It was a real shocker when Santo Remedio closed its doors late last year. The cute taco restaurant near Old Street was loved from Jay to Giles to Tom, not to mention the paying public.
The good news is it’s back, at a new location on Tooley Street, SE1, which they partly Crowdfunded. We visit in the first few days of opening so a smaller menu is running and the upstairs dining room isn’t open yet.
What is open however is gorgeous. There’s a chilled out vibe throughout – very ‘neighbourhood restaurant’. There’s an open bar at the front with high stools and a small dining room out the bank, which is where we sit, at a table topped with a whopping cactus.
We start with a super zingy guacamole topped with grasshoppers (£7.50). Panic not, they’re dead, and add a crunchy sort of dusty texture to the creamy guac. Apparently the use of bugs is commonplace in Mexico. Here it adds both fun and texture. Homemade corn tortilla chips (gluten free FYI) are good enough to eat on their own.
Tacos come in threes, which is handy for the three of us. Pork carnitas (£9), that’s pork confit caramelised with orange juice and Cola, are lovely little things. The sweetness from the cooking liquor really comes through and the salsa verde cuts through it all perfectly.
Chicken pibil tacos (£8.50) have slow cooked, pulled chicken which is ever so tender. Again, it’s cooked in orange juice and this time with a spice called achiote which sends the chicken a bright orange. Pink pickled onions add texture.
Beef Barbacoa (£8.50) are probably my favourite, maybe because the six-hour slow-braised beef is insanely soft and fatty.
We make use of the specials board and go for the soft shell crab tacos (£11). The crab legs come in the crispest batter which retain their texture while being covered in a zesty mayo. A good squeeze of fresh lime brings it all alive.
Barbacoa lamb cutlets (£12.50 for two) are very impressive indeed. Simple sure, but expertly grilled and rested ensuring both crisp and soft fat and a bright pink, meaty centre.
There is just one desert, churros (£5.50), which are so good you won’t need any other options. They’re dusted in brown sugar and served with Cajeta, a type of Mexican dulce de leche, which is worryingly addictive.
I had no doubt Santo Remedio would be just as good as their previous restaurant – and it is. Owners Edson (chef) & Natalie (front of house) are really lovely guys too, which always helps. It’s good to have you back, grasshoppers and all.
Would we go back? Yes.
We dined as guests of the restaurant