Admittedly, as someone with a fondness for anything Latin American, a cheeky concoction of cócteles and crudos comes unsurprisingly welcomed any day of the week. So naturally, when we heard about an inventive modern Mexican nestling somewhere behind the spirited sidestreets of Portobello Road, we simply had to sample every serving of it – and do it muy rápido.
Sleekly tucked away in Kensington Park Road, the Mexican hideaway in question is Peyotito – Notting Hill’s sibling to Mayfair’s Peyote. The restaurant prides itself in re-inventing the Mexican dining experience, as is evident from its refined menu and its stylishly industrial decor (with exposed brick and retractable skylights) – a far cry from your everyday ‘Tex-Mex’ eatery.
We went on a fairly quiet Thursday evening and started the night with a pair of the signature Peyotito, a Margarita served in a spicy Tajin salt-rimmed glass with a neatly placed shots-worth bottle of mezcal on top. To be added at our discretion. I took mine as a separate shot at the end of the meal. It was worth the wait.
We didn’t get to try many of the drinks on the menu this time around, but the Peyotito was exceptionally brilliant and satisfyingly strong (and that’s almost never a complaint).
Based on a sharing concept around certain themes like ensaladas, crudos, moles, maza and ceviche, the menu tries to play with the classic dishes to make it more palatable to the ever-changing local market.
Carefully and consciously curated by culinary expert and acclaimed chef Eduardo Garcia (whose Mexico City restaurant Maximo Bistrot is rated among top 50 in the Best Restaurants In Latin America list), Peyotito’s menu is also predominantly dairy and gluten free.
We took the manager’s advice and left our three-course menu in his hands, and started our dinner with the guacamole, made with avocado, coriander, lime & serrano chile – slightly conservative on the serrano, but very tasty nonetheless.
For our main, we went with a crudo and a ceviche – starting with Tostada de Atun, which comprised of yellowfin tuna, salsa macha and guacamole on homemade tostadas – the deliciously spicy aftertaste of the salsa macha combined with the softness of the sashimi-grade tuna made this a big hit for myself and my friend.
For ceviche, we opted for the Blanco, which featured scallops, fresh coconut, cucumber, plum tomato and serrano chiles – without a doubt the evening’s top winner. Served in a shell atop an icy bed, the medley of flavours had us craving more.
Wrapping up the evening with a little sweet, we went with the Flan de Vanilla, which is a Mexican-style baked custard, and the Churro con Chocolate, with the chocolate, in particular, being uniquely flavoursome and a wonderful addition.
For sharing purposes, both desserts compliment each other nicely, and of course, there’s never a better way to end a Mexican meal than sharing a few churros with your company.
Another standout in Peyotito’s dining experience is the dimly lit nightclub-feel, something they call the “Peyotito party” – creating a chilled nightlife atmosphere, with music emanating from the DJ decks.
They even have a welcoming neon sign that reads: “Tequila is to wake the living, Mezcal is to wake the dead!”
They certainly want you to have a great time. And we did.
It’s also worth noting that Peyotito has a branch in clubland capital Ibiza, inside the island’s famed Nobu Hotel.
Peyotito @ 31 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 2EU