I once asked a Mexican friend where in London the best Mexican food could be found. Without skipping a beat she recommended Mestizo as the only authentic restaurant she had found to date; at the time she was living in Holland Park and still regularly travelled up to Mestizo which is on the North side of the Tottenham Court Rd / Euston Rd intersection, so I thought it must be worth it. I gathered the usual suspects and made a date for Friday night dinner.
After a few fizzes at nearby Regent's Place, we headed over. The atmosphere was buzzy and it definitely felt very very Mexican - basically an amalgamation of every restaurant I visited when I went to Mexico on holiday a few years ago - colourful decor which seems always to be red, a giant wall of tequila and extremely jolly waiters.
We were gratified to find we'd booked in the middle of their 'Enchilada Festival', so we had huge amounts of exciting enchiladas to choose from in addition to their usual (vast) menu. We got some jugs of margarita in and put our thinking caps on, finally deciding on their signature sharer of Molcajete - named after the giant volcanic stone bowl its served in. Our's was filled with slow cooked beef in a deeply flavoured meaty sauce and topped with some exceptional chorizo, Mexican cheese and coriander. There was some confusion with our waiter in terms of what we were permitted to have alongside this; the menu claimed there was a choice of mole, chipotle, salsa etc. but in fact we were told only salsa was available with beef. I'm still confused about this one. They said we could have some mole on the side, but this never transpired. Still, it was good, and came with lovely warm pliable tortillas to deliver the delicious contents to our mouths.
My only complaint with this dish is that there was a serious lack of chilli heat. In fact, none of the dishes we ate were fiery enough, which was a tad sad. The tastiness of the special enchiladas did go a long way to compensate though. This colourful number (Mexican dishes rarely photograph well!) is apparently a Yucatecas enchilada, which ostensibly seemed to be a standard chicken enchilada topped with roja sauce, queso fresco and what I believe to be pickled red onions and served with rice and black beans. We polished it off swiftly:
The next special enchilada dish was the 'Divorciadas'. I have no recollection of what this entailed at all, other than that it was good. The sour cream was a surprise, though a welcome one, as I could find none in Mexico for love nor money. Aside from this, both enchilada dishes tasted absolutely authentic and bang on what I can remember eating when I was there. One of the girls has travelled pretty extensively around the Central America region and she agreed the food was really up to scratch.
I need to go back and try more of the dishes before I've 100% made my mind up on Mestizo, and apparently their limitless Sunday brunches are a good place to start. For £20 you can brunch to your heart's content on variations of huevos rancheros, before moving on to classic Mexican homecooking style dishes and/or endless quesadillas, which all sounds fairly tempting. But then, so does the elusive mole enchilada, which is only on the standard a la carte... a tough call.
Overall, Mestizo is an ideal place for a laid back fun Friday night meal where you don't have to worry about being too noisy or gossipy over some really good Mexican dishes. La Cuenta was about £28 each, but bear in mind we under-ordered a little bit food wise and made up for it in margarita.