I will admit that I have an addiction: I love Mexican food. There I said it. I think it’s primarily from living in the southwest US for close to ten years and California for six. That’s a lot of years living in an area where there is a lot of Latin American influence in cooking. So one of the biggest disappointments for my move to the UK is the lack of good Latin American food. It’s a puzzle really, it seems that London is good with a lot of food from all over the world, but so many Mexican restaurants just serve something mediocre. (But that doesn’t stop me from trying.)
So when Molé Taco Bar came on my radar, I really wanted to check it out. I suppose one good thing about the lack of really flavorful Latin American food in the UK is that you can go in with fairly average expectations. I can’t remember the last time I had high expectations for this type of food in London. So my expectations for Molé were to have a fun night, but not to expect much from the food.
The menu did look really good though. Clearly, they take influence from all over Latin American and not just Mexico. As it was me, Bella and Vicky who arrived first, we decided to order some drinks and guacamole while we were waiting for Andrew to arrive to completely our dinner foursome. It also gave Bella the opportunity to show off her Spanish speaking skills by chatting with the servers in their native tongue. I ordered Jarabe Jalisco to start as it seemed similar to a margarita. Some of the other drinks tried were the Pisco Sour, the Zapatista, a margarita and the Polpo Flip. All of the cocktails were really flavorsome, and I believe everyone seemed incredibly happy with the drinks they ordered. I know mine were really tasty. However, they did seem to lie on the sweet side of things, so I will have to try a few more cocktails to reserve judgement on them.
While we were waiting for Andrew, we got stuck in on the guacamole. It was one of the best guacamoles I’ve had in London. A great balance of flavor, and we kept wanting to order more during the night (although we restrained ourselves). They also add a few pomegranate seeds to guac. I had never seen that before, but I felt it really added some nice texture and flavor to the dish.
Once Andrew arrived, we decided to order a selection of food to share around the table. If there’s something to be said about The Boozy Bunch, we are really good about wanting to try pretty much everything on the menu. We decided to split the cheese empanadas, the Yucatan hot wings (yum habanero!), the black ceviche, beef striploin anticuchos, the fish tacos, the soft shell crab tacos and the 15-hour braised chipotle short rib with sides of beans with chorizo and the patatas bravas (never have I ever ordered patatas bravas when I wasn’t in a Spanish restaurant). They were really good about pacing the arrival of the food out so it didn’t arrive all at once. First to arrive where the wings, the empanadas and the ceviche.
The food was incredibly tasty. Half an empanada didn’t really seem like enough empanada, as the few bites really left us wanting more. I absolutely adored the wings; they came out piping hot with a nice kick to them (although they may have reached the Vicky spice threshold). The ceviche was light and citrusy, with a good amount of shellfish in the sauce. I really can’t fault any of these starters, as they were all very moreish (but maybe that’s because of the small amount we had of each)! By this time, I had the feeling that some Mezcal was on the books, so I ordered us four shots (although at the price, they are definitely more for sipping and less for shooting).
The tacos came out next. They both looked absolutely fantastic, and the filling was overflowing out of the tortilla. In fact, the fish in the tacos was ridiculous massive. So props to them for that. The softshell crab was cooked perfectly, and Vicky is still raving about them to me. They were also served on blue corn tortillas which was a very nice touch. I haven’t seen many of those around London! Personally, I preferred the fish tacos, but maybe it’s because it brought me back to my California days where fish tacos are fairly common and very tasty. Since both sets of tacos were great, I really wanted to be able to get more (and different) tacos, but I knew we still had a good deal of food coming, so I was already starting to plan my next trip to Molé.
Next the short rib arrived. It looked spectacularly impressive on the plate and definitely made me want to dig in and try it. It was really subtle in flavor actually, as I was expecting a bit more heat, but the smoky chipotle went well with it, and I was really happy we got it. The beans were packed full of flavor. The potatoes were nice, but for me, was probably the weakest dish we ordered. I think with the massive selection of sides on the menu, I’ll probably opt to try something else. But it really it didn’t stop us from eating all of them. Unfortunately, they had forgotten the beef skewer, and although everyone else thought we should just skip it as we were getting quite full, I made them bring the skewers anyway.
I’m really glad I did. I think the skewers may have been my favorite dish of the night. The beef was slightly chewy, but the spices they rub the beef in really wowed me. They were hot and smokey, and pretty much everything I would want in a beef skewer. So they are definitely on my repeat list for when I make my return visit. Finally, we decided to share the two desserts: Dulce de leche creme brulee and a deconstructed mango cheesecake. What can I say? We were full, and we are clearly gluttons for punishment by ordering them.
The two desserts were spectacular. I can’t really say which I enjoyed more. The creme brulee was rich with the dulce de leche flavor and very decadent. The cheesecake was lighter and more refreshing, but also packed a great amount of flavor. I’d be happy getting either of them again.
After eating at Molé Taco Bar, I think I may have a new favorite Latin American restaurant in London. The service was really good, and the food was spectacular. I actually wanted to go back again two days later (and probably would have too if my partner’s meeting in London hadn’t been cancelled). I suppose that says something. I’m definitely ready to go back, not just for the food but the drink as well!
P.S. I did end up going back the next week as my husband was incredibly interested in trying it out. We tried several new things, including the baby squid nibbles, the tuna ceviche tostada, the beef ceviche, the lamb tacos and the chipotle beef tacos. We both were big fans of everything. The tostada may have been on the top of my list, but the baby squid was really crispy and the dipping sauce was moreish. I think the chipotle beef tacos are a better way to go than getting the whole short rib. Seriously though, we didn’t have a bad dish. Oh, and we got the small guacamole, but for the extra three pounds, we should have just gotten the large. The cocktails we tried, on the other hand, were just too sweet. Nice, but much sweeter than we normally like. So if you don’t like sweet cocktails, I think the classic margaritas are the way to go. Or just stick with straight tequila and mezcal. They have an amazing selection, and it’s quite easy just to sit there and sip several shots. Just be warned: It will increase your bill significantly, as the shots are not cheap, but they are well worth it. Now for photos from round two at Molé Taco Bar:
Molé Taco Bar
16 Picton Place, W1U 1BP