For a city of such great culinary diversity and choice, Mexico seems to be less enthusiastically represented in London than many of the world’s other great cuisines. Or so the recent culinary narrative in the Capital goes…
Fear not though, as this is more a journalistic trope than a reflection of London’s current dining darlings. Nope, there’s far more to this scene than sombreros and several shots of Tequila. Sure there’s outlets of the chain Wahaca on every corner, offering approachable Mexican fare to hungry Londoners wanting convenience and efficiency. Entry level stuff, maybe, but a good feed nonetheless.
Scratch the surface just a little more inquisitively though, and things get very interesting indeed. Invigorated by a string of quality taqueria openings in recent years, London’s Mexican restaurant scene has announced itself more assertively of late than a particularly raucous Mariachi band. So read on for our 5 IDEAL places to eat great Mexican food in London.
EL PASTOR – IDEAL FOR ONE OF THE BEST MEXICAN DISHES WE’VE EVER TASTED
El Pastor is from the The Hart Brothers, who have pretty much perfected no reservations, counter-seating tapas bars with Barrafina. Fresh, vivacious food with all the hustle, bustle, chatter and cheer of their previous joints makes El Pastor our favorite taqueria in town. The menu is primarily taco-led, although quesadillas and a few sides also make an appearance. The sharing short-rib, cooked until falling apart, served with a serious seasoning mix of sugar, salt and spices, is a must try. It was one of those knockout dishes that appears on lists and Instagram feeds alongside eulogies for the rest of the year. You’d be crazy not to add bone marrow for an extra three quid – it made a near perfect dish even better.
Address: 6-7A Stoney St, London SE1 9AA, UK
BREDDOS TAQUERIA – IDEAL FOR CREATIVE MEXICAN STREET FOOD
Like many of the best restaurants in London (think Som Saa, Bao….) Breddos started out small and temporary; a makeshift taco shack with residencies and pop-ups across the capital soon turned into something much bigger. Now there’s two of them – the original in Clerkenwell, the younger sibling in Soho, both as good as each other. The owners have travelled through Mexico extensively and been influenced by the many roadside taquerias and traditional restaurants found along the way.
Authenticity isn’t exactly on the menu here, but it’s a dirty, wrongly deployed word at the best of times, so who cares? Expect kaffir lime, seaweed and caviar rubbing shoulders with the usual suspects on an eclectic line up of always delicious grub.
Address: 82 Goswell Road, London. Clerkwenwell
ELLA CANTA – IDEAL FOR MEXICAN FOOD WITH FINE-DINING FLOURISHES
Adding a refreshing flourish to Park Lane, the iconic Mexican chef Martha Ortiz is behind Ella Canta in InterContinental Hotel. Opened in 2017, it’s already made waves, harnessing the recent worldwide recognition of Latin American food given the fine dining treatment. It’s certainly not your average taco, burrito and quesadilla led menu, and all the better for it. The food of Mexico deserves to be elevated to a new, exciting level, and offerings such as the guacamole with pomegranate and gold grasshopper do just that.
Address: One Hamilton Place, Park Ln, Mayfair, London W1J 7QY, UK
LA BODEGA NEGRA – IDEAL FOR A SERIOUS FIESTA
Hailed as ‘one of London’s best nights out’, La Bodega Negra is a mix between underground speakeasy restaurant and tequila bar. And what a perfect combination that has turned out to be. The menu offers the usual suspects; tacos and tostados, but anything off the grill is particularly good. While the food is excellent, it’s mostly the atmosphere we come here for. The tequila and mezcal list is ridiculously long, and a night attempting to get through it is a righteous, riotous night indeed.
Address: 16 Moor St, Soho, London W1D 5NH, UK
KILLER TOMATO – IDEAL FOR THOSE IN THE KNOW
Killer Tomato, in Shepherd’s Bush, is an unassuming proposition. But within is some fantastic cooking of the Mexican classics, with a few playful twists thrown in for good measure (cheeseburger taco anyone?). It’s a no reservations affair, and a queue is likely though rarely lengthy. The decor isn’t much to shout about. The food however, is, and the price even more so, with many plates coming in at around the fiver mark. We implore you then, not to shout about it at all, or those queues are gonna get much longer.
Address: 18 Goldhawk Rd, White City, London W12 8DH