I always get nostalgic about real Mexican food and I find it very hard to seek out the good stuff. Not anymore. I know exactly where to go – Mestizo, in Hampstead.
My first visit to Mestizo was on Mexico’s Mothers Day. The place was packed and complete with a mariachi band. We kicked off the feast with pork tamales, steamed corn husks filled with maize and pork with morita chille (£5.40). They were delicious, rich and smoky. I was transported back to the hills of Puebla where I first had them. And the margaritas flowed.
Next came campechano tacos with beef, chorizo, shredded onion and parsley. They were served with the most amazing smoky red salsa that was (I’m sorry) finger licking good! And the margaritas continued.
For our mains we had the Mestizo special – Molcejete (£16), which was a huge stone bowl (with a pig face on it – a little strange but we’ll overlook that) filled with steak, chorizo, charred spring onions and cheese and topped up with a spicy rich tomato sauce made form wonderful chille de arbol. It was so good that I could quite easily have eaten several more pig-faced bowls. We also had the mole poblano (£14). Mole is a classic Mexican sauce made with just about every herb and spice grown in Mexico. Their version, served with chicken, was delicious and obviously accompanied by another round of margaritas!
Having very full bellies and a skinfull of margaritas, the sensible thing would have been to hop in a cab, head home and watch that evening’s must-watch on catch up, but I hate being sensible and so generous shots of tequila ensued alongside a rather magnificent pile of pancakes covered in a caramel and cinnamon sauce (£4.20). Much more fun!
Mestizo, 103 Hampstead Road, London, NW1 3EL, 020 7387 4064, www.london.mestizomx.com,