April 15, 2014, Posted by Ben Willis in Food, Restaurant reviews

Mestizo, NW1 – restaurant review

The land between Euston Road and Mornington Crescent may be famous for being home to taxi firm Addison Lee’s head office, but it is for a very different reason that the MWSAB team venture past the row of eye-catching tenement buildings along the coccyx of Camden Town. The reason, if reason be needed, is Mestizo: ‘the concept of a group of Mexicans to bring to London a restaurant-bar offering a fine and authentic Mexican cuisine’.

Mestizo is a truly international establishment (it also boasts a Madrid branch), and though on first inspection the Amsterdam coffee-shop-esque surrealist videos looping on the wall-mounted TVs are a little overwhelming, one soon loses oneself in the tasteful décor and tangy aroma of passing burritos and their brothers and sisters: tacos and quesadillas.

I glance down at the A6-size, laminated menu. In a moment of either madness or divine inspiration, I decide on a whim to switch my focus from the safe haven of the ‘Chicken Mole Burrito’ (boasting a 20-spice sauce, which includes dark chocolate – nutters!) to the exotic sounding ‘Pork Cochinita’. When a dish is described in the establishment’s own words as ‘melt in your mouth pork’ in a ‘sauce of achiote and orange juice’, you know you’re onto a winner. Even if you don’t know actually know what ‘achiote’ is.

The dish arrives as it always does (accompanied by a small pot of rough-chopped guacamole and some homemade nachos). My initial thought is that the burrito retains its heat much more efficiently than its Chicken Mole cousin. But it is the bitter, spicy sweetness of the swollen, cylindrical specimen which has my taste buds as happy as bee in a jam jar. The pork is so moist, and the orange so subtle, that I feel like this dish could be served as a main OR a dessert. But in a good way.

Rating: 8.5 / 10

Highlights: Amazing food, amazing prices, great atmosphere, toilets downstairs.

Price: Food £6, Beer: £3, Total: £9

Quick Review: Unbelievably Mexican

April 10, 2014, Posted by Tom in Food, Restaurant reviews

Café Zilly – restaurant review

Nestled away on Cleveland Street, Café Zilly is a café of the people, with students, builders, bankers, and even a few of us stuffy publishing types brought together by extremely generous portions and reasonable prices. To describe this establishment as a ‘hidden gem’ would be a tragic understatement.

We decided/were forced to take a table downstairs (who would want to sit outside when it’s 31°C? Stick us in the basement and we’re happy), and the stairs must have stretched further than we ever thought possible, as we were immediately presented with stunning views across the Thames. At night. Could it be? Was this real? Or simply an optical illusion? Visit for yourself and draw your own conclusions, but suffice to say we were convinced that Big Ben was watching over us.

Rich, flummoxed

If the views weren’t enough, a small wall-mounted television was also showing some golf.

After browsing the vast menu, which boasts, among other things, burgers, jacket potatoes and ‘morning goodies’, I settled for the fantastically-titled Mextereme Burrito. ‘Is it Mexican?’ ‘Yes.’ ‘Is it extreme?’ ‘Of course.’ ‘Is it Mextreme?’ ‘No you fool, it’s Mextereme.’

Needless to say, Rich went for the veggie option.

When our dishes arrived, we were both rendered speechless. An absolutely gargantuan meal sat before me. Beautifully presented too:

After making my first tentative incision into the soft and perfectly-heated flour tortilla, a tantalizing mixture of chicken, beef, rice and vegetables spilled forth onto my plate. The next 3 and a half minutes were simply a blur, as I devoured the entire thing in a state of jalapeno-fuelled delirium.

Disgustingly full, we both wearily climbed the stairs back into reality, as the shocking realization that we would have to return to our desks and do several hours work set in. But was it worth it? Was it ever.

Rating: 8.5 / 10

Highlights: Amazing food, amazing prices, breathtaking nightime views of London, ample seating when hot outside.

Price: Food: £5, Carbonated soft drink: <£1, Total: £6

Quick Review: Stomach-filling fun.

Tom

Café Zilly
126 Cleveland Street London,
Greater London W1T 6PQ

speedys cafe

August 10, 2013, Posted by Tom in Food, Restaurant reviews

Speedy’s Café – restaurant review

Firstly, let’s get the thing that’s bugging you out of the way. Yes, that’s the café Benedict Cumberbatch lives above in Sherlock.

Thankfully, apart from a few photos on the wall and the odd fan taking photos outside, the Sherlock link isn’t played on too heavily. There’s no “Mycroft Sundae” or “Tuna and Cu-Cumberbatch sandwich” to be found here.

We were greeted by a chirpy waitress who told us the wait would be a few minutes for a table to be cleared. After only 2 minutes (speedy) we were ushered inside to the friendly and welcoming atmosphere. Following a quick browse of the menu (standard café fare, but with the surprise inclusion of calamari), our order was taken.

The drinks appeared within seconds, but we were made to drink from cans as no glasses were provided. Not a problem for us, but I feel the older generation would expect a tumbler to sip from. The food arrived not long after. Ben gobbled his omelette, Tom murdered his beans & cheese jacket potato, Richard throttled his mushroom omelette and I devoured my deluxe chicken fillet burger.

Holmes and Watson, the budget version

We were all pleasantly satisfied with our hearty meals. My only gripe was the fillet in my burger was around 4mm thick, when ideally you’d be after a good 1cm thickness in your fillet.  That aside, it was a tasty dish.

Questionable burger thickness

As we paid our bill we got a proper look at the takeaway sandwich fillings on offer, and by the looks of the selection behind the glass there’s really something for everyone here.

We left with a glow in our bellys, a spring in our step and our wallets £5.90 (on average) lighter. You will see us again soon Speedy’s. No sh*t Sherlock.

Beau

 

Rating: 7.5 / 10

Highlights: Glamorous location, chirpy staff, minimal Sherlock-related tat

Price: Food: £3.50 to £5, Carbonated soft drink: <£1, Total: £5.90 (approx)

Quick Review: Should you go? It’s elementary, my dear Watson (sorry).

SPEEDY’S SANDWICH BAR & CAFE
187 NORTH GOWER STREET
LONDON NW1 2NJ

You can even follow Speedy’s on Twitter

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