A Visit to the UK’s First Ever Mexican Restaurant – Cafe Pacifico
Mexican has always been my number one choice of cuisine. So I was excited to try out the UK’s first Mexican restaurant: Cafe Pacifico in Covent Garden.
Covent Garden is one of my favourite areas in London so I was surprised that I had never come across this Mexican cantina before. Tucked away on Langley Street, this hidden gem (well it was hidden from me but it seemed very popular the night we dined!) is situated in the heart of Covent Garden and was the UK’s first Mexican restaurant having opened in 1982. During my recent trip to America, I had a lot of people asking me if there were many Mexican restaurants in London. Although we may not have as many taco bars like in the US, London is fortunate enough to have a number of high quality Mexican restaurants. I would say that Cafe Pacifico is one of the best in London for serving the finest Mexican fare at affordable prices.
We were shown to our table quickly, waiting for us was a complimentary bowl of tortilla chips and salsa which was a nice touch and began our evening on a good note. We started the night with a margarita each, of course. I opted for the Margarita Rumble (£8.50), an award winning margarita mixed with Jose Cuervo Silver Tequila, fresh passion fruit and vanilla agave infusion, lime juice, and 3 citrus zest bitters – served on the rocks in a chilli rimmed glass. I also had an extra shot of tequila with mine – this is optional but how could I resist? I was happy to see that our cocktails didn’t come with plastic straws as I’m trying to use them less after reading about the Evening Standard’s Last Straw campaign. Sipping from the chilli rimmed glass added a surprisingly delicious extra burst of flavour to the cocktail.
My guest went for a Palomita Margarita – a twist on the classic paloma shaken with traditional silver tequila, fresh pink grapefruit, pomegranate and lime juice, agave nectar and grapefruit juice – a refreshing and lively cocktail.
To start we devoured the Antojitos sharing platter (£13.95) filled with chicken quesadillas, Tlacoyos with chicken tinga, beef empanadas, and chipotle glazed char-grilled prawns. The platter came served with guacamole, salsa and sour cream. We were totally impressed with the platter, everything was very tasty and authentic.
Throughout the evening the service was very efficient and attentive and our waiter was helpful in guiding us through the menu and helped us with food and cocktail suggestions. The restaurant had a wonderful ambience to it, it was buzzing with almost every table filled.
I absolutely adore fajitas but it is never normally a dish I would order in a restaurant as I cook it so much at home. But after seeing plates of sizzling fajitas being brought over to the tables around us I couldn’t resist! I went for the chicken fajitas for one (£17.50, also available for 2 for £33) which was cooked with onions and peppers and served with grilled tomato chipotle salsa, roasted tomatillo salsa, creme Mexicana and warm flour tortillas. This was also served with black beans and additional tortillas are complimentary. I also went for grated cheese which is an extra £1.50. This dish was absolutely huge, and even after a couple of tortilla wraps stuffed with chicken it looked as though I hadn’t touched my plate, proving that their portions are generously sized. The fajitas for one was definitely enough for two people! The fajitas were absolutely delicious and came served with everything I needed. I was so excited to try their desserts – I had my eye on the chocolate brownie – but I just couldn’t do it as I was so full, which is very unusual for me…
My guest went for the Degustacion Del Pacifico (£13.95) which is a combination of one chicken enchilada, one ground beef tostada topped with fresh lettuce and tomatoes, and a pulled pork street taco. This came served with Mexican rice and black beans. The Degustacion Del Pacifico was delicious, our only criticism is that the enchilada sauce was a little too watery, but despite this it was a very tasty dish. A great dish to go for if you are unsure of what to choose on menu and instead can try a smaller version of three of Cafe Pacifico’s dishes.
We arrived at Cafe Pacifico at 6.30pm and within an hour and 15 minutes we were finished as the service was just so fast which was absolutely perfect – and very useful as I had a long journey back to Kent afterwards!
I’m so happy to have found this delightful hidden gem in the heart of Covent Garden. From now on Cafe Pacifico will be my go-to whenever I am in the area!
5 Langley St