Cantina Laredo: Mexican Brownies and the best steak in LondonSunday, September 11, 2011
We've had a long week that involved a lot of going out and not much eating in at home. We went to the launch of the uNondaba Press Club (where we ate biltong), we went to a wine tasting at the SA Wines Online Warehouse (where we ate biltong) and there were very many late nights at work (no biltong, and, in fact, no snacks at all).
Sometimes, just sometimes, you need a proper meal. But, if you've had a super busy week like this last one, then you probably don't feel like cooking it.
This is Cantina Laredo in Covent Garden. We were scheduled to do a review here last week and thank goodness because it was exactly what we needed! It is a gourmet Mexican restaurant owned and operated by a family of South Africans who are really a lovely bunch of people and cover everything in the restaurant from the accounting to the desserts.
The food was fantastic. You settle down at your table and get a bowl of tortilla chips with two salsa-style dips - tomato and tomatillo.
This is Martyna, our waitress. By day she's a physicist and by night she's a guacamole expert at Cantina Lareda. The Cantina's 'famous guacamole' is a signature dish starter and is freshly prepared at your table. This reminds me of the guacamole we make back home, but don't tell them that.
... no Mexican restaurant is complete without margaritas, and Cantina Laredo does them in every flavour. We tried raspberry, strawberry and pomegranate.
This really isn't a good photograph but let me tell you: it's the best steak I've had in London. I think that I'm entitled to make claims like that as a South African living in the land of the fatty-and-sinewy-and-bland meat. Perfectly grilled. And, you could cut it with a normal knife.
This is a Mexican Brownie. It is enormous, stuffed with nuts, and served on a blistering hot skillet. That's brandy butter bubbling away there, and on top there's a scoop of vanilla ice cream about to start melting. We shared desserts, of course, but we could have easily just had this one between us. I must also admit a moment of sheer silliness on my part: despite the bubbling sugar and brandy butter right in front of my nose, I still managed to dig in and promptly burnt my lip. I would definitely recommend this dish - but, do wait a bit for it to cool down.
And finally, these are my churros. They were dusted with sugar and cinnamon, served with orange crème and spiced chocolate sauce.Yum. They're not as solid or as rich as those from Churros Garcia (which are a meal in their own right), but are perfectly light as the ideal way to end a lovely night out.
I'd definitely go back there again. The portions are really generous so I'd order less food or opt for a sharing platter with drinks (and, of course, leave space for dessert!).