My, my, there has been a lot of negativity spoken on the interweb about Cantina Laredo. Not put off and urged on by the promise of hand prepared guacamole I wandered round Covent Garden trying to find the place. There was a buzz around Upper St Martins Lane as the Indian Tapas joint ‘Dishoom’ had just opened and there was a small queue outside a branch of Jamies Italian.
There were a lot of staff front of house, you were greeted as enthusiastically as you would expect from a branch of an American franchise and we were shown quickly to a table outside. Rich checked for the table being wobbly and promptly shook the pepper pot onto the floor where it smashed. Shortly, a cleaner appeared from nowhere and removed the debris with a smile replacing the pepper pot from another table. Two very good fresh salsas were offered with good substantial tortilla chips. No flimsy Doritos here.
Drinks orders were quickly taken and we both fancied margaritas. Flustered and failing to find them on the menu I just ordered the house margharitas on the rocks as the frozen variety give me an ‘ice cream headache.’ I was asked if I wanted the premium tequila but I declined. This was fortunate as shortly after sipping I read that the margaritas were £9.95 each and it was another £7.50 for the premium spirit. Ouch!
We ordered the guacamole which was cutely prepared tableside. I make a pretty damn good guacamole myself and have rarely had better in a restaurant. Possibly at Rosa Mexicana it was equal where it was also prepared table side in a stone bowl and cost about £20 I think so £6.95 seemed a bargain. Interestingly they used garlic powder rather than fresh which is probably a good idea as its not nice to come across a chunk of raw garlic. The guacamole was cubed from the shell using the hedgehog method slicing both ways across the flesh before scooping out. I made a mental note to start doing that from now on as the I liked the chunkiness. The guacamole was pretty good, in fact it was close to excellent. Really we should have stopped there as it was quite filling but we went on to have chicken fajitas and beef tacos which were pretty good but perhaps not worth the amount they charge.
Most of the criticisms charged at the restaurant are around cost and I concur re the margaritas which weren’t particularly good for the money. It was packed with big ice cubes so was rather unwieldily and the liquid was somehow tepid even though it had so much ice in it. But the food is not that bad value and its the first mexican meal that I haven’t started regretting eating part way through starting. I definately will go back for the salsas and guacamole.
Score 7/1o Would I go back? Yes
St Martin’s Courtyard
10 Upper St Martin’s Lane
London, UK WC2H 9FB
0207 420 0630