Elephant & Castle isn’t the most foodie corner of SE1, but this Latin American restaurant, wine bar and bodega is a real local gem. First impressions might not be particularly inviting (the dark green tablecloths are especially jarring), but the room is livened up by a beautiful mural which covers an entire wall, while the menu ticks trend boxes with an entirely gluten-free offering. We’d recommend four to five sharing plates between two, starting with the likes of golden empanadas stuffed with stringy beef brisket and livened up with a chilli sauce boasting subtle hints of coriander. Elsewhere, cubes of crispy pork belly with a sriracha and chilli reduction impress, while plump prawns are served on miniature blue corn tortillas and drenched in a vibrant mango salsa.
Star billing, however, must go to a dish of octopus tentacles sitting on top of tempura breadfruit, shreds of sugary-sweet candied lime, and sharp pickled watermelon: a mouth-puckering delight. Cinnamon-dusted blue corn churros are another must-order, liberally dipped into pots of coffee dulce de leche and warm chocolate sauce. Friendly staff and a clued-up sommelier happy to chat about the South American wine list are further pluses at an impressive newcomer that deserves an audience beyond the Elephant.