Please note, Bad Sports has now closed. Time Out Food editors, April 2018.
After a spate of meaty, Mexican-inspired openings (Temper, El Pastor and Corazon among ’em) it feels like a taco turf war is erupting in London, and Bad Sports is a serious contender in the stand-off.
This Hackney taqueria is a cool spot, sat above the excellent bar of the same name. The space is vibey and minimal. An open kitchen is mirrored by informal counter seats running parallel to the window, the white furniture is distressed and there are a few framed posters on the walls. It’s buzzy with groups who’ve got the right idea; you’ll get the most from your visit if you’re a team player and sharing.
Of the tacos (£7 for two, £10 for three, all with freshly pressed soft corn shells) the steak option was the most popular – thin cuts of smoked bavette cooked pink in the middle, topped with radish slivers and chimichurri. Its take on a fish taco was practically gourmet: a crisp fried chunk of moist sea bream bursting with oily flavour and paired with salsa veracruz, a salty olive and caper combo lightly spiked with chilli. After all that, the more traditional pork and pineapple tacos didn’t quite blow us away, but the sweet potato side we shared – gooey with honey and camomile – induced competitively loud mouthgasms.
According to our waitress, the antidote to the punchy menu was a frozen margarita, but the Tommy’s was arguably even better. A michelada, meanwhile, was impressively constructed. My only complaint was the eagerness to shift us to the bar downstairs while we were still licking our fingers, but staff were so likeable it was hard to take it personally. And as the margaritas had already proved, the bar rocks. Be a good sport and make a night of it.