El Pastor, the Mexican taqueria owned by Sam and James Hart and Crispin Somerville, is to open Tortilleria El Pastor — a new taco bar and tortilla ‘factory’ — on Druid Street, close to Maltby Street market in late March 2018.
The tortilleria will make fresh tortillas from scratch every day, using Mexican heirloom corn. These tortillas will be available to take away, along with freshly made El Pastor salsas, fresh tomatillos, serranos, jalapenos and other fresh chillies, Mexican style cheeses from Gringa Dairy, tortilla presses, mezcal, Mexican beers — essentials for preparing Mexican food at home, which the owners say are not available elsewhere.
There will also be a 26-cover taco bar (20 at tables and 6 at a high taco bar), serving the freshly-made tortillas in a short menu of tacos, including:
- Al Pastor, with 24 hour marinated pork shoulder, caramelised pineapple and guacamole.
- Mushroom taco with caramelised onion and melted Oaxaca cheese.
- Sopes will be available for the first time: thick corn mini maize cakes piled with toppings.
- Sweets: Mezcal, burnt honey and grapefruit cake; chocolate pots and the EP Bounty Bar.
- Drinks: the bar will serve Mexican beers, agua frescas and El Pastor’s first batch of its own mezcal, made in partnership with Mexico’s La Clandestina mezcaleria and their master mezcalero, Don Guillermo Abad. This mezcal will also be able to take away.
As with the original Borough Market restaurant, the owners say that all tortillas will be made using heirloom corn sourced in collaboration with partners, Tamoa, in Mexico: a company that “seeks out the increasingly few farmers preserving and cultivating native Mexican corn, linking them with restaurants in Mexico and beyond, and ensuring they are compensated fairly for protecting the country’s bio-cultural heritage.” El Pastor says it “believes strongly that this native corn is on a far superior level in terms of flavour and nutritional value to the growing type of cheaper, transgenic grains, and that the resulting tortillas are profoundly different.”
A new tortilla machine has been ordered in from Mexico for the tortilleria, which will press and cook the house-nixtamalised (the process whereby the maize is soaked and cooked for several hours in an alkaline limewater solution) corn, producing 12 tortillas per minute.
The tortilleria will be open Thursday dinner, Friday and Saturday lunch and dinner and Sunday lunch times.
With Santo Remedio in close proximity, and El Pastor’s original site in Borough, SE1 increasingly looks like city’s best neighbourhood for Mexican restaurants.
Thursday: 5-10pm; Friday: 12-3pm, 5-10pm; Saturday: 12-3pm, 5-10pm; Sunday: 12-3pm