Places To Eat In London: Breddos Tacos, Clerkenwell
As a rule of thumb, the most memorable restaurant I eat in in London each season started life as a street food outfit: last year, I had a frankly transcendental experience at Bao in Fitzrovia, and last week I enjoyed probably the best tacos since I last had their tacos at Street Feast at Breddos Tacos new (and thankfully permanent) home in Clerkenwell. Okay, so it is not really a part of London people tend to go to unless they work there or want to go to a restaurant, so I promise you that it is absolutely worth the trip. Grab a date, and order as much from the menu as you can possibly eat in one sitting and a cocktail or three.
On and entirely tequila based cocktail menu I will normally go for the good old margarita, but actually I have entirely other favourite Mexican cocktail that I rarely order somewhere I don’t trust because it is so easy to get wrong: the Paloma. Fresh grapefruit juice is blended with tequila, a bit of lime and given a salted rim, and the Palomas at Breddos Tacos are bloody brilliant. Addictive, refreshing, and made with rather excellent tequila I beg you to give them a try. They’re not too sweet, but you don’t get the bitterness you’d expect from a cocktail made with grapefruit juice, either. One sip transported me back to Los Angeles (having never been to Mexico, for me good, authentic food always makes me think of Southern California).
I was coming from a meeting so I was the first one there, so obviously I had to order chips and dips. These were excellent; good, home fried tortillas, with a wonderful salsa and a good guacamole. Literally the only issue with this I found is there was no way enough salsa and guac for all just me eating half of the chips, let alone if someone else had been there to help me polish off the bowl!
Also while I was waiting for my lunch date, our server (who was utterly wonderful I must add, even letting me know when the kitchen was near closing – I ended up having to order for my companion!) brought the two house salsas of the day to go with our tacos for the table: here we have a morita and sesame chile salsa, and a habanero and almond salsa. They were both lovely, and great to reach for when I wanted to add a bit more of a kick to my fish taco. Just a warning though: if the habanero is on when you’re there, it is hot. I mean, one of the hottest things I’ve ever eaten and if I’d run out of nice, cooling guac by then it would have killed me.
Once people arrive, it is time to order more drinks. The house beer they have on tap in either 1/3 or 2/3 pints (which I love, I always find a half is not enough, but a full pint is sometimes too much – I’v never seen it served like this, and I think more places should do it) is nice, craft but still easily drinkable, and we also got a Breddos Fizz which we were less impressed with (but we think that was just personal taste, as we could not put a finger on what exactly was wrong): tequila, mezcal, peach, citrus, egg white and soda.
Shall we get down to business with the tacos? First here we have the Beef Brisket Birria (beef brisket, lemon onions and burnt morita chile), and the Kung Pao Pork Belly (an Asian-inspired pork belly, sichuan, bird’s eye chile and spring onion taco). These weren’t mine so I can’t attest to anything but they were eaten very quickly and smelt incredible, but the Kung Pao taco gave me a suspicion that was confirmed by the manager to me later on in our meal: these are very much L.A. as well as Mexico tacos, taking their influences from other (mostly Asian) cuisines as well as South of the Border fayre.
Next, two of mine: the Masa Fried Chicken (heritage tomato pico de gallo salsa and habanero sauce) taco, and the Baja Fish (fish, cabbage, habanero sauce, white onion) taco. Both were insanely good, though I think the chicken piece was a bit too big to be eaten as a taco (it was a challenge!)
Literally the best taco we had (seriously, order at least one of these each when you visit otherwise you’ll seriously be missing out) is also the messiest to eat (but so totally worth it): Pig’s Heat Cochinita Pibil, topped off with salsa verde and x ni pek (a Mayan salsa). Rich, fresh, meaty, juicy, this is literally everything you want in a taco, even when said taco may fall apart if you don’t eat it fast enough.
Finally, I thought I ought to try one of the tostadas (such a chore, right?), so I ordered the Pulpo: impossibly tender octopus, black vinegar, sichuan, bone marrow (always a hero ingredient for me), guacamole and chervil. I really, really loved this tostada because it tasted divine, the octopus melted in my mouth, and it really showcased their wonderful house made, hand pressed tortillas.
Our server recommended 2-3 tacos per person, we managed 4 each, with drinks and chips, with only being a little bit full. Because it is rather impossible to order from the menu because honestly I would happily eat one of each if my stomach was big enough, my recommended order: Pig’s Head Cochinta Pibil, Pulpo Tostada, Baja Fish, and add the Beef Brisket Birria if you think you have room for it!