London Foodie A-Z: M = Mexico
Hot on the heels of Lebanon, I was out with another tour guiding friend to sample Mexican food for the letter M, and headed to Santo Remedio in Tooley Street (www.santoremedio.co.uk). Santo Remedio is a popular Mexican expression, meaning Holy Remedy, and the restaurant apparently chose the name because food is so important in Mexico they consider it to be a remedy for almost every problem. I suppose the British equivalent would be ‘let’s put the kettle on and have a nice cup of tea’!
This popular restaurant and cocktail bar is based on traditional Mexican cantinas – painted in bright colours with wooden tables and chairs made comfortable with cushions. Booking online for a Monday evening, I was a little disappointed to see that we only had our table for 1½ hours. As someone who likes to linger over a meal and chat with friends, a time limit always makes my heart sink slightly, but we went ahead figuring a Monday should be quieter so it wouldn’t be a big issue.
It got off to a good start with tap water was freely offered as we were seated, with a bottle being deposited on the table and we both ordered a Margarita de la Casa while we decided what to eat. The restaurant serves traditional Mexican dishes, with a modern twist.
Our starters arrived; soft shell crab tacos for me and tuna tostadas for my friend. My crab tacos were delicious, and came with serrano mayo. Made from serrano chillies, the mayo was a little spicy but not too hot that they blew my head off (I’m not good with very spicy food), although I did need to gulp down some water with them!
Before we’d finished our starters, we were taken aback to have our main courses placed on the table?! The restaurant was filling up (surprisingly busy for a Monday evening, but there are lots of offices in the area), but found this odd as we didn’t think we were taking overly long and were well within our time limit. However, we gobbled up the rest of our starters, ordered more Margaritas, and tucked into our main courses.
My friend enjoyed her Chicken Enchiladas Suizas; two rolled tortillas stuffed with chicken and smothered in a creamy bechamel style sauce. The term suizas means Swiss-style, and derives from Swiss immigrants who established dairies in Mexico to produce cream and cheese. She’d also ordered a side dish of Cactus Slaw, which consisted of grilled cactus (thankfully minus the prickles), slaw and fennel – a different take on coleslaw, but really tasty.
I went for the Meatballs al Chipotle, a classic Mexican dish served with Mexican rice (arroz rojo – red rice cooked in a tomato sauce or paste) and a chipotle sauce. Chipotle being a smoke-dried chilli pepper, used to make barbecue style sauces and marinades for meat. The name coming from an old Nahuati word (Nahuati is an Aztec language spoken in Mexico since at least the 7th century) literally meaning ‘smoked chilli’.
Although both our dishes were tasty and we did enjoy them, we both commented that they weren’t overly hot. Whether that was because they’d sat on the table for a few minutes while we finished our starters, or weren’t that hot in the first place, who knows? But they certainly weren’t piping hot, which was disappointing.
We enjoyed our evening and left at the end of our allotted time – I have to say the restaurant wasn’t pushing us out though. But conscious of the time limit, we forewent a dessert, paid the bill and went to the pub for another drink and to finish our conversation.
Every table was taken when we left, and although I’m not inclined to return, maybe I should give it another chance as clearly Santo Remedio is a popular place. If I did go back, well, it would be for those fabulous Margaritas!
#lifeofaguide #LondonFoodieAZ #Mexico #SantoRemedio #Margaritas #Tacos #Tostadas #Enchiladas #Chipotle
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