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Any Mexican Updates?


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I hit Mestizo with 'the girls' on Friday night and we had a really pleasant experience. I wasn't too keen on the location (which seemed further away from Warren Street tube than I expected) but the restaurant was decorated nicely and bright and airy.

Service was a bit on the slow side but they were all incredibly friendly and for once I actually felt like the service staff were happy for us to be there.

I'm afraid we didn't go too crazy or adventurious on the menu-- downed a pitcher of excellent 'mama margeritas' and shared some large nachos to start. Two of us had veg enchiladas for a main, which were really really scrummy-- filled with onion and cheese, covered with a lovely homade salsa, and served with some rice and black beans. The other two both had that Argentinian beef dish, of which I can't remember the name, but it was a medallion of rare, salty beef served with fried plantains. Mixed reviews for that dish.

Puds were amazing-- we shared some homemade mango ice cream and also dipped into a plate of crepes with walnut and caramel sauce, which were absolutely fantastic! Then the waitress (who might have been the owner) came around with a round of free shots for us. We stayed and talked over drinks and coffee for about an hour after the puds had come and gone, and even though it was getting busy there was no effort made to hurry us along on a Friday night....we all agreed that we would've been shoved out the door by then for sure if we were in the West End (especially if we had chosen the usual haunt, Yauatcha).

I would defininately go again, and have been thinking about those enchiladas all week :-)

Elizabeth, AKA Izabel_blue

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  • 1 month later...

Any reports from Taqueria yet? I agree with all of the above that London really needs a "proper" Mexican restaurant. I want to be able to eat tamales without writing off the best part of a day to make them!

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  • 3 weeks later...
Any reports from Taqueria yet?  I agree with all of the above that London really needs a "proper" Mexican restaurant.  I want to be able to eat tamales without writing off the best part of a day to make them!

Walked past the Cool Chile Co taqueria in Westbourne Grove on Saturday afternoon and it was 'rammed'. I was very tempted to stop in but knew I would feel the wrath of the other half once she found out I had been without her...

I'm hoping to make a stop this weekend and will report back !



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Well, I went to Taqueria on Wednesday night with a couple of friends. We'd been warned it gets busy later on, so we got there for 6.30pm, although, typically, being the one that lives the closest, I was the last to arrive. S was already two margaritas down by then - good effort. It was relatively empty when we arrived, but heaving by the time we left - people waiting for tables on the payment.

And ordered pretty much everything! Literally everything on the starter menu (menu here). Spicy soup very good (reminded me of tom yum); spicy pumpkin seeds; pickled green chillies stuffed with tuna; jicama sticks; tamal; and something whose name I can't remember but was a disc of solid rather dull cornmeal filled with black beans (?) I found the tamal truly bland, despite spicy dipping sauce - imagine a slab of polenta strewn with raisins, steamed in a banana leaf. My fine dining companion, who knows about these things, assured me that the blandness of the corn is the point, and that if I ate enough of it I would develop my tastebuds. But I say, why eat vearrrrk bland food when you can have zinging fresh + spicy flavours?

We then ploughed into the tostadas + tacos. Prawns in garlic on avocado mash was OK - not very inspiring prawns. Beef salpicon nice, but very, very light on beef (I mistook the slivers for bits of red cabbage, initially). Other choices involved chorizo + potato, pork with pineapple, sea bass, skirt steak. A side of black beans was rich + smooth.

Opinions were divided on the puddings. Hibiscus + orange sorbet had half the house saying 'tastes like pot pourri' + the other half knocking over people's glasses to get at the bowl. Vanilla pudding with caramel was panna cotta (never a bad thing in my book) with golden syrup. Mexican hot chocolate tasted like a less intense version of Green & Black's Maya Gold.

So - mixed. High points? REALLY good margaritas - the salt round the rim had a delicious subtle smokiness to it, + not too sharp with lime juice. Sea bass ceviche was excellent, ditto skirt steak with cheese (hey - meat + cheese - where you gonna go wrong?) The unlikely-sounding char-grilled lettuce with lime + orange crema was fabulous + smoky. And we had to order a second round of the corn on the cob rolled in butter with powdered chile (tip: avoid the one rolled in mayonnaise + grated cheese - it looks like an albino hedgehog).

Low points? Quite a few of the dishes felt as if they had been hanging around for a while - lots of the tacos were soggy in the middle, as if they had been pre-assembled. Pork ('al pastor') was very chewy/dry. And a lot of unclear, unzingy flavours - if I'm going to a place run by The Cool Chile Company, bring on the chiles, no?

I've not had a huge experience of Latin American food (read: have been to Puerto Vallarta + that's it), and the insistence on serving ground corn discs with everything dismayed me, by the end. I wanted more of the delicious chorizo/pork/fish/whatever, + less of the bland filler. Sure, that's not how they serve it in [insert Latin American country here], but hello, this is Westbourne Grove, not Mexico.

For this feast, plus eight margaritas, a couple of beers + some water, five of us paid £160 inc service. Not bad. But I wasn't inspired enough by the food. So for me - glad I've tried it, but I won't be back.

Oh and I forgot to say - it was unbelievably hot in there. No aircon, and only one door onto the street for two large glass-fronted rooms. if you go, don't wear much.

Fi Kirkpatrick

tofu fi fie pho fum

"Your avatar shoes look like Marge Simpson's hair." - therese

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...although, typically, being the one that lives the closest, I was the last to arrive.

As you live close by, have you tried 'Crazy Homies' around on the corner. If so, how does it compare ?

... And a lot of unclear, unzingy flavours - if I'm going to a place run by The Cool Chile Company, bring on the chiles, no?

Yes, I would have thought they would at least have had the 'red chile salsa' and 'green chile salsa' sauces on the side ?

I've not had a huge experience of Latin American food (read: have been to Puerto Vallarta + that's it)

I'm sure you know this already but P.V. is probably not the best place to be going to get to the heart of Mexican food...

For this feast, plus eight margaritas, a couple of beers + some water, five of us paid £160 inc service. Not bad.

I'm guessing most of the bill was on drinks ?



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Well, more updates on Mexican in London::::

September 8-14 will be Gastronomic Week at Mestizo - every day of the week will feature the typical food of a different state - and on the 15th will be the big Independence Day celebrations...

Today we were testing recipes, and I can tell you, it really doesn't get better than this in London

When the menus are up on the website, I'll post again, so you can all see what's coming!

In the meantime, the sopa de fideos seca off the Frida menu is awesome....

* ok a little more than just an update, a bit of shameless self-promotion also, but hey, you wanted to know, right?



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  • 1 year later...

This is quite an exciting devlopment - I can't wait to pay them a visit!

Mestizo on Hampstead Road (near Warren Street) isn't bad, but it's nice to see the lighter side of Mexican eating represented as well; grilled fish, lots of herbs and corn tortillas.

Thanks for the tip off!

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Masterchef winner Thomasina Miers has just opened Wahaca according to yesterday's Times (in which she has a food column in the Body & Soul supplement). Have the say, the menu actually looks refreshingly good value - anyone been yet?

Yep — I was there last week.

Overall, I liked it. They're aiming for an informal atmosphere, and I think they've hit the right note; the staff are friendly but not overfriendly, the tables and chairs are canteen-style but a sturdy kind of canteen-style, and the decor is "cool" but not overpolished. The food is also quite reasonably priced.

The quality of the food was slightly lacking, though. First of all, almost all of it arrived lukewarm. We'd been assured by the waitstaff that dishes would arrive as they were ready, and so we shouldn't expect things to come all at once. Given this, why wasn't any of it hot? I'll assume this is a problem that will be sorted out once they've been open a bit longer, though.

Second, many of the dishes could really have done with a bit of seasoning. Neither chilli nor salt was in evidence in most of them; in fact, the only items that really tasted of anything were those that included intrinsically-salty ingredients like chorizo or goats' cheese. We had a chat to a staff member after our meal, and it turns out that this is a deliberate decision to allow customers to salt and chillify their food to their own taste. I am not very keen on this idea, but it may work out for them.

I've put a more extended writeup here (Randomness Guide to London).

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No, I mean the wait for a table. I made the mistake of going on the day that the Evening Standard ran a review and the queue was almost out the door, which I suppose is a good sign for the owner.

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No, I mean the wait for a table. I made the mistake of going on the day that the Evening Standard ran a review and the queue was almost out the door, which I suppose is a good sign for the owner.

I gather that one should gather that this means the review was positive?

I don't understand why rappers have to hunch over while they stomp around the stage hollering.  It hurts my back to watch them. On the other hand, I've been thinking that perhaps I should start a rap group here at the Old Folks' Home.  Most of us already walk like that.

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No, I mean the wait for a table. I made the mistake of going on the day that the Evening Standard ran a review and the queue was almost out the door, which I suppose is a good sign for the owner.

I gather that one should gather that this means the review was positive?

Perhaps. As it was the Standard, I had a hard time reading beyond the first paragraph.

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Their policy for seating has changed. Instead of making people wait in line, they now give you an estimated time of seating and if you are still interested, ask you to put your name and number down. You are then free to leave and wander until you are called.

We arrived at 8.30pm last Saturday night, fervently hoping the hoards would have dined already and be more interested in drinking the night away. Not knowing the change in policy, we arrived to see a half empty restaurant and no queue, and cheered….only to be told by the man with the clipboard that we couldn't be seated until 10pm!!! Since we were in town already and I wasn't ravenous yet, I put my name down and went off to find a pint elsewhere.

I never did get a phonecall as promised, but returned to Wahaca just before 10pm to find our table ready and was seated straight away. We had an incredibly friendly waitress who had a good knowledge of the menu and its ingredients. She recommended the tamarind margarita to us (mmmmmm) and delivered our pork scratchings and guacamole with a message that we could have as much of it as we wanted….not quite sure what this meant as we never got the second portion after all, as the other dishes arrived after she took the empty scratchings plate away. The scratchings are purported to be healthier than normal - and in fairness probably are. It seems to be the rind layer only, but deep fried or something similar until it puffs up (similar in appearance to the deep fried fish skin you can find in asian markets). The guacamole was lovely - very slightly chunky, well balanced. So easy to do well, yet so many fail so often. Definitely looks like they've had negative feedback on the pureed smooth shiny version they were serving earlier in the week, and tried to improve so thumbs up for that.

There were 2 of us and we ordered 3 of the smaller street food dishes each, saving the main plates for next time. It was the right amount for 2 hungry people - we each ordered tacos (1 x pork pibil, 1 x market fish), tostadas (1 x mackerel & spicy slaw, 1 x black bean), quesadillas (1 x chorizo & potato, 1 x tinga). My favourites were both tostadas (the frijoles (beans kept whole for this) possibly edges out the mackerel, but not by much) and the pork pibil tacos, though I did think the quantity of filling in the tacos were a bit mean, and definitely unevenly distributed. Having said that, I've seen photos of tacos taken by bloggers where the tacos seemed to have more in them, so I'll put it down to teething problems and the time of night.

I agree with some of the comments on seasoning, though I didn't mind so much as it gave me an excuse to put that scrumptious (and not overly hot at all) South Devon Chilli Company Habanero hot table sauce on everything. If I could have smuggled a bottle home in my handbag, I would have. I would also like to see other accompaniments brought to the table along with the salsas - perhaps some wedges of lime, some coriander sprigs, a blob of sour cream, more of the fantastic pickle that comes with the quesadillas.... These are not expensive things to provide, but can add a different level of flavour to each bite and adds that brilliant freshness to the smoky flavours if you want it.

I also gave in to my sweet tooth and ordered the churros con chocolate - and am very glad that I did. They arrived piping hot and crunchy, light and not at all greasy, with an espresso cup of chocolate sauce on the side. I had to fight my other half off …. but then magnanimously let him have half so I could also order a mexican hot chocolate (wish I didn't bother - not overly spiced and nowhere near hot enough. It was incredibly sweet already, though was served with a full sugar shaker on the serving plate!).

The interior design was airy and bright, using the mexican coastal colours of aqua blues and greens with the urban edges of concrete and tin - very spacious in feeling, and one wonders if they could have fit a couple more tables in here and there easily, reducing the time to wait for a table. Though I'm sure they tried and perhaps it's just not feasible given the floorplan.

Would I go again? Definitely. Would go again if I had to I wait 45+ minutes for a table? No..…though I say this knowing that I have Green & Red up the road from where I live....

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  • 4 weeks later...
I was having my favourite moan tonight with some workmates about hankering after good Mexican and not finding it.

I bought some corn tortillas from the Chili Company (or whatever they're called) in Borough Market on Saturday but they just didn't taste right, even when filled with grilled marinated fish and salsa.

What's the latest update?  Any hope of a real Mexican place opening?  Any rumours at least...?

Help me out here, I'm desparate.

I'm afraid that I listened to the PR for "Wahaca" in Covent Garden about it being all authentic Mexican and not Tex Mex. I went last night and it was dismal, even the "fresh home made" salsa was bland and tasted just like something from a cheap supermarket. ALso, the menu was pretty much exactly Tex Mex. Oh well, back to California for proper Mexican food I guess.

www.andyhayler.com has a detailed review if you like to observe suffering :wacko:

Andy Hayler

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