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Reviews of Leños & Carbón

Rockingham Street, London SE1

 

Some reviews on this page may refer to a previous operator of the same premises.
terrible service :(
When I reached the restaurant I had high expectations about the place because my friend have had been once long time ago, and she told me it was better than other "Colombian restaurants". At first the service was great, I mean the service from the waiter one of the best. The entree was delicious "arepa con chicharron", the surprise came when my main course came to the table , I asked for "seafood casserole -cazuela de mariscos" , i was waiting for a fresh dish taste and oh surprise! when I got the plate it has just one king prawn on it and and also no taste , it was "horrible", was like if you take the seafood straight from the freezer and just hit it up with Pure milk and sour cream without pre cooking :( , I was really disappointing and sad . I made clear to the waitress my opinion and she couldn't care less about it, she ignored me and made clear that the only important thing was if was I going pay for it ! Then I tough maybe when I talk to the owner, because I have heard the new owners were more " people person" I will be looking after but I gad a greater surprise when he did not care at all , not even offer us an apology or discount , just speechless OMG ! I made clear to him was my first experience and that I enjoyed the service and the entree but he just did not speak at all he just talk when he asked us how we were going to pay for it!! How sad to see how they treat people , I will never go back to this restaurant for sure, surely not interested, I was just silly form thinking the may be nice just coming from the fact " we are COlombians" .
Excellent quality Columbian and value for money
We discovered this restaurant last autumn and since then have visited this authentic local Columbian restaurant most weeks for our evening meal out because it is such good value.
The cuisine is perfect for meat-eaters and a little less varied for the vegetarian, which we think probably reflects typical Columbian tradition. There is some suitable veggie fodder - frijoles beans (possibly pinto beans?) and plenty of salad, corn bread, egg, fried plantain and Columbian cheese - but almost all of the choice for main courses is in the great variety of massive plates filled with everything (plantain, potatoes, rice, guacamole, fried egg, corn bread, excellent fresh salad etc.) plus whatever meat you wanted (the dish we often have has scerriso sausage, belly pork, pork steak, or you can go for beef steak, chicken in creamy mushroom sauce). And we have yet to discover the delights of the seafood!
The staff are very friendly and helpful in explaining any questions we have about the menu (though all the explanations are in good English)and the delivery is punctual and always considerably larger than we expected! We often regret having polished off the tasty starters because we can't manage the mains. Everyone we've dined out there with has rated the food very highly. Don't be put off by the location.
A Good Meal at Leños & Carbón
Well I finally bit the bullet and after 10 months of ignoring the place after it replaced Sorriso I finally went there for dinner.

And I was very pleasantly surprised. I had had a bit issue with the prices on the menu as it was a bit more expensive that it's predecessor, however the portion size and food quality does match the prices.

We had, calamari and fried belly of pork for starters, both well cooked and reasonably sized. The calamari was some of the best I've had in a UK restaurant. Light and not at all rubbery. The Pork was crisp and juicy and there was a bit of a fight over who was to have what.

The mains were seafood paella and sirloin steak respectively. The paella had a huge amount of seafood in it including a couple of delicious crab claws. And by God there was a lot of it - and that's ignoring the large side salad with it. The steak I had asked to be done medium rare and, astonishingly, it was exactly that. Given it was quite thin and wide as it had been tenderised, I was expecting blue or burnt but no, it was spot on.

The starters were about £3.60 and the mains about £10 so very reasonable given what we had.

They've refitted some of the features in the restaurant. On the positives they've replaced the horrible inner metal door with a wooden framed one. On a possible negative, it feels somewhat more like a number of South American places (and indeed Spanish places) where the place is a room and tables and chairs so you can sit and enjoy good food. It's quite bright in there so feels more like a cafe than a restaurant. However the atmosphere is authentic. So if you can either appreciate, or ignore the setting you will be sure of getting some good food!

Always able to help with special requests
I have eaten at Sorriso many times now. I always order with no meat, eggs or dairy, but that is no problem for Franco. He always seems pleased to see me, and makes my guests feel welcome. The portions are generous, the pricing competitive. It has become my favorite restuarnat in the area.
I'm looking forward to going back there.
Don't bother unless you've got time to spare....
Having heard good reviews of this restaurant, I went with friends at lunchtime. One and a half hours later were were still waiting for our food. Mine, when it finally arrived, was average pasta and not very hot. Although we got several apologies for the lateness of the food, we haven't felt like repeating the experience. A few free olives and bread might have been nice to keep us going whilst we waited, but nothing like this arrived.
Best local pizzeria
We thought we would grab a take away pizza and were very pleased we made the schlepp there! It is a bit tucked away, but well worth the slightly off the beaten track journey. Friendly staff and really good pizzas. Mine was a vegetarian and it was abundant with veg without being soggy, partner had a capricossa and was very happy indeed! We will be back!
Great Pizzas - forget the rest!
Had the best pizza I've had in a while here (although I could also recommend The Libertine's ones too). The base was just right - thin, light and fairly crispy, but not overcooked. The ingredients were fresh and the tomato base sweet and tangy.

However, the rest was a disaster. The house wine was unavailable so we were offered the Valpolicella for the same price - this was not a good choice - with a very chemical aftertaste. The Chianti was better, although freezing cold for some reason.

The starter of Mussels was also disappointing - not particularly fresh - possibly frozen? It came in a cold bowl too - so wasnt very hot when it was served. The green salad - which took ages to arrive - was accompanied by unripe avocado, and no dressing (we had to ask the waiter for oil and vinegar - the latter he couldnt find apparently!).

So, my advice is keep it simple - the pizzas are great - stick to them and you'll be hard pressed to find better in the area. Service was ok - pretty slow seeing as there were very few customers. Maybe we chose an 'off night'?

A lovely hidden gem
We have been to Sorriso on many occasions, both eating in and taking out, we have always enjoyed going there. Whilst food and drink are obviously important in a restaurant, it is the feel of a place that makes or breaks it and Sorriso is just wonderful. Here is why:

We had booked a table for a family party on the 26th September 2008. We arrived half an hour late and with two less people than booked, complete with tired baby daughter and energetic toddler nephew. We were greeted with prosecco and the manager had made sure to supply some prosecco-looking non-alcoholic drink for pregnant sister and eight year old stepson so they didn't feel left out. He had also religiously followed my mum's decoration wishes (she had actually brought lengths of taffeta the evening before…). We had only made the booking and decided on the food a week before.

Whilst enjoying a variety of starters it turned out that one of the uncles wasn't allowed cream, which the main course (chicken) was cooked in, so the manager arranged for a different chicken dish to be cooked. On top of that one of the aunts (the wife of the cream-averse uncle) didn't eat chicken at all and asked for a fish fillet not on the menu, so the manager popped out and bought said fillet to quickly cook what she wanted. Amazingly, everyone still ate at the same time without any noticeable delay. We rounded the meal off with some lovely tiramisu and coffee. All in all, a wonderful meal.

So, whilst we were nightmare customers (is it just this family or are they all like that?), who pre-ordered everything and then came up with lots of changes last minute, special dietary requirements, babies, toddlers, change in guest numbers, etc., they were the perfect hosts, friendly, attentive and made us feel very much at home. Oh, and the bill for 13 diners was less than £300 including a three course meal, red and white wine, prosecco, coffee and all those little extras like the fish. A wonderful addition to the area.

Excellent
The SE1 lunch club visited on Friday 30th May 2008.

The staff are excellent - attentive, courteous, pleasant and not intrusive.

The food is excellent - I had a pizza, which was really hot and fresh straight from the oven.

There were 5 of us and a nibbles starter was provided free of charge! - a nice touch and the way to ensure return custom.

Red wine comes in at a very reasonable £7.50 a bottle - and was really tasty. Ice cold Italian beer is £3 a bottle.

All in all a thumbs up from the hard to please SE1 lunch club for this gem of a place. We will be back.

Potentially a really great place.
This review relates to the opening night at Sorriso. They said they weren't heavily advertising this week just to allow themselves some snagging time.

Starters varied from £2.30 for pizza garlic bread to a slightly expensive but amply proportioned (and very delicious - from someone who's not a fan) £5.90 Parma ham and Melon.
Pizzas for between £5.50 and £7.70 were prepared in front of us and were crisp, light and fresh tasting.

There were also a selection of pasta dishes £5.60 to £6.80 and some meat and fish dishes from £8.90 to £11.90 which we didn't sample but the next table were enjoying - so we were cheeky and asked and they thought they were lovely.

The staff were positive and chatty, the décor was simple and quite tasteful.

Downsides
Unfortunately the heating wasn't working but they had back up heaters and an engineer on call out and the Chip and Pin card reader was on the fritz but is being looked at. Finally and only because it caught my attention, the chairs which are light and make a bit of a clatter over the solid floor. Hopefully when full the sound'll be dampened out otherwise they might need to do something.

Frankly I think I'm going to be very happy its there.

Oh yes, the loos are nice too.

Where an establishment has changed hands or rebranded, reviews on this page may refer to a previous operator of the same premises.

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