Mestizo – Mexican food for the soul- NW1
Forget tequila slammers and salsa-covered-everything, Mestizo leaves the gimmicks to its competition and focuses whole-heartedly on serving up authentic Mexican dishes steering clear from the cliches.
Between the 4th and 14th of September, Mestizo had their 9th Gastronomic Festival, (don’t worry, there’ll be more). This popular event presented cuisine from 10 different states in Mexico, resulting in 10 exciting starters and 10 mains to match.
The first thing I noticed as soon as I stepped into the restaurant was the sleek and modern decor. I couldn’t see a single sombrero hanging on an inflatable cactus and no mariachi music playing in the background. Although we were one of the first people there this restaurant filled up to max capacity…fast.
To my delight, the menu offered a great selection of food. like our first starter, Tamales Costenos – corn maize filled with shredded chicken that has been smothered in chipotle and tomato sauce. They were wrapped in a banana leaf and steamed, making the corn maize feel like a savoury version of a light and airy sponge cake. Although I wished the filling-to-maize-ratio was slightly larger, the smoky chipotle sauce packed enough flavour to get my belly to ask for more.
And more there was! What else could I ask for if not a Pambacito. A fresh home-made bread roll covered in a cool creamy sauce and filled with chorizo and potatoes. It’s a hearty and filling starter where the spice and strong edge of the chorizo needed the softer flavour given by the potatoes, creating a perfect harmony with each bite.
The Torta Ahogada, reminded me of a Mexican version of a Sloppy Joe, with shredded pork packed into a bread roll and smothered in a hot chile de árbol salsa. The generous serving of this spicy sauce soaked through the bread and pork and was definitely the dominant flavour of this dish and a much needed Michelada, soothed our tingling tastebuds.
The last starter we indulged in were two Pescadillas, which were deep fried tortillas filled with fresh fish, tomato, onion and garlic. The fish flaked beautifully when cutting into the tortilla and the tortilla itself was light, flaky and anything but greasy. It came with a creamy sauce which added the moisture that most deep fried dishes crave.
The Pollo Con Mole was chicken breast cooked in a traditional Mexican sauce with over 24 ingredients, one of them being…chocolate. Served with rice, this dish is unlike any other. The chocolate is the most dominant flavour, and if you’ve ever fancied having chocolate sauce with rice and chicken then this is the dish for you. Personally, it was just a bit too much, and although there were hints of other flavours which wanted to be discovered, the chocolate overpower them all.
Finally, the Pozole Verde de Pollo, was a delectable and refreshing green chicken and whole corn soup, made with coriander, tomatillo and green chillies, topped with lettuce, radish, avocado, chillies and lime. The ingredients marry beautifully in this hearty soup and by breaking in some of the crunchy tortilla it comes with it adds a great bit of texture.
Don’t worry, we didn’t leave without trying the margaritas, it’s like you don’t even know us! The cucumber margarita was lethal. Its crisp and fresh flavour makes it hard for you to simply just sip on. The strawberry margarita took me straight back to summer days in the sun and was the right amount of sweet without being too overwhelming.
And it would be rude not to let you know that Mestizo has the biggest tequila bar in all of Northern Europe. Yes, you read correctly. And it’s all authentic tequila imported from Mexico and of such high quality that having it with salt and lime would be an insult.
Keep an eye on their website for upcoming events, and between the 26th of October to the 2nd of November Mestizo will be having a Mole festival coinciding with Día de los Muertos, or Halloween, where an altar will be put in place to welcome back visiting spirits from the world of the dead.
This Mexican gem is most definitely worth a visit whether it’s for one of their special events or just to experience an authentic take on Mexican food. The busy atmosphere on the night showed that Mestizo is truly loved by those lucky enough to know about it and it’s not long before the secret is out and everyone knows about it!
Written by Honey Kohan
103 Hampstead Road
NW1 3EL London
Tel: 020 7387 4064