Mexican Stand Off
Let’s just say that you’re 34 and a half and are single with a cat. Let’s imagine that you’re 5”11 and have a mane of hair that you like to shake, long long legs and that you like to dress in funky chiffon skirts with designer bootees and a leather jacket, that you’re part of the Notting Hill set, or certainly aspire to that, and that you’re in finance or advertising and earn an impressive salary. Let’s imagine that you are meeting up with the girls, like cocktails and are a bit of a ladette and old enough to remember that noughties expression, well then Peyotito is 100% for you. Or maybe you’re a dude, the Hill is your hood, you have a fast car and dress like an Italian, and you’re free and single or naughty and not, then Peyotito is also for you.
If you are none of these things, then sorry, it’s not. I’m exaggerating wildly, of course, and making entirely stereotypical judgments here, but it’s my blog and I can and will, just to give you, dear reader, an impression of the Peyotito vibe. This fairly new Notting Hill hotspot is first and foremost a cocktail bar with the few tables alongside and behind the long bar area just an afterthought for those who want to fill up on Mexican tapas to soak up the booze.
We’d sought it out after a well written and rather enticing sounding review by Tom Parker Bowles, food critic for the Daily Mail and son of Camilla. Since it is just a stone’s throw from our house on Ladbroke Road, we thought we’d check it out. Now, I have to admit that I simply detest refried beans and I don’t much like minced meat either, which is why Mexican food does not automatically ring my bell, but this promised to be different.
It’s located at the happening bit of Kensington Park Road, right beside the much loved Osteria Basilico. The throbbing club music welcomes you in, and then you suck your stomach in, not so much because you want to impress the talent, but because you need to squeeze past the heavily populated bar to get to your table. Had we been in the know, we’d have booked a table at the back where there’s a little more elbow room, but green novices that we were, we ended up at a tiny round table adjacent to the backsides of the crowd thronging around the bar.
This was when I began to realize what an old Victoria Meldrew I am slowly becoming. I was immediately irritated by our prancing waiter’s ridiculously puffy quif. Talk about a mop of hair! Oh well, never mind. We were going to pull ourselves together and, for once, leave pipe and slippers at home to join in with the young trendies here in their den of iniquity. Thump thump thump went the music, preen preen preen went the waiter. The menu, it has to be said, looked mouthwatering. Nandos this isn’t! There were no refried beans in sight or smell. Instead, there were Crudos, Ceviches, Maza and other delicious sounding Latin American dishes to be had, all in tapa sized portions.
Quif took our order of Mole Blanco, roasted asparagus in an aubergine sauce with Macadamia nuts, Tostado de Atun, Mexican yellow fin tuna with salsa de macha and guacamole on homemade tostadas, Tacos de Pezcado, grilled fish with avocado puree and salsa verde, a Ceviche Blanco, scallops, fresh coconut, plum tomatoes and Serrano chilli, and an Ensalada Verde, a salad of shaved fennel, apple and goats cheese.
The cocktails were wasted on us. I don’t drink them, not only because of their insane calorie content, but also because after one, I am prone to perform my sexy dance on the table, a performance I generally like to reserve for family and close friends. The Lovely Husband doesn’t drink them because maraschino cherries and paper umbrellas are far too girly for him, so we stuck to unadventurous plain old white wine and oh so manly Sol beer respectively. This way, when we eventually got our drinks after the first course had been served, and after much begging, I remained with my legs under the table and the Lovely Husband was saved embarrassment.
I swear I only had two glasses of wine, honest injun, but can I remember what the food tasted like? I do recall that it looked pretty (much more so than on these inadequate photos) and that the ceviche was not as finely sliced as I like it, or that it contained all that much shell fish in the first place. The sauce was punchy with plenty of lime, coriander and chilli, but as for the rest, it was all pleasant enough but rather blended into much of a muchness. There was some crispiness here and there, and a little bit of fishy meatiness and lots of green leafiness and that’s about it.
For dessert, we chose a shared Pan De Elote, a Mexican style corn biscuit with homemade vanilla icecream. Again, this was easy on the eye and the crumbly biscuit nice with the cool well made icecream, but did it make me want to shout ‘Caramba!’? Errr, no.
And so with an Americano coffee and a stonking bill for £93.38 including two glasses of wine, two bottles of beer, service charge and VAT, our evening at Peyotito concluded.
Peyotito, 31 Kensington Park Road, London W11 2EU, Tel.: 020 7043 1400 www.peyotitorestaurant.com
What I wore
Lilly Pulitzer dress with boat neck and 3/4 length sleeves, pink Marc Jacobs clutch bag, pink Beverly Feldman sandals
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