I absolutely adore Mexican food, however, I find that the general offering of Mexican food in London is lacking. Whilst there are a few standout restaurants I find that there are a lot of restaurants that promise a lot and deliver very little. When I talk to friends about Mexican food many of them tell me that this isn’t their preferred cuisine and that they think Mexican food is quite bland and unexciting. My theory is that many people who dislike Mexican food have based their perception of this cuisine on restaurants like Wahaca. Whilst I do recognise that Wahaca was a trailblazer in terms of bringing Mexican food to the masses in the UK, I find that the menu isn’t a great advocate for authentic, exciting and homemade Mexican food.
My pursuit of great Mexican food has led me to some standout restaurants such as Corazón. This restaurant is tucked into the backstreets of Soho and is just a stone’s throw from Oxford Circus station. The décor is minimalist, stylish and a far cry from the often glib and extravagantly decorated Mexican restaurants which make you feel like you’re walking into a Cinco de Mayo celebration gone wrong. I went to Corazón with my friend Noreen who is a fellow fan of delicious, fresh and authentic Mexican food. We were both highly impressed with the offering here.
The food and drinks at Corazón were exceptional. The totopos (tortilla chips) were a thing of beauty; they were freshly made and arrived at our table whilst they were still warm which made them incredibly moreish. We dunked these lightly salted chips into a generous serving of fresh guacamole, pico de gallo and a toasted arbol chile salsa which was divine. There are few things in this world better than freshly made, authentic yellow and blue corn tortilla chips. I could have happily eaten three plates of these, but I resisted as I was keen to try a few of the delicious tacos which were on the menu. The standout dish for me was the plate of Baja fish tacos. These were made from homemade blue corn tortillas, beer battered haddock, pickled cabbage and chipotle mayo. I think that the decision to use haddock rather than cod was great as the haddock had a great depth of flavour and a slightly meatier texture than the fried cod tacos I’ve tried in the past. The combination of flavours in this taco worked extremely well. We enjoyed it so much that we order another pair!
We also tried the carne asada tacos and the carnitas tacos. Whilst the carnitas tacos were very flavoursome I found that the beef in the carne asada tacos was quite tough and that there was a little too much moisture in this taco as the tortilla started to lose its structural integrity even before I started eating it. Half way through eating it I just gave up using my hands and started using my knife and fork.
Next came the dessert and my goodness it was good. We shared a flourless chocolate torte and a flan made from coconut milk which had tiny pieces of toasted coconut on top. The chocolate cake was incredibly smooth and creamy without being overly rich. It also had a hint of cinnamon which made it quite warming to eat. The creamy and perfectly wobbly flan was delicious. It was dressed with a sweet caramel sauce which worked incredibly well with the coconut milk flan. This dish is one for dessert lovers as it is sweet; however, if you were to have this with a cup of tea, as I did, this would help to offset the sweetness of the flan somewhat. The tiny pieces of toasted coconut also added a crunchy texture to the dish which provided a nice contrast to the creamy flan. I was incredibly impressed with the flan, especially as I was initially unsure about what to expect.
Not only was the food great, but the staff were incredibly friendly, helpful (they very wisely recommended that we get the flan and chocolate cake to share rather than getting two servings of the cake) and accommodating. All in all we thoroughly enjoyed our Mexican feast at Corazón – I’d give it a solid 8/10.