Dedicated gastrónomos agree that London often doesn’t do Mexican food proper justice, so Santo deserves plaudits for rejecting the default nachos-and-sombreros setting, and aiming for a modern approach. Situated at the sleepier end of Portobello Road, it makes the most of tasteful bare-brick walls and floorboards, high ceilings and tall windows: not a stuffed donkey in sight. On our visit, drinks were brought by friendly, efficient staff: zingy limonada (made in-house) and pomegranate margarita, served on the rocks with a sugar rim. Sadly, the food didn’t match this quality. A special of fish tacos worked well; mini-fillets of sea bass were crisply battered and came with a smoky chipotle mayo. Another special disappointed, however; the unusual and potentially exciting ingredients in a salad of nopal (cactus leaf) and hibiscus were let down by uninspiring presentation, insipid tomatoes and iceberg lettuce. The chargrilled steak in our ribeye burrito tasted too much of charcoal, and was partnered by an indistinct salsa – you’ll find many better versions for less than the £13.80 charged here. On weekend evenings though, Santo lets down its hair, providing cheap cocktails, finger food, salsa dancing and latin music.
299 Portobello Road
|Opening hours:||6-11pm Mo-Thur, noon-11pm Fri-Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Ladbroke Grove tube|
|Price:||Main courses £4.50-£15.50.|