Mestizo, 103 Hampstead Road, London, NW1 3EL Tel: 020 7387 4064

A short walk from Euston station, Mestizo adds a vibrant splash of colour to the rather grey part of central London in which Hampstead Road sits. The restaurant is decorated in crimson, with Mexican artefacts breaking up the boldly painted walls. It is spacious, with a good open feel to it. There is a well stocked bar, that is a dominant feature of the place, boasting many varieties of tequila, amongst other drinks, naturally.

Whilst we had eaten Mexican food on a two week holiday to Mexico some fifteen or more years ago, our more recent experience of Mexican cuisine has been limited, so we asked for some advice from our server. She suggested that we had queso frito and the mixed antojitos platter to start. We concurred and some short while later the dishes arrived. The mixed platter contained a quesadilla (a sort of cheese turnover) a creamy stuffed chilli that had been deep fried, chicken that had been wrapped and fried then dressed with sour cream and more, these all tasty morsels and good for sharing, though as there was only one of each they had to be divided. The queso frito was vibrantly tangy, the breaded sticks of gooey cheese sat in a lively pico de gallo sauce and served with tortilla in which to wrap them. They were nicely mouth tingly, quite rich, sharing the dish which contained four good-sized sticks was the right thing to do, though I could happily have eaten all four by myself.

For mains our server recommended two of Mestizo’s specials the mole poblano and the molcajete ‘Mestizo’. The mole poblano, a chicken breast fillet sat in a thick sauce of chilli herbs, spice, almonds and chocolate had a good rich deep flavour, and although containing chocolate, this wasn’t the principal flavour. It was a good choice and we enjoyed it. The molcajete was their mixed meat variety containing chicken, beef, chorizo, cheese, spring onion and more, all in a thick spicy tomato based sauce. It was a gargantuan dish with vibrant zingy flavours, which we loved. These dishes both came with tortillas, but we only had one each, for fear of not reaching the end of the meal. We didn’t finish either of the dishes, even though they were both great.

As ever, we waddled on to dessert, just for you, you understand. The flan was like a crème caramel, but had some slight citrusy note which was lovely. The crepe in a toffee sauce with chopped walnut and ice cream was a pretty decadent confection, the sauce thick and sweet, made a rich partner to the crepe, the ice cream gave some freshness to the dish

With our meal we had a Mexican chenin blanc, which was very fruity, giving it a sweetness in the mouth, we also tried the house red that was medium bodied and soft in the mouth. Following dessert, we tried a trio of tequilas that had been matured to different ages, which ranged from one with a little heat to very mellow, and with these came shots of tomato and pineapple drinks that each had their own spiciness. It was a good way to finish off our meal.

Service at Mestizo is very friendly and helpful, we were there on quite a busy evening and the staff made time to help us and talk to us about the food and drinks. Mestizo is a popular restaurant, serving great authentic Mexican food in a friendly atmosphere. We enjoyed our evening there very much and would return.