Inside Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park’s New Restaurant

By Mary Lussiana

1 month ago

Thnk Chilean cuisine with local British produce


Mary Lussiana checks out Lucho, the new Chilean restaurant in Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park. 

Restaurant Review: Lucho, Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Chilean dishes served on grey and pink placemats.

You have to start with a Cisco Sour (a nod to the man – Francisco, otherwise known as ‘Cisco’ Hernandez – who is behind the launch) while perusing the menu of the newly-opened Lucho in the elegant surroundings of the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park’s Rosebery room. A room named after the Marquis of Rosebery, a Liberal British Prime Minister in the 19th century, who was once a frequent visitor to these tea rooms.

You might even stretch to two Cisco Sours, as I did, as the menu is one of those that encourages lingering.  Doubts and questions might well be answered by the man himself, as Cisco is none other than the Executive Chef of the hotel, a bubbly type who appeared more than once at my elbow to tell me that the chillies had come from his mother, and that Lucho was named in honour of his grandfather, more formally known as Luis, who owned a small grocery store in Chile. Apparently, there, in the back of the store, his gatherings for friends and family were legendary. Not just because of the delicious empanadas that were a constant at the table, or the churros con Manjar, beloved by his children; but also because of his creative cocktails, board games that were played long into the night. and his tangible zest for life.    

Lucho's head chef, Francisco. preparing dishes in the dining room.

Of course, here, Cisco has drawn on as many local British ingredients as he can without diluting the South American essence of the menu.  Start with the moreish Dorset Crab Tacos, with guacamole and crispy shallots – one-bite crunchy wonders, with just the right balance of spice and flavour. Or the ceviche Chileno (with seabass from Cornwall), which is mixed with smoked Chilean merkén chilli, coriander, parsley, white onion, lemon juice and avocado. But save room for the tiradito, where hand-dived scallops are served with Dorset crab, trout caviar, charred avocado, tomato salsa and the essential ‘tiger’s milk’ or ‘leche de tigre’, which literally makes the dish.

The menu is quite big – and Lucho may well become a regular haunt for lovers of South American food – but on your fist visit, there are some must-haves which will guarantee that you leave feeling like you have just been transported back to Lucho’s store of yesteryear. One such example is the croquettes and chicken stew, with egg yolk emulsion and olive puree, and of course the famous empanadas, a staple in Chile.  These come in three different flavours: cheese and prawns; slow cooked beef and mushroom; and cheese, oregano and tomato.  Main courses range from baked salmon to grilled flat iron steak, but a Sunday special is always the Pollo al Limón.  Grilled baby chicken is marinated in lemon, oregano and garlic and served here with Chilean tomato salad and grilled vegetables.

Chilean dishes served on a dark wooden dining table with a purple cushion in view behind.

Somehow there is always room for the churros, with Manjar sauce and whipped cream.  There was no possibility of saying no to Cisco when he arrived brandishing a plate, despite being full, but as the skies darkened in London’s Hyde Park, nothing could have finished our meal on a better note. Go and see for yourself.

BOOK IT

Lucho is open from Thursday to Saturday from 5.30pm to 9pm.  From £60 pp. mandarinoriental.com