The year's most popular Latin and Spanish restaurants are revealed today in the Latin-UK Awards 2014 (The LUKAS). Winners were chosen after two months of voting by the British public and the verdicts of a panel of expert judges.
The surprise winner in the Spanish Restaurant of the Year category is The 302 in the Spanish-owned H10 Waterloo Hotel, beating favourites Iberica, Brindisa and Tapas Revolution.
Judges commented that chef David Ovejo was "clearly pushing the boundaries with a delightful and complex menu that included a delicious platter of three croquettes, lomo with a scallop (and well thought-out reductions) and a completely heavenly octopus cooked in rum with smoked paprika potatoes. The main courses included a perfectly grilled piece of turbot with mushrooms and aubergine purée and a meat dish of suckling pig with delicious rosemary and garlic potatoes."
In the Peruvian food category, Anglo-Peruvian restauranteur Martin Morales bagged the top spot with the 'sophisticated and impeccable taste' of Soho's Ceviche, closely followed by Tierra Peru, for which judges commended its 'Peruvian cuisine for all the family.'
Peruvian Judge Danica Katich, Lima resident with over 30 years experience in catering, was surprised by the quality of London's Peruvian cuisine, the new global gastronomical craze: "In Miami I visit Peruvian restaurants often. But in London I have always done my own Peruvian cooking....until now."
The outstanding empanadas, quality of meat, and home-from-home atmosphere 'that transports one to Buenos Aires Barrio' won it for Camden-based La Patagonia in the Argentinian Restaurant category. Mexican Restaurant of Year winner, Mestizo, was described by judge Graciela Mursell from Mexicolore as "a truly superb restaurant in the full sense of the term: excellent and wide ranging authentic Mexican food, presentation, service, atmosphere, friendliness. Customers go especially to the restaurant as there's nothing else attractive in the area, which speaks volumes."
232 restaurants were nominated for one of 11 Food Awards. The winners, all in London apart from one in a reserved category, are:
· Spanish Restaurant: Three O Two at H10 Waterloo Road SE1
· Brazilian Restaurant: Floripa Great Eastern Street EC2
· Mexican Restaurant: Mestizo, Hampstead Road, London NW1
· Argentinian Restaurant: La Patagonia, Camden High Street, London NW1
· ColumbianRestaurant: Leños y Carbón, Rockingham Street, London SE1
· Peruvian Restaurant: Ceviche, Frith Street W1
· Latin Caribbean Restaurant: Floridita W1
- Latin Restaurant Group of the Year: Lupita:
· Restaurant Outside London: Voodoo Café, Darlington
· Café or Food Stall: Arepa & Co, Camden Lock & De Beauvoir Crescent N15
The LUKAS is the annual award ceremony to recognise the contributions of one million Latin American, Spanish and Portuguese residents to British life. Now in its third year, it is the fastest-growing awards ceremony and most media-covered Latin event in the UK.
LUKAS director Amaranta Wright says: "The Latino community is creating a culinary sensation in this country, from Michelin star Peruvian restaurants and upmarket Argentine grills to delicious street food and the Burrito bar phenomenon. Every year, new and exciting Latin restaurants open in London and other cities. These winners were selected by judges and the public who know Spanish and Latin foods best."
People voted in seven award categories marking contributions to the arts, music, sport, dance, food, business and community. In all, 1200 individuals and organisations were nominated for one of 56 LUKAS awards.
The award winners will pick up their awards at a gala ceremony held at the legendary KOKO venue in central London on Wednesday 30 April. It will be hosted by Cuban Fury star Yanet Fuentes and Boris Izaguirre, one of the Spanish world's biggest TV show hosts.
Confirmed guests include Bianca Jagger and Ossie Ardiles (spurs football legend) who will pick up lifetime achievement awards and Flamenco maestro Paco Peña, who will perform at the event with Flamenco superstar dancer Rafael Amargo. More entertainment will be provided by the performances from the winning LUKAS muscians and dancers, including International winners, and spectacular Latin dance choreographies by Strictly's Richard Marcel. It's a fantastic evening of music, dance and celebration.Visit www.thelukas.co.uk.
For information and pictures contact press@the lukas.co.uk or call 07806 689 836 or 07868 715 249.
Notes to editors
The runners-up for the LUKAS Food Awards are:
- Spanish Restaurant: Ibérica Great Portland Street W1
· Brazilian Restaurant: Barraco
· Mexican Restaurant: Mezcal Cantina, Kingsland High Street E8
· Argentinian Restaurant: De La Panza, Southgate Road N1
· Columbian/Ecuadorian Restaurant: El Rancho de Lalo, Brixton Market SW9
· Peruvian Restaurant: Tierra Peru, Essex Road N1
· Latin Caribbean Restaurant: Cabana, Upper Street N1
· Latin Restaurant Group of the Year: La Tasca, over 40 locations in UK
· Restaurant Outside London: Alma de Cuba, Liverpool
· Café or Food Stall: Panka, five London locations
The winners and runners-up were decided with the public vote counting for 50% and the remaining 50% by votes from a panel of experts. Last year's LUKAS awards were presented by Pink Floyd's David Gilmour, fashion queen Vivienne Westwood and ballet star Tamara Rojo. The LUKAS were founded by journalist, writer and social entrepreneur Amaranta Wright and Latin DJ, producer and promoter Jose Luis Seijas.
For more information and pictures visit contact firstname.lastname@example.org
or call 07806 689 836 or 07868 715 249.