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Mexican tacos de pastor in London?

My first post on the forum, so be gentle!

I'm looking for some authetic Mexican food in London, the burrito chains around Angel are not bad, but hardly authentic. I've tried Wahaca and another place in Covernt Garden whose name I forget, wasn't overly impressed.

I've heard Mestizo is supposed to be good, definitly on my list of places to try. What I'm after however are the simple, but delicious tacos that you get from taco stands all over Mexico. Carne asada, or pastor, with raw onion and coriander, lime and salt topped with green or red salsa. Simple but so good. Shouldn't have to break the bank or fly all the way to Mexico to get this, surely?

Can anyone help me satisfy my cravings?

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  1. I've had decent luck with Taquería near Notthing Hill Gate ( http://www.taqueria.co.uk/ ). The Cochinita Pibil tacos were spectacular. The pastor ones pretty decent. Unfortunately the portions are TINY and the whole thing winds up being pretty pricy. I'll keep my eye on this thread for other suggestions as I seriously miss the local taco truck we had in the states.

    1. Haven't tried, but walked by Boho Mexico near Spitalfields a few times and seemed worth a try.

      2 Replies
      1. re: limster

        No, Boho Mexica is definitely NOT worth a try. Ranks as probably one of the most disappointing meals of the year - and because someone else chose it, i went without expectations.

        flautas de barbacoa - tasteless pappy lukewarm meat .
        Guacamole - no tang, no flavour.
        The vibe - pretentious end of 'trendy'.. ugh.
        The staff - slow a pretty clueless. we were a big party and orders got mixed up / forgotten.
        Cocktails were pretty decent though, so i guess that's something.

        I don't usually like slagging off restaurants on here for the sake of it, but Limster you gave me the opportunity.. :)

        Boho Mexica
        151 - 153 Commercial Street, London E1 6BJ, GB

        1. re: foreignmuck

          Thanks for taking one for the team. Will probably hit Buen Provencho next. BTW the carnitas taco at Casa Morirlta were v good, chiefly because of the flavour of the local pork. Nice depth in their taco with chicken and green mole too, nutty and tangy but balanced.

      2. El Burrito does pastor...but they add pineapple. Dunno how authentic this is really but supposed to be quite good:

        6 Replies
        1. re: Ibrahim.Salha

          The authentic version of al pastor is supposed to have some pineapple as part of the marinate.

          1. re: limster

            Sounds like a fair interpretation then, by any means. Thanks for the info.

            1. re: Ibrahim.Salha

              I definitely agree about Taqueria...it is a little pricier than Wahaca but the tacos do have a certain edge to them. If you haven't been to Mestizo, you should go; it's definitely the most authentic Mexican restaurant in the capital. Order the taco tray to share.

              1. re: Fromchiletochocolate

                Don't mean to be snarky or critical, I just want to know if they really spell Oxaxca, Whahaca? And if so if anyone knows why, please let me know. It kind of boggles.

                1. re: Candy

                  Phonetic spelling has more mass appeal and is much easier to get used to than the correct spelling, which would confuse and alienate a lot of potential visitors, I suspect. Good decision on their part, in my opinion.

                  1. re: Ibrahim.Salha

                    Ridiculous name, ridiculous prices, plain awful food. Only good for posing in trendy Islington.

        2. Thanks for all your replies! I will check out all the place mentioned.

          By the way, my experience is that in northern mexico they don't add pineapple to the tacos al pastor, but in central and southern Mexico they do.. Anyhow, it's all about the meat!

          1. Authentic? Sorry (very very very sorry), but you are just not going to get anything all that authentic here. The difficultly in sourcing ingredients combined with the fact that just about every new Mexican place that opens does try, but then just ends up watering down their menus for the English palate (something of an oxymoron in this case) makes it pretty impossible. I really recommend just trying to enjoy what is available.

            Taqueria is probably the best best for tacos. Mestizo is good for the simple stuff (like tacos & antojitos), but the main plates are hit and miss (the mole is really bad). That said, they do a good brunch. A frew good burritos places are Chilango on Fleet St., Tortilla near Angel and a new place opened in Shoreditch shows some promise-- Poncho #8. I was there the first week and they needed to work out a few kinks, but might be worth another go.


            4 Replies
            1. re: kschnepp

              What is the English palate exactly?
              I would love to know given that all I eat is boiled beef and carrots.
              Strike a light guvn'r.

              1. re: Paprikaboy

                now now, don't get in a strop... ;-)

                1. re: kschnepp

                  He does have a point though. I've yet to meet a person who's tried a true Mexican taco who doesn't rave about them. I guess the issue is that if you're going to serve something foreign you're going to have to sex it up a bit. Let's face it, a plain tortilla with a few shavings of meat is hardly going to tempt someone who doesn't know what it is. In London especially, a city with so much choice, you really have to make your product stand out.

                  A saving grace could have been a large Mexican community. I guess in London it's not large enough..

              2. re: kschnepp

                I looked at Poncho #8's menu online. If hunginabadplace is looking to replicate Mexico city taco vendors, then a place that serves tacos in flour tortillas (instead of corn) has already missed.

                I hate to say it but if Wahaca didn't do it (since Mexico city street food is exactly what they say they are trying to replicate) then I doubt there is any place currently in London that will satisfy this craving for simple tacos al pastor.

                I know, i have this craving myself. A corn tortilla on a piece of wax paper, generously stuffed with meat, a slight bit of greasiness which is subdued with the lime and cilantro. I've only been able to satisfy this craving in Mexico (DF as well as the Northern border towns) and in a few taquerias in California.

              3. Benitos Hat in Goodge Street. FAb, cant rate my 3 times there high enough. Great margarita to boot. Havent been to mexico so cant comment on authenticity but very very very good.

                1. Try the stall on Lower Marsh in Waterloo - he's there most days and the tacos are great - much, much better than the watered down versions at Chilango, Benito's hat etc.

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: pj26

                    Agree with this. His tacos are great and he's a really friendly and chatty guy. His food is seriously spicy, never fails to give me hiccups... Packed with flavour.

                    1. re: Ibrahim.Salha

                      Thirded - he's at the waterloo road end of lower marsh - mon to friday from 12 to 2:30 - can be explosively hot depending on what you drop on it - he has 4 homemade relishes which you dish on yourself. Really chatty guy and says his mum gave him his recipes. Nuff said.

                    2. re: pj26

                      Nice rec. Lunch only? Weekdays only? Which end of lower marsh?


                      1. re: CTownFeedR

                        Yes, for lunch only - he is at the Eastern end of Lower Marsh (nearest the Old Vic), outside Greggs bakery.

                    3. As a transplanted New Yorker whose favorite place is Mexicana Mama in Manhattan - no, I have not tried Mexican in California, sadly - I have found that Chilango near Angel satisfies my fast-food burrito cravings for the most part. Their pork burrito tastes much like Chipotle's, although now a Chipotle is opening on Charing Cross soon I will go there instead. El Burrito in Charlotte Place does an oddly gloopy, if tasty, chicken mole burrito - very unsubtle and tastes too peanutty, but makes a filling takeout lunch on a work day. I had the cochinita (marinated pork with achiote and orange juice) today and it was only so-so and served lukewarm. I miss the beef burrito at Mexicana Mama, which was a great, reasonably-priced sit-down place great for dinners - it was beef stewed with oregano in a burrito with chipotle potatoes and squash, and they sliced it up and toasted the exterior - fantastic! Any more upscale Mex street food places I am missing?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Foodie94

                        Chipotle imo is only so so - it's like the McDonalds of Burritos. I feel Chilangos is far fresher.

                        1. re: Foodie94

                          This month's Delicious magazine has a few Mexican recipes for people who are missing their fix. It reiiterates what many say about the lack of good Mexican food in London. Having lived in NY and with a brother in So. Cal, I would say the food in the latter is much superior and I'm trying to get a great Brooklyn chef I know (from Mexico) to move to London!

                        2. I had a quick read on the replies and could not see anyone mentioning "El Panzon".. they reside at Brixton's Hootananny's and they make great fresh tacos and burritos at very good value.

                          1. I love Benitos Hat although I agree that it just isn't the same as the real stuff in Mexico, Texas or Southern California. That being said, the pork carnitas filling is fantastic and the spicy sauce actually has a little kick. Better than Chipotle if you are in the area and need a quick fix.

                            1. I'd like to add La Lupita, just off the strand for a proper meal - way better than Wahaca in my opinion. And ugh! For the people recommending Benito's Hat! They have like, TWO things on the menu - both of which are tired and dry. No gracias! For proper little tacos on the fly I love El Burrito on Charlotte Place, their menu is pretty extensive and they're really friendly. Also, I've heard that Mestizo's main restaurant isn't all that, but on Thursday nights the bar downstairs opens and does simple street food a la El Burrito with a nice lively atmosphere.

                              66 Chandos Pl, London, Greater London WC2E 7, GB