Where To Celebrate Cinco De Mayo?
Ah, Cinco De Mayo. The festival that fully supports, nay, encourages all day drinking, feasting and most importantly, tequila consumption in the name of celebrating Mexican heritage. We’re not from Mexico (not even close) but who’s to say we can’t join in the fun?
Cantina Laredo, Covent Garden and El Camion, Soho are two of the best spots in London to don a sombrero and raise a shot glass to Mexico with your amigos… check out what they’re getting up to over the weekend!
Cantina Laredo: Friday 3rd to Sunday 5th May
10 Upper St Martin’s Lane, St Martin’s Courtyard, Covent Garden
Not content with one day of celebrations, Cantina Laredo have orchestrated a three day fiesta fit to burst with traditional Mexican finery, draping the place in colourful serape fabrics and piñatas. It would be wrong not to kick off the festivities with a margarita – be sure to ask for a limited edition ‘Margarita de Mayo’. Made with passion fruit, vanilla, El Jimador Tequila Blanco, this delectable drink has been spiced up with a pinch of habanero chilli and it’s available for £4.95 over the entire weekend… arriba!
We were delighted to learn that feasting is a vital element of this celebration of Mexican freedom and the menu at Cantina Laredo certainly allows for overindulgence. In the name of Cinco De Mayo research, we tried the Camaron Poblano Asada (Grilled carne asada steak wrapped around a fresh poblano pepper filled with sautéed tiger prawns, mushrooms, onions and monterey jack cheese) and perfect Chicken Fajitas but not before a generous helping of Top Shelf Guacamole, which deserves a festival of its own. Watch in amazement as your waiter wheels over a tray filled with fresh guacamole ingredients and conjures the treat before your very eyes – trust us, you’ll never eat the shop bought variety again. Finish off with a slice of Tequila Lime Cheesecake with Avocado Ice cream. When in Mexico…
Revellers intent on celebrating properly will be pleased to hear that a shot of free tequila will land in front of any diners who arrive in a sombrero, while the Mexteca Mariachi band (remember the Doritos TV advert?) strum the restaurant all the way to Puebla and back. Want to take the Mexican way of life home with you? Book a ticket for the restaurant’s tequila master class (£25pp), held at 1.30pm on Saturday 4th May, for a tutorial guaranteed to enhance your knowledge of the finest tequilas followed by a tasting of blanco, responsado and añejotequilas. Guacamole, salsas, quesadillas and flautas canapés will fuel the fun for hours.
El Camion Tequila tasting Thursday 2nd May but perfect for feasting all weekend!
25-27 Brewer Street, Soho
Amongst Soho’s labyrinthine mess of sex shops, noodle bars and frozen yogurt huts lies El Camion, a hot Mexican hangout dedicated to creating a party vibe whatever time of day it is. Plastered with Day Of The Dead iconography, the venue’s Pink Chihuahua basement bar is always teeming with a post-work crowd looking to let their hair down and the brand new bar upstairs is the perfect place to get to know Mexico’s favourite tipple.
Mezcal Los Dazantes are providing an opportunity ahead of Cinco De Mayo, where tequila enthusiasts can join mezcal experts in this delectable drinking den for a tasting evening guaranteed to whet the appetite for some of the cheese-laden goods also on offer, from Tacos to Burritos, Quesedillas to Tostadas. If you can’t make that, don’t worry – the party atmosphere never wanes at this lively bar so there’s plenty of time to celebrate the festival over the weekend.
We tried the Nachos covered in Shredded Pork Carnitas before road-testing an array of Burritos and Quesedillas and while the food wasn’t as good as Cantina Laredo’s offering (that guacamole is untouchable), the generous portions were bigger and more than ample to soak up a belly full of quality booze. We recommend frozen Tommy Margaritas at every opportunity and those with a sweet tooth mustn’t leave without sampling the Churros – the best thing about our meal bar the excellent drinks.
With the help of a 3am license, El Camion aims to capture the cool spirit of the Mexican people with an attitude so laid back it’s horizontal. Fill your evening with their excellent range of Mexican beers, (Pacifico Clara, Bohemia and Negra Modelo) mezcal and cocktails and you will be too… Viva La Libertad!
Amy @ FashionBite xx