Mexican party joint with emphasis on fine tequilas and mezcal
It’s long been a bugbear of tequila and mezcal producers that the global image of their wonderful and sophisticated range of spirits has been boiled down to the sight of someone licking some salt and whacking back a tequila slammer as a way if getting drunk really quickly: a kind of late night shortcut to oblivion.
Fortunately for these Mexican drinks doyennes the London wave of Mexican, of tacos in particular, shows no signs of being a flash in the pan.
Long a byword in the capital for a sloppy mess of refried beans and guacamole, London eventually got some serious advice and we now get Breddos’ wonderful taco invention, or the Michelin starred Hart bros mix their own nixtamalised tortillas in Borough. See also the tequila and mescal festival that has just finished at the Truman Brewery.
Next up is Cartel in Battersea. Making the most of the image of Mexico as a lively, party kind of place, it serves up that jaunty live music feel, alongside some carefully curated tequila and mezcal cocktails and tacos and quesadillas.
The tacos offer up a tantalising range, from pulled pro with black bean puree, to roasted plantain and butternut squash. The mouthwatering gamut also runs to duck breast with fig and chilli garlic king prawn with coleslaw and chipotle mayo.
The list has a wonderful zingy line-up including the Quixote, woth tequila, lime juice, apple juice and cinnamon; a mexcal margarita with orange liqueur; a tequila number with thyme syrup and pineapple juice, plus many more.
And now they are opening in the venue a small mezcaleria, a small tasting room featuring over 100 mezcals. The good citizens of Battersea, forever expanding thanks to the various developments at the power station and at Nine Elms, are lucky have such a lively friend in Cartel. With the US embassy set to open nearby, who knows, they may be set to get a whole new range of customers. Let’s hope they don’t build a wall …