Paul and Matt’s 36hrs to find the Best Tacos in London
Our last blog introduced the idea of ‘Fredagsmys’ and our first FredagsTaco event that will take place in the cafe on Friday 2nd March 2018. It’s going to be a relaxed evening featuring chips and dip, tacos, mocktails, beer/cocktails for those that want them and some all round good fun.
We’re taking this seriously though and as well as buying a couple of books about tacos we felt we needed to do a bit research in the field.
I’m the first one to poke fun at London and say proudly how much I prefer living in Yorkshire, but one thing you can’t deny is that when you’re looking for some food inspiration our nation’s capital is absolutely bursting with it. Occasionally you have to nip down there just to check out what’s going on and more importantly to borrow (steal) other people’s ideas and bring them to the people of Yorkshire (pass them off as your own genius).
So, with rumbling tummies we stepped on board the 12:15 train to Kings Cross and so began our very serious research trip.
I have to admit that I had to google what tacos were before leaving, because until this stage my only experience was those Old El Paso hard shell things when I was a child. I was shocked to find out that apparently Mum wasn’t being entirely true to Mexico’s food heritage in preparing these beauties.
If like me you are a bit in the dark, my working definition is that tacos are a smaller corn or wheat based tortilla filled with meat/fish/veg, salsas and other bits and pieces. We’re going to be sering exclusively corn based tacos, because we don’t want coeliacs or guests with low gluten diets to miss out. Tacos do not include beans or rice because then we are moving into burrito territory.
We had 6 places that ideally we wanted to visit, we scratched one off because it was in Brixton, life was too short and appetite not sufficiently big to venture down there.
I’m not going to exhaustively go through each venue. What I will say is that the best tacos we ate were at El Pastor in Borough Market.
We ordered the full menu, with a juice and a mezcal lined up alongside. Arguably 12:25 was a little early for the first hard spirits of the day but we thought well, we’re on holiday/serious research trip.
El Pastor is a partnership that involves the Hart brothers, serial restaurateurs, with a string of successful venues behind them. The space is stripped back warehouse style with a double height open kitchen. It’s quite noisy and all hard surfaces with service that is competent and brisk. It’s not a place you’d stick around for long, and in the busyness of the market that makes sense.
Potato taco at El Pastor
What made these tacos stand out above the rest for us were the homemade corn tacos and general freshness of every ingredient. Beyond this it was clear from the technique on show, balance of flavours and importantly introduction of texture that there was a some real skill in the kitchen.
Equal billing was given to Breddos in Clerkenwell and Mole Taco in Marylebone (their soft shell crab taco was great, we’re looking into this as an option).
Pigs head taco at Breddos
Soft shell crab taco at Mole Tacos
The other two spots were not really in the same bracket.
So there we are. We hope you like the look of these tacos and we look forward to announcing the menu for our first service on Friday 2nd March. Save the date.
If you’re coming to the Harrogate LIVE Networking event that will be held at Baltzersen’s on 22nd Feb (more info here) then you’ll get a sneak peek at what’s ahead because we’ll be testing some of the toppings out on you in mini-taco format.
Top Tip for food research in London: don’t try and eat in five taco places in two afternoons and one evening – it’s a lot of taco and by number five we were seriously flagging. Just got to one of the three we mentioned above or come and see us, it’s cheaper than getting the train down.
Taco trials begin from now, so you’ll likely see us faffing about on social media over the next 3 weeks.
We’re looking forward to seeing lots of you at the event!