High Wycombe’s latest restaurant, Lata Lata - so good they named it twice, writes Pete Grant.

The birth of Wycombe’s newest restaurant Lata Lata has been an unconventional one, but the town has been waiting a long, long time for something this good.

Any foodie worth their Himalayan rock salt knows about the Tin Kitchen. The sort of café the term ‘hidden gem’ was created for, Tin’s humble beginnings on an unassuming housing estate off Hatters Lane have given way to a tidal wave of gushing reviews from devoted fans of its locally-sourced, expertly-crafted dishes.

But, almost a victim of its own success, those same diners will also be familiar with queuing for a table in the tiny corner café and hungrily prowling the area for anything even remotely as good when it (inevitably) gets full, or closes at 4pm.

And that’s where Lata Lata comes in.

Aimee and Ross Hunt, the driving force behinds Tin’s success, crowdfunded an impressive £17,500 to launch their latest project (its Portuguese for Tin, see) in a small-ish unit underneath Wycombe’s brutalist overpass.

If you’re thinking that doesn’t sound too appealing, you’re wrong – this place is exquisite.

It’s not quite a bar; not in the British sense, anyway. Nor is it a full-blown formal restaurant. Instead it exudes an informal continental breeziness as people come and go, mingle, graze and drift from the bar to their table with beers and cocktails, selecting Tapas-style small plates as they go.

It’s unlike anything else Wycombe has to offer, and you are struck with the sense that it is this vision that drove 169 contributors to put their hands in their pockets to support Lata Lata’s genesis.

The calming, chic interior is peppered with hanging plants and shot through with bold touches such as a vivid herringbone striped floor and the odd emerald green wall, along with plywood furniture and some rough-and-ready fixtures.

The booths nestle along the sides of the compact space alongside the constant hive of activity at the sweeping bar.

With Tin Kitchen’s 4pm closure hampering the boozy side of their craft, Aimee and Ross have poured a lot of love into the cocktail offering. Negroni comes on tap (and why the hell not) from a pre-mixed batch and there’s a smattering of other original recipes that are strong, zingy and relatively cheap (a standard gin and tonic is only £3).

The locally-sourced ethos is apparent everywhere, as is the clear sense of pride in its locality.

As with Tin Kitchen, Lata Lata doesn’t feel like a concept that has plonked itself in Wycombe like some other recent openings, but rather a slow-burn evolution in and of the town where it was conceived and of the customers that helped make it a reality.

As such (deep breath) - the meat is from Chalfont, the beers from Fishers craft brewery in town and Rebellion in Marlow (keg and bottle).

The coffee is roasted in Holmer Green, the milk is from Lane End, the bar materials are from Stokenchurch and even the plates are local; from the hand of the artist in residence at the Royal Grammar School – how’s that for attention to detail?

But as ever, it’s what’s on them that counts, and good Lord, they’ve got that right too.

The menu at launch comprises about 30 options of small plate tapas including four desserts, ranging in price from £2.50 for breads to £10 for slow roast duck leg. They recommend 2-3 plates per person and that feels about right.

There is no right and wrong combination, but it would be criminal to overlook the arancini.

Three varieties are available of what surely will become a signature dish for Lata Lata, with each rice ball coming perfectly browned, stuffed full of meat or cheese and nestling on a bed of rich tomato sauce. These are sublime - try one now.

Oher highlights include gambas (king prawns), pig cheeks, a white bean and garlic stew with endless layers of flavour and the burrata – a dome of heart-meltingly soft buffalo mozzarella laced with cream almost too pretty to sink your fork into.

As well as the tapas staple patatas bravas, there are plenty of vegetarian options alongside the hearty meat plates, and being seasonal, expect changes to the menu every few months.

The flexibility of the menu is such that this place is ideal for a large party out for a sit-down dinner, a couple of friends at the bar sharing one or two plates or even a quick-stop office lunch or lazy brunch with a paper and crossword.

And the warm, personable service comes with an overwhelming feeling that the owners and staff love what they’re doing and want you to share in that experience.

High Wycombe has seen a surge of independents of late, all offering something a little bit different. Lata Lata not only fits nicely in the mix, but might just emerge as the best of the lot. We’re lucky to have it.

Lata Lata, Pauls Row, High Wycombe – www.latalata.co.uk

Instagram - latalataltd