Tacos became a celebrity of the food world last year, with a number of taco spots opening their doors, including El Pastor and Breddos. The latter, raising up the street food stakes from where it started as a taco shack in Hackney, to its own permanent restaurant in Clerkenwell.
I fell in with Breddos back during the first couple years of Street Feast, when they only had one location, on one floor, with a handful of bars and street food vendors. The Baja Fish Tacos, which are still on the menu, featuring lightly battered fish, cabbage, habanero and lime mayonnaise won me over – the recipe might have been altered in the last 5 years, but they’re still one of my fave tacos.
Since opening their permanent spot, I’d heard completely mixed reviews, and a little disappointed at the hubbub I kept putting other restaurants on my list above this spot. Little did I know…I was missing out.
The interior is small, and almost has a superior yet mysterious feel as you walk through a heavy red curtain to enter. The table, benches and chairs have that contemporary industrial feel, with a large sharing table almost filling the length of the room, surrounded by booths and the window seats. The kitchen, open at the back of the restaurant, shows off how fresh the cooking is, whilst radiating that European open grill feel.
Heading down straight from the office one Thursday evening, arriving about 6.20, we managed to get a prime spot in the window without any wait time. It was filling up already by this time, but there wasn’t yet a queue accessorising the front of the restaurant.
The menu is seasonal, so it does change frequently, but a few main players always appear. Not having eaten there before, and only having ordered alongside other street food in a sharing, “I want a bit of everything” street food style, the waitress recommended about three tacos each, and maybe a side, highlighting the Secrett’s Farm Elotte, with habanero mayonnaise, miso butter and queso fresco, or corn on the cob with spicy mayo and butter, and cheese for those who couldn’t decipher the menu item like I, as a popular seller.
There’s a small variety of beer, wine and cocktails too, with beer served as 1/3 or 2/3 pint – apparently this is called a schooner, as Kim taught me that evening! As I also learnt that evening, beer goes very well with tacos, especially after a long day in the office.
Dishes arrive as and when ready, but luckily we always seemed to both have something to tuck into at the same time.
The Carne Asada Taco, with aged onglet steak, miso & bone marrow butter and grelo onion crema, was a delicious mix of textures and flavours – the rich, tender, pink steak, and the creamy, yet light sauces a well-devised combination.
The Baja Fish tacos were just as good as I remembered. The fish, light, flaky and flavoursome, inside a soft tortilla. The sauces complimenting the fish just so.
The Burford Brown Egg taco, with macadamia nut mole, queso fresco and sesame seeds was just as rich in flavour. With a runny yolk, best eaten with a knife and fork to avoid the mess, it was a really tasty vegetarian option.
The Cochinita Pibil taco, with achite x ni pek, black bean and pickled habanero onions was another great choice for meat lovers, with smoky tender, pull-apart pork.
Top of the choices however, had to be the Pulpo Tostada. Octopus, black vinegar, sichuan, bone marrow, potatoes and avocado, all served on a 12cm crispy corn tortilla, it was piled high and almost looked like a masterpiece. The octopus, smoky and meaty, combined with the rich and creamy flavours of the other ingredients, it set the bar high for tostadas to come.
Not ordering the corn on the cob, for sheer fear of getting the kernels stuck between my teeth in public (silly me!), we still had space for dessert – and of course we had to try the churro ice cream sandwich.
With indulgent chocolate hazelnut ice cream sandwiched between two circles of deep fried, warm and sweet churro, it looked heavenly. I’m not sure I could have quite finished it by myself, but shared between two, it was a seriously tasty way to end our meal.
At about £25 each, including drinks, sharing a dessert and service, it’s pretty reasonable and definitely worth it – Fantastic food, friendly and helpful service, and tasty artisan beer too!
Are you a taco fan?