153 Commercial Street, Spitalfields | http://www.bohomexica.co.uk | ingested Sept 19th ’09
Judging from pre-lunch whispers of “…Burrito?” on the office floor and the relentless queue of addicts stretching along the pavement outside Chilango’s Fleet Street outfit, there would appear to be a niche for great Mexican food in the capital. But in truth, there aren’t that many good Cantinas in London which go beyond the staple Tex-Mex Fajitas, Burritos and Cajun-spiced suspects. If asked, I could probably only think of 2 establishments worth a visit – Shoreditch’s Green & Red or Euston’s Mestizo. However, I’m pleased to report that you can now add a third star to this reclusive list – Spitalfields’ new kid on the block, Boho Mexica.
Gone is the cheap, cyan-coloured Chinese takeaway that used to occupy the premise. In its place, a real looker-of-a-Cantina which fits right into the cool, funky vibe of Shoreditch. The eclectic deco at Boho Mexica is spot-on. The warm lighting and red hue brings out the life in the murals of Mexico City and London which sprawl the walls of the cozy dining area. Vintage Mexican editorials from another era are plastered onto the pillars either side of the bar, complementing the abstract catch-phrases etched directly onto the ceilings. Despite only being in its first few months of operation, the place was near-full, buzzing with the usual East End locals when our group of five rocked up on a Saturday night without a booking.
Menu from an earlier era (Left) and Tia Patty’s home-made tortilla chips and Guacomole (Right)
The concept of the cuisine here centres around Antojitos – tapas-size regional specialties from Mexico desgined for sharing. Head Chef Tia (Aunt) Patty has created a stunning menu which showcases the trademark zing, heat and flavour of Mexican cuisine like never before. Tinga Poblana (Shredded Chicken on soft Corn Tortillas with Chipotle Chilli and Tomato salsa) and Empanadas de flor de Calabaza (Empanadas stuffed with Zucchini flower and Cheese) stood out from the crowd – the flavours bold and multi-faceted, leaving you wanting more..(and yes, we did indeed have seconds of each). Other national favourites like Enchiladas de Mole (Chocolate and Chilli-Sauced Chicken) and Caldo (A thick bean soup with Shredded Pork) were rich and flavoursome – comfort food at its best. With an ample cocktail list of magaritas, mojitos and caprinhas twisted with the likes of blueberry and pomegranate, there are all the ingredients you will need here for one heck of a fiesta.
Enchiladas de Mole with rice, Tinga Poblana, Blueberry Caprinha
Pepito (Rump Steak sarnie with black bean and avocado) and Conchinita (Mayan-style Pork with Pickled Onions)
Mexican food still has a long way to go in London before it can play ball with the likes of Italian or Indian cuisine which have already made a name for themselves on the high streets. But with places like Boho Mexica championing the cuisine along, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the Burrito start to thrive the same way it does in New York City, surpassing the sandwich in the capital. Viva La Revolucion I say!