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El Rancho de Lalo

Restaurants, Pan-South American Brixton
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

Filling traditional Colombian food.

A small family restaurant that’s popular with South Americans, El Rancho de Lalo serves hearty, traditional Colombian meat dishes in a cosy, ranch-themed room. Its menu centres on the national staples of rice, beans and meat, and although main courses aren’t cheap, the portions are huge and ideal for sharing. Snacks of empanadas, fried corn arepas and plantain patacones are excellent value and are freshly made above Lalo’s Gelateria, which is just opposite.

Bandeja paisa, Colombia’s national dish, was like a supersized full english, complete with chorizo, fried pork belly, beef steak, rice, avocado, plantain and fried egg. Homemade chorizo was the highlight, with achiote lending it a fruity flavour and orange colour. Later, a plate of pollo en salsa criolla turned out to be a huge portion of chargrilled chicken breast with a moreish sauce of bell peppers and tomatoes. On our visit, only one of the two desserts was available, but the tang of soft white cheese perfectly offset a sweet, gooey dollop of cajeta, Colombia’s version of dulce de leche.

With just one vegetarian option and a pictorial menu that reads like a game of spot the difference, there is little choice beyond meat, meat and more meat. But judging by the queues on weekends and lunchtimes, there’s no shortage of carnivores looking for a slice of Colombia in a corner of Brixton.


Address: 94-95 Brixton Station Rd
Transport: Tube: Brixton
Price: Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £55
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