Without much in the way of publicity, this new Mexican venture was already doing good business on the couple of weekday lunchtimes when we visited, soon after opening. Perhaps it had something to do with the handy West End location. Just one minute from the Strand, it’s only just far enough from Covent Garden Market that it doesn’t come with a ‘tourists only’ sign above the door.
Or maybe its busy-ness had something to do with a light and elegant contemporary design that somehow allows the words ‘bright’, ‘inviting’ and ‘basement’ to occupy the same sentence. It also manages to be cool and airy, without being too hard-edged. Service was impressive too. Drawn from a rainbow of nations – though not, it would seem, Mexico – the staff were all both well drilled and engagingly enthusiastic. ‘Make sure you come back, heh’, said a waiter as we went out – to do that without sounding trite is quite an achievement.
The menu here is based around Mexican ‘street food’, which means a lot of familiar dishes of the tacos and quesadillas variety, plus some more substantial fare. Some of the cooking was perhaps a touch bland, but others – a crisp-tasting and very elegantly presented tostada for example – were really very good. And, for the heart of the West End, prices are low enough for any shortcomings swiftly to be forgiven.
So a great culinary experience to satisfy the hardest-core Mexicophile? Possibly not. But a really handy West End venue that might be pressed into service for a whole variety of occasions? You could do much worse.