This steadily expanding chain made its debut in Covent Garden in 2007. It gets many things right. Dishes are to share, but also offered in large-plate versions (platos fuertes) for times when gourmet shades into gourmand, and close attention is paid to sourcing. Neither guacamole with pork scratchings nor pork pibil tacos tend to last long, and the Michelada (a hangover-trouncing beer concoction with lime and spicy tomato juice) verges on the addictive. The decor is cheerfully ad hoc, creating a relaxed feel. The downsides flow from these strengths: relaxed can drift into inattentive (on a recent visit, our waiter completely forgot one dish – but having finally delivered it, rectified his error by chalking it off the bill); and replacing imported Mexican ingredients with British alternatives (cheddar in the black bean and cheese quesadilla, crumbly lancashire cheese in the black bean tostada and grilled corn) is apt to demonstrate the superiority of the originals. Most seating at this branch is in a well at the centre, but the rest of the set-up emulates other outlets – down to the grow-your-own chilli seeds handed out with the bill.
6 Chestnut Plaza
|Cross street:||Westfield Stratford City|
|Opening hours:||Meals served noon-11pm Mon-Sat; noon-10.30pm Sun|
|Transport:||Tube: Stratford tube/rail/DLR|
|Price:||Main courses £6-£10|