A hit taco joint from the Barrafina peeps.
Take two things to El Pastor: a mobile phone and a list of local bars. This taco joint in a railway arch next to Borough Market doesn’t accept bookings and the wait can, at peak times, be up to two hours. But at least there’s no standing in the rain: they take your number and will text when your table is ready.
So why all the fuss? Well, El Pastor comes from the Hart Brothers (Sam and Eddie, of Barrafina fame, plus, for the first time, little bro James) alongside ex A&R man Crispin Somerville: he and Sam were mates at Manchester Uni, and they later ran a Mexico City restaurant and club together. And, my oh my, do these guys know how to throw a fiesta.
The excellent, Latin-vibey music is cranked up loud; staff are smiley and obliging; the lighting is set to ‘looking good, baby’. This is a place to go when you need cheering up. Like when you’ve just been downsized, or realised you’ve forgotten to record ‘Sherlock’.
It was also one of those rare meals which actually got better as it went along. To kick off, a tuna tostada, a bowl of fresh guac and a prawn taco all had the same issue: too much salt. But other tacos – all on the same nicely firm corn tortillas – made me smile, starting with the strip of stonebass (good), the juicy chunks of chargrilled chicken (better) and the signature 24-hour marinated ‘al pastor’ pork (best of the lot).
That said, if it’s the pastor pork you’re after, do get the ‘gringa’ quesadilla. A quarter slice of a large tortilla, it’s served ‘open-faced’, with a messy tumble of meat, melted cheese, coriander and salsa. Every bite brings sweet, salt, fire, squidge and crunch. It’s dirty. It’s delicious.
And save space for the ‘DIY’ beef short rib, too. One of only two large plates on the menu, it will easily feed two as a main. What you get is a big hunk of flesh that officially arrives on the bone, though if you so much as suggestively wave your fork in its direction, the moist, tender meat instantly shouts ‘Geronimo!’ and leaps away. Around it are little piles: a smooth, intense sauce of roasted garlic and mild chillis, lime wedges, slivers of pickled onion, a spiced salt for sprinkling. The pot of salsa is pineapple and habanero. Finally, there’s a steamer of tacos. It’s like a Mexican crispy duck with pancakes.
El P can be summed up by its frozen margaritas: full of Latin spirit and sure to make you happy.
|Venue name:||El Pastor|
7a Stoney Street
|Opening hours:||Mon-Sat midday-3pm, 6pm-11pm.|
|Transport:||Tube: London Bridge|
|Price:||Dinner for two with drinks and service: around £80.|
|Do you own this business?|
Average User Rating
3.3 / 5
- 5 star:1
- 4 star:2
- 3 star:5
- 2 star:1
- 1 star:0
Overrated and a bit pretentious. Arrived 10 minutes before my partner at 5.30 pm (really early) and was told to wait at the bar as it was the company policy not to seat anyone until the full party had arrived. This was acceptable if the rule applied to everyone. Once my partner arrived, they seated us near the door and it was cold so I asked if we could sit in the corner. I was told this was not possible as it was a table for 4. Fine I thought and we sat in the middle of the room on the end of a table of 8. While at our table I noticed a woman was seated at the table we wanted and she was alone waiting for her other company which was one man. She waited there on her own (in a table of 4) for 10 minutes. It was early and not crowded and they could have accommodated us. The food was ok but nothing special and was pricey for what it was. Won't be going back.
Slow, fussy and pricey. Paying extra for hot sauce is a joke. Nice michelada though. Never been back since the first time and it’s on the doorstep of my work - it just doesn’t add up. Shame, I love Mexican.
This restaurant shows great promise - the decor and atmosphere is great and the food and cocktails are delicious. However what let this place down was its confusing menu (printed on pink paper which meant several diners around me had to use their phone torch to see it) and their bizarre portions. It wasn't clear how much food we should order and the portion sizes were small. We ordered a beef rib which should serve two-three people but it only came with 5 tacos and after asking for more we were charged £1 for each extra taco. We also had an issue where we were given the wrong food as our waiter got confused about our order. If the service and menu improve this will be a new gem for Borough Market.
Great Mexican food - small and large plates to share and cocktails with a house twist. Trendy venue with its restaurant front opening right onto the hustle and bustle of Borough Market and the London Bridge night life. Try the spicy salmon tacos and the short rib beef tortillas. They've got a decent Mezcal menu too which shouldn't be missed, especially if it's a first time trying one ...helpful staff on hand to advise the novice Mezcal-buyer what's what. Get them served up with orange slices and chilli salt.
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