Tacos, those little parcels of tasty happiness so typical of Mexico, have inspired London’s chefs to create some out-of-this-world fillings ready to blow your mind. And the place to worship the humble taco for the second year running is Tweat Up’s Taco Wars.
Here, 8 of London’s finest street food and café contenders go head to head to come up with the most innovative and tasty taco… ever and this year our very own Thomasina Miers was invited along to crown the winning taco-ista.
Walking down Broadway Market, we watched the folk eating brunch with pity, we were taco-bound, hungry and thirsty. A very smoky Hawker House welcomed us with the merry Mariachi band playing in the corner. No special Mexican occasion is complete without a Mariachi of course, and this could only be followed with tequila, a blood orange Margarita.
And so the expedition began, the voting card told us who was who and in which direction we should head:
Oh Bob oh Bob! You makes us dream of your lobster roll, and then you kick up a pinxo style taco. A crispy Sashimi Grade Ahi Tuna taco with wasabi guacamole, chipotle crema, Asian slaw and sesame seeds in a crispy wonton shell finished off by their own Mexican chef from Baja. This taco was crispy and fresh, you could close your eyes and instantly be chilling by the beach, delicious.
Next stop, the one and only Kimchinary, a beer braised pork belly, pickled mustard seeds, Korean pear salsa, oyster kimchi, gochujang and pig crunch on a smoked pork fat and sesame tortilla. What a winning combination, the sour punch on the salsa finished with those pork scratchings were absolutely heavenly, fresh and clean tasting.
The cool Breddo’s boys were feeling so at home just down the road from their usual taco shack, you could feel their confidence. A tequila and chilliback combo warmed the pallet while our chipotle and bone marrow roasted short rib taco, barbecue Guinness brisket and smoked cherry marmalade in a homemade beef dripping tortilla was being dressed. This was a great size taco with succulent meat slightly on the sweet side, but with good consistency.
Rita’s Café was brave, they kicked up a Pigs Head, Belly and Trotter, burnt spring onion crema and blood orange pico taco, their while-you-wait handmade tortilla was to die for, the flavours well balanced and the pico salsa gave it the perfect kick, grand…
After a little rest and a couple of beers, we were ready for more, so we headed for the Benito’s Hat party. Felipe and his crew were having a blast and it was contagious. We were told about Felipe’s family salsa recipe and were served a pork belly, crispy chicharrón, shaved fennel, lime, roasted apple and habanero salsa in a homemade corn tortilla. We were waiting for the Coyoacan market carnitas hit but it was a little bit far from it, the crispy crackling was a nice touch and the salsa had a nice punch.
Next was the wonder kid from Mexico via NY, Edson from Santo Remedio and his Chargrilled Octopus marinated in Pasilla de Oaxaca chillies with black beans, yerba santa and serrano in a blue corn tortilla taco. The octopus was so succulent and the pasilla chilli so delicate, we just wished we could’ve had a few more.
And so we were nearly there, and as the lines stretched all the way to the bar, the banter flowed with other taco lovers, discussing their nay and yay choices. Last year’s winners Luardos was next. High expectations as we waited for their minimalistic taco – a mouthful of Argentina, grilled skirt steak drenched in chimichurri salsa and soft avocado, delicious.
Feeling pretty full up, we ended the day with the most innovative taco in the house, a hickory smoked peanut butter jelly pork belly, popcorn pudding, pineapple salsa, Dr. Pepper gel and pickle sour cream in a 100% pork loin tortilla, aka a pork taco with nutty flavours inside out, insanely full of amazing flavours.
To wrap things up, after a day full of amazing flavours our very own Thomasina Miers crowned Breddo’s Tacos the winners, just in time for their residency at Tripspace in Haggerston.
And as the party went on, we came to the conclusion that tacos as we know them, will never be the same again.