Please note, Club Mexicana's Pamela residency has now finished. Time Out Food editors, December 2017.
In my world, ‘ have a vegan meal’ is right up there on a list of potential great nights out with ‘do tax return’ and ‘apply baseball bat to testicles’.
Unless, that is, we’re talking about Club Mexicana. This residency, at Dalston’s Pamela, has seen the Mexican vegan street food upstarts segue into an actual restaurant.
And the food is very, very good. Everything on the menu is colourful, zingy with spice and bursting with flavour. Their Mexican street corn is a pair of charred corn cobs, coated in creamy chipotle mayo and chilli-flecked breadcrumbs; the annato glazed aubergine a bowl filled with coriander-strewn hunks of melty, sweet veg, fried until they’ve developed crunchy husks. And the things they do with bean curd are phenomenal. For a start, they make it taste almost exactly like fish by wrapping it in seaweed, deep-frying it, then serving it as a ‘to-fish taco’. And, secondly: well, no – that’s it, actually. But when your first trick’s as good as that, you don’t really need a second one.
There’s a lovely vibe to Pamela, too: it’s buzzy without being noisy, cosy without being poky. The space is charming and staff are friendly, which is what made our experience of booking a table so very irksome. Getting a reservation took five separate phonecalls. Then, when I turned up, they had lost the booking and initially tried to turn me away – until I actually begged to stay. They’ve since overhauled their booking system, supposedly, but I’d be a bit worried about travelling across town to eat here. I’d probably do it anyway, though, because I enjoyed the food that much, vegan or not. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have a list of great nights out to amend.