On an unprecedentedly slow news day for the UK restaurant scene, news of London’s first dedicated guacamole and tequila bar has reinvigorated things somewhat.
Opening “within” (inside?) Cantina Laredo in the heart of Covent Garden, the as yet unnamed bar will serve inventive iterations of guac alongside, well, tequila.
First, to avos – “the in-house “Guacamaestro”, who will theatrically prepare ‘The Great Eight Guacamoles’ in front of you. As experts in the art of guacamole, Cantina Laredo only use house-selected and perfectly ripened Hass avocados with truly sensational ingredients to create one of a kind guacamoles. The menu includes Grasshoppers with Grilled Avocados, Creamy Blue Cheese with Almonds and Pineapple with Pomegranate Seeds.” In sum: heat crimes against avocados, retro dinner parties, and quite a lot of acidity.
Then, to tequila, and inevitably mezcal. The “sip, don’t slam” attitude — the rough equivalent of the craft beer movement for the agave-fermenting world — brings with it “100% blue agave tequilas and a range of Mezcals that will delight the smoky spirit lovers” (no word on the unsmoked lovers of this world), in a strange combination of clarity and ambiguity. Sure, they’re 100% blue agave – but where are they from and what are they?
For anyone seeking something other than guac or teq, there are some intriguing dishes on offer — “Aged Ribeye with Yellow Habanero Butter” can’t fail to pique interest, especially amidst “warm woods, Aztec-inspired art and imported agave plants.”
At first glance bolting on two celebrated elements of Mexican cuisine to an existing, successful restaurant may seem strange, or even trite; on the other hand, acknowledging the iconography of the molcajete, its place at the heart of a cuisine, and the inherent flexibility of guacamole as a recipe is perhaps more of a move towards a new focal point, rather than a lame addition.