want just two then I would advise ordering a side to go with the mains. Personally I like having smaller portions as you can try lots of different things without feeling bilious.
Okay so it's confession time. This was my least favourite part of the meal. For me, that's unusual I generally like the puddings most. The platter consisted of:
A creamy torte-like items with fruit jelly on top
Sticky toffee pud and custard
Lots of fruit and chocolate dipping sauce
I think it reflects the cuisine of the East that there was lots of fruit but I think this place could have been very much more imaginative. They also cut the torte (on a sharing platter for two) into three pieces (I absolutely HATE when restaurants advertise things as sharing for two and then cut the offering into indivisible portions, grrrr). The chocolate dipping sauce was nice, but I must confess the fruit tastes better without so we (okay I) ate it with a spoon later. The steamed pudding contained little ginger flakes which was its Eastern twist.
All in all the verdict is:
The food is great, really different and very tasty - I have been surprised and impressed with the flavour combinations both times I have been here. The waiting staff are friendly and helpful. On the downside the decor is dim, dark and slightly off-putting, and the food is really expensive. I think that there are nicer overall packages in Nottingham city centre (Harts, World Service, Iberico to name a few) where you feel more cosseted for similar price points.
Price: We paid £60 including tip for the above, having had two beers and two lemonades as well, with our 40% off voucher. Mains are priced around the £15-£20 each mark.
Chino Latino - I'll see you next time you've got an offer on.
41 Maid Marian Way, Nottingham, Nottinghamshire NG1 6GD0115 947 7444 Website