Sabor, South American restaurant - About Sabor

About Sabor

Sabor is the brainchild of Esnayder Cuartas, a Colombian national who has lived in London and worked in London restaurants for more than 10 years. His experience includes a period spent working for the Chez Gerard Group, Anthony Worral-Thompson, helping to set up Lola's restaurant in Islington, and spells at the Real Greek and Les Trois Garcons. The idea for Sabor was born when, in 1999, Esnayder completed his degree studies at the University of North London and took a break to spend six months travelling the length and breadth of South America, from Colombia to Argentina, with his partner. Whilst travelling, the pair sampled a huge range of edible treats from almost all the Spanish speaking countries of the continent (sorry Paraguay!), and began to think about how appealing this food would be to their fellow Londoners back home...

Esnayder Cuartas, Sabor's General Manager

The experience was followed up by holidays in Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Colombia and the Amazon region over the next few years, and some inspirational meals at Nuevo Latino restaurants in New York and Miami. With three more friends, Esnayder and his partner raised the money, found the premises, recruited staff and started turning Sabor from a dream into a reality. The restaurant opened at 108 Essex Road in May 2004.

The partners at this Latin American restaurant do not claim that the food is a faithful representation of traditional South American dishes like Brazilian feijoada or Peruvian carapulcra, delicious though such meals can be. Rather, the aim is to take as inspiration the classical recipes and the characteristically tasty and healthy ingredients of the region, such as corn, plantains, avocado, excellent quality seafood, meat and fish, and of course the fabulous tropical fruits to be found there; then to combine these, with fresh lively seasonings like coriander, chilli, saffron, garlic and citrus juices, in the imaginative but harmonious way people have come to expect of a modern European restaurant. As you would expect, the majority of the wines served are from carefully selected Chilean and Argentinean estates. Classic Latin American cocktails are also served, such as the Mojito and the Caipirinha, as well as original variations like Passion Fruit Margarita and Pineapple-Ginger Martini.

The restaurant itself is no imitation of any traditional country or urban style of architecture to be found in Latin America, instead a contemporary 'look' is favoured. However, a golden canopy over the dining area was inspired by thoughts of indigenous worship of the sun and of gold. The colours of the tables were carefully chosen to provide a vivid but consistent palette like those of the textile dyes used in the Andes, and the walls are decorated with carnival masks from the city of Barranquilla, part of the African heritage of that city, introduced by the slave trade. Mirrors are used extensively to provide interesting and unexpected views from most of the tables and from the bar of the interior and of the streetscape outside.

Music is an important part of the experience at Sabor, and the partners and staff have all contributed some of their own favourites to help create a 'soundtrack' that reflects the fantastic variety of musical styles that originate from Cuba, Brazil, Puerto Rico, Argentina, etc. Latin jazz, vintage Spanish ballads, Colombian cumbia and New York-style fusion music are as much a part of this mix as salsa romantica, bossa nova and tango.

Overall, the partners and staff at Sabor want their customers to enjoy the best possible night out or weekend brunch with Latin American Taste. As they say 'back home': 'mi casa es tu casa'. Welcome to your house.

We welcome any feedback or suggestions.