We both had a craving for Margaritas yesterday and we haven’t eaten out in ages, so the Vegetarian and I decided to treat ourselves to a Mexican dinner (we also wanted a change from Italian cuisine). We spent the afternoon looking up and reading reviews of Mexican restaurants all over London before finally deciding on Mestizo on Hampstead Road. After calling and not being able to book a table until 9.30pm and noticing the price point was a little more than we could afford, we cancelled the booking and continued searching for more restaurants. We then called a few more places, were unable to book a table, got bored of the idea, fed up with each other and were very close to ordering a take away pizza. Luckily we managed to redeem ourselves just in time and jumped on a tube to the Vegetarians second choice, Lupita in Charing Cross. We soon realised that this was a bad idea, it was already 9pm, there was a 45 minute wait, we were starving and the streets were full of tourists. Not wanting to give up on our Mexican evening we quickly jumped back on the tube to Warren Street and ran down the street to Mestizo where we managed to get a table.
The meal began perfectly. When we sat down we were given homemade tortilla chips with a spicy avocado dip to accompany our perfectly made Margaritas served on the rocks. As a starter we shared vegetarian nachos, which had a generous amount of all the trimmings.
Sadly we were both let down with our main course. I ordered the Chef’s special Mole Poblano a boneless chicken breast served with a traditional mole sauce made of dried chilies, herbs, spices, almonds, chocolate and more secret ingredients, served with beans and rice. The sauce drowned the chicken and although there were many ingredients, there wasn’t any depth to the flavour. I did however enjoy the beans, which were sprinkled with feta cheese.
The Vegetarian ordered the Crepas de Cuitlacoche, a Mexican specialty of thin crepe pancakes filled with black corn mushrooms, sautéed with onion, garlic, button mushrooms, Serrano chili and sweet corn in the Chef’s special white sauce, served with grilled vegetables. The sauce was congealed, the vegetables were overcooked and it all tasted rather bland, lacking in the vibrancy of flavour that you expect from Mexican food.
The staff were knowledgeable and very friendly, although the service was perhaps a little rushed. Our food was delivered very quickly and removed whilst we were still chewing our last mouthful. Although this was all very efficient we barely had time to take a breath before the next course arrived.
To finish, they recommended sampling three Herradura tequilas; blanco, aged and reposado with a tomatillo liquid to clear the palette between each. It was a lovely touch to the meal and left us high-spirited, and perhaps a little drunk.