El Camino Mexicano
25-27 Brewer Street
I don’t know about you but I find that very few meals pass without my taste buds craving something just a leetle beet spicy. One cannot eat curry every day though so I recently headed down to El Camino Mexicano on Brewer Street. Situated in the heart of Soho’s throbbing sex district its pink front and neon lights are in keeping with the adjoining establishments. Is it a sex shop, I wondered? Can I buy hedgehog-flavoured condoms and edible clitores?
The answer is ‘no’ and ‘no’. Upon entering there isn’t a scrap of pornography to purchase. Instead the walls of the restaurant are adorned with over 1000 bottles of chilli sauce from around the world and make for colourful decor. The music is restaurant-friendly and volume-pitched for a twenty-something crowd and the place was busy enough to generate a decent atmosphere on a Tuesday evening. Hell, the large plasma screen in the corner was even showing Brazil vs North Korea, though I doubt this can be guaranteed every night.
We kicked things off with a small plate of nachos and four different kind of dip. The salsa verde was knock-out, as were the tomato and BBQ equivalents. In addition the chips were thin enough to eat between meals without ruining your appetite (that’s a compliment no point filling up early). Clinging lovingly to our salsas, the bowl of ground beef nachos that followed was tasty and filling, laden as it was with cheese, onion, olives and chillis, though the ensuing spinach and mushroom quesadillas were a tad stodgy for me.
Not that this would have mattered if by this point you had supped anything more than half a classic margarita. Refreshingly delicious and troublingly moreish, they were also highly potent and could have been reason I knocked half a glass of sauvignon blanc down my arm (the wine, too, was splendid and no, I do not normally mix my drinks but hey, you only live once).
The grilled fish tacos offered a subtle, charcoaled flavour but the fish itself was a little overcooked which was a shame. Still, the ensuing chicken enchilada provided a sound reason to forgive any prior misdemeanours: spicy (not too), tender and moist, it was the best enchilada I’ve ever had the pleasure of eating up. Truly first rate.
Stuffed to the gills, the waitress none-the-less insisted we end with a plate of churros, the Mexican equivalent of the doughnut. Freshly fried, these we dipped in an accompanying chocolate sauce and promptly died a small happy death.
I have no hesitation in recommending El Camino. The service is friendly and Speedy Gonzales, the atmosphere conducive, and the food despite a couple of minor wobbles of excellent quality. At £25 a head with a couple of drinks thrown it’s not going to break the banco and if you fancy carrying on after all you need do is stumble downstairs to the late-night bar.