Sunday 15 May 2016

Vivo Latino Restaurant Review (Cowbridge Road - Cardiff)

Vivo Latino (which opened in February 2016) is on Cowbridge Road; just a short walk from Cardiff castle and the Principality Stadium. Explore with Ed and I were invited to try some of the dishes that they are becoming well known for...
It may be an unassuming area, but don't be deceived as this Latin-American restaurant could easily compete with some of the leading places to go in central Cardiff in terms of food quality, portions and service. 
After a lovely greeting from Nick (head barman) who remembered us from the opening night, we were shown to our table in the urban-meets-tropical venue and eyed up their selection of dishes.
For starter, Jamie went for a simple bread dish (£4.95), accompanied by 3 dips (salsa, sour cream and guacamole). Despite it ultimately being just bread and dip, Vivo Latino made sure it was presented nicely, and had flavours that even made me wonder why I didn't go for that...! The bread was airy, thick and had an almost panettone texture. The dips were a selection ranging from mild (sour cream) to the salsa which had a bit of a kick (but nothing too uncomfortable), the starter was garnished with a small side salad. 
Nick recommended the calami and as a fish lover I was immediately sold (£5.95). At Vivo Latino they cook the calamari in garri which gives it a very thick and crispy outside but still keeps the calamari itself soft on the inside. The calamari was dusted with cayenne pepper and it came with a garlic coriander dip as well as a small side salad too. Delish! 
The quick service meant that we weren't hanging around long for our mains, Jamie's Peruvian half chicken (£14.95) came out followed by my slow braised beef brisket (£15.95) - not something I would normally go for but I try to taste new things when I'm out reviewing restaurants and I like to see their take on classic dishes. 
First of all, both portions were huge. Like seriously, huge. Jamie had the biggest half of a chicken I'd ever seen, and I had two thick slabs of beef on mine. The chicken was coated in a pesto-like substance but it was very mild and just added hints of flavour. The chicken itself was very juicy, and went well with the BBQ jerk sauce which we thought was a highlight to the dish. It also came with Mexican vegetable rice nicely presented.
My beef brisket was on a mash potato bed, with a side of olives, black beans puree & charred radish. It had a delicious BBQ sauce on it, I would have personally liked even more of the sauce if I ordered it again, but I'm a saucy person. At first I thought I'd easily eat at least half of my meal, but it was hard! I was getting full just half way through one piece of meat. The meat pulled apart perfectly and went exceptionally well with the olives (again not something I would normally have as a side on my dish) I asked Nick to choose a cocktail that would go with my main and he made me an Old Fashioned which went very well with the beef.
As the portions were so big we couldn't finish our dishes especially as we wanted to save room for dessert. We were lucky enough to try a selection of some of their most popular dishes. This included the crispy churros, aztec chocolate fudge cake, sorbet and dule de leche napoleons. All desserts were very moreish, however my personal favourite was probably the crispy churros quickly followed by the dule de leche napoleons. Again this was beautifully presented with wonderful chocolate art on the plate making it that extra bit special! I paired my dessert up with a latte!
I would definitely recommend Vivo Latino, and can't wait to go again! Honestly, you won't be disappointed if you give them a try! 10/10! Many thanks to the staff for another fabulous evening there!
While this meal was complimentary all opinions are my own honest thoughts.


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