London is now a taco town! Over the last two years, some excellent taquerias and innovative Mexican restaurants have opened. And tacos have been deemed “the food trend of 2017” by some London food bloggers.
So we sent our correspondent, Julia Walsh, to London on a taco tour. We’ll be posting her London Taco Tour updates on Taco Tuesdays!
Here is her latest report:
Breddos closes from 3-5 pm in that slack period between lunch and dinner. I rushed across London despite delays on the tube, slipped in the door at twenty minutes to 3 and asked politely if I could get a table. The staff was doing paperwork and relaxing in a couple of empty booths as the kitchen was beginning to shut down, but they still happily seated me.
The cozy restaurant has mostly bar seats, a few booths, and a large table in the middle that seats twelve. The decor here is simple shapes in bright colors on a background of white.
The wall across from the kitchen/bar entrance features shelf after shelf of vintage vinyl LPs. A turntable spins on the table beneath them. When the records occasionally skipped, I felt a wave of endearment for the whole place. The sound just fit the vibe somehow.
Stevie, my waiter, slid into the opposite side of the booth with an easy smile, asked if I’d been in before, and chatted with me about the daily specials. Breddo’s does a rotating daily menu and all the tacos are popular, he said (though there are a few “favorites” that repeat in various forms from day to day). I decided to order the Pork Al Pastor, the Baja Fish, and the Carne Asada.
Stevie also recommended a Mezcal Tonic with what I’d ordered, especially on such an unusually hot day. It was a delightful mash-up of Mexican and traditional British flavors, with the Mezcal and orange blending together smoothly and the quinine bite of tonic on the end to finish it out. I was only a few sips into it when the rest of the plates hit the table. The tacos were served on two 3-3.5 inch tortillas, which might seem dainty or cute, but these tacos pack a mighty punch!
The Al Pastor, described as pork neck roasted over the pineapple pieces, was delicious, falling-apart tender with only minor notes of pineapple. I was just about to take another bite when all hell broke loose on my tongue. Fire, fire! This was easily the spiciest thing I’ve eaten in England (aside from curry). The menu called it salsa negra, but the light green sauce looked like a tomatillo-based salsa.
Reaching for my drink on instinct, the blend of mezcal and orange mixing with the pineapple and heat was a beautiful thing. What a pleasantly picante surprise. Some London taco fans were reluctant to recommend Breddos to me because of the spice level here. They insisted the chile heat made the tacos hard to enjoy. Not for me!
The Carne Asada was by far the sexiest-looking taco, and the flavor didn’t disappoint. Aged hanger steak, cooked medium rare, was placed on a base of onion crema, then topped with miso & marrow butter. Wow! You don’t get a lot of marrow butter on your fajitas back home.
The heat came from a bright and spicy chimichurri, which was a great counterpoint to the onion crema while also underscoring the richness of the miso and marrow butter. Let’s just say I don’t have more notes because it disappeared from my plate rather quickly!
The Baja fish taco was a little disappointing. The batter on the fish was kind of chewy. I admit I also ate this one last, and it also could just have been that I was there when the kitchen was winding down for the break. Either way, it was still tasty, and the purple cabbage went a long way in making up for lost crunchiness. The fish flavor fit nicely between the strong bright habanero lime mayo and the lightly charred earthy tortilla.
For a little something different, I ordered the Pulpo (Octopus) Tostada. The octopus was tender with pleasantly chewy edges, served on top of crispy potato cubes and marrow over a base of avocado. The crispy and delicate tostada broke apart easily for eating and added a tiny bit of sweetness with the avocado. After a short time, the potatoes and the tostada were soaking up the rich, salty marrow, kicking the decadence up a notch. The whole thing was absolutely delightful to eat. One of the day’s salsas, a pasilla Oaxqueno & roasted tomato, had a smoky, strong roasted flavor with minimal heat and was an especially nice compliment to the octopus and marrow.
I took notes and ate tacos at a leisurely pace while the staff worked and bantered nearby, never batting an eye as my camera clicked. It may have been especially true due to the timing of my visit, but the attitude of the whole place was quite relaxed. I know shift meals are common, but my heart swelled two sizes when I noticed that the staff setting the communal table to share a meal together. There was something about it that spoke of a deep camaraderie, like a glimpse into the heart of the restaurant.
According to their website, Breddos started as a makeshift taco shack and has since risen to the heights of releasing a cook book and taking part in the cook-off at LA’s Tacolandia festival in 2016, among other things. (My Dad is the curator of Tacolandia, Houston!)
All of their tortillas are made in house with non-GMO corn that is ground on a volcanic stone mill, which makes a notable difference in the flavor. They certainly deserve their good reputation based on these mouthwatering tacos.
London Taco Tour: Breddos Tacos This was reposted for my personal reading use