Stepping outside the cosy confines of my comfort zone is one of the things I enjoy about editing Mi Down Time, accepting invitations to review restaurants provides me with the chance to visit places I would not have ordinarily considered; Mestizo, a Mexican restaurant and Tequila bar is one such establishment. Located just off the not so salubrious Euston Road, Mestizo with it’s slightly tired façade epitomises the old adage of, ‘never judge a book by its cover’.
When the hubby and I visited back in mid –December the Christmas party season was in full swing; with the exception of three covers including ours, the restaurant was filled with revellers, there was several work parties looking slightly worse for wear; encouraged no doubt by Mestizo’s reputation as party central, reinforced by a video constantly on loop depicting, the young, fast crowd carousing in the basement bar knocking back copious Tequila shots – wahey!!
Despite being busy the staff provided us with a warm welcome; special acknowledgement goes to Marisol, the no nonsense vegetarian Manager – an oxymoron in Mexico; Marisol is greeted with a combination of confusion and dismay when her predilection for vegetables is revealed while in her native Mexico. Well, I was thankful for Marisol as I struggled to find something suitable from the meat and cheese enriched menu, I was planning to play it safe and ordered the Ceviche de Cameron for my main: prawns marinated in lemon juice, with onion, tomatoes, serrano chilli and coriander, served with avocado strips and corn chips – the prawns had a nice spicy kick, however the avocado acted as a good diffuser preventing the domination of the chilli.
Our waiter made a gentle suggestion and tried in vain to get me to try the Enchiladas Verde – rolled corn tortillas stuffed with potato and topped with a green tomatillo sauce. On hearing of my rejection, Marisol triumphed where the waiter failed and got me to ‘at least try it.’ Glad I did because it was delicious.
Hubby meanwhile faced no such hesitation and ordered the Pollo Negro: blackened chicken (don’t panic pc police!) made with a cuitlacoche sauce (Mexican truffles) topped with cheese gratin and served with the Mexican staple of rice and beans.
For starters, hubby chose the Cochinita Pollo Pibil: chicken marinated in bitter orange, topped with tangy red onions, hubby was really taken with this dish especially the ‘tender chicken’ – apparently the tenderness is derived from the orange infused marinate.
Still in ‘safe’ mode I opted for the Guacamole served with corn chips – not earth shattering, although pleasant enough.
I skipped dessert, hubby, however could not resist completing his meal with something sweet and ordered the Crepas de Cajeta: crepes topped with a caramel sauce and chopped walnuts accompanied with vanilla ice cream. Despite finding the dish ‘too sweet’ he battled on and finished it.
We washed our food down with cocktails; hubby went for the Mezcal Margarita – the barman certainly wasn’t skimping on the Mezcal! I had The Grinch: Jalapeno Margarita, I really wanted to like this cocktail but I found it undrinkable – I have never failed to finish a cocktail; a definite first for me! Fortunately my El Rudo cocktail soon made up for The Grinch.
Before leaving the restaurant I headed downstairs to use the bathroom which is in close proximity to the bar, where were all the hordes of party people, as seen on screen? Instead there was the remnants of a rather awkward ‘work’ crowd who seemed at a loss of what to do with all the excess space.
We both enjoyed ourselves at Mestizo; hubby fully embraced the experience and I took a few tentative steps outside of my comfort zone.
Price – A reasonable £81.80 (excluding service)which included four cocktails.
Service – The service was exceptional, we were made very welcome and Marosol the Manager took good care of us.
Ambience – Lively, buzzing atmosphere in the restaurant, but a little flat downstairs in the bar.
Bathroom – 5/5 very clean.
For bookings and further information please visit: london.mestizomx.com