Tuesday, February 20, 2007

This Time It's Mexican

My Monday Night Dining Club gathered this evening at Mestizo, an upscale Mexican restaurant along Hampstead Road in Euston. Sure, it was Tuesday, not Monday. But that was not reason enough for us to turn down the opportunity to try some good Latin American cuisine. For it had been some time since we last gathered.

We had been looking forward excitedly and expectantly to this outing. And it was good to get there, especially after an earlier cancellation. We’ve all heard glowing accounts of Mestizo, and the reviews on-line were also rather positive. Time Out London describes it as a “friendly little place” and “a true rarity”.

That was certainly how I felt. The menu, replete with lots of exotic-sounding dishes, can be accessed here. We started with some empanadas to share, and then I had the pabellon criollo, comprising shredded beef marinated in pepper sauce, spiced with onions, garlic and sweet chiles, and served with rice and beans. To end – a serving of the buñuelos, crispy dough fritters with sugery powder on top of it.

It was delectable. My only gripe was that the portions were too small. Having entered the restaurant pretty starved, I was looking forward to devouring huge volumes. But this ain’t no el-Cheapo Tex-Mex hangout, the likes of which I was more familiar with from my time in the US. I guess they had to maintain a certain level of class, even if that meant that diners had to leave hungry.

But I certainly didn’t leave unhappy. For what was important, surely, wasn’t the food, but rather the chance to sit down with friends to chat, to gossip, to catch up. I treasure such moments. And when one of them suddenly asked, “Is Singapore a dictatorship?”, the dinner truly became interesting.


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