The buzzing Mexican restaurant with very pedestrian street food

Boho Mexica

Great atmosphere, patchy food and service

Boho Mexica. I had high hopes for this Shoreditch restaurant whose head chef is Tia Patty (Aunt Patty),  surely a food-loving matriarch with the highest culinary standards. Combine that with four-star reviews from Time Out, the Evening Standard and View London and you can be pretty confident that you are in for a treat.

The website says that the aim is to “try and show the people of London that Mexico is not all about sombreros, moustaches and donkey piñatas”.

The decor was certainly befitting of the name, evoking a bohemian Mexican street culture, with a veritable scrapbook of colourful pictures lining the walls. It started well — the margaritas were fantastic, but the accompanying chips and dips left a lot to be desired. For £5.95 I expect more than 10 (literally) tortilla chips a sneeze of mashed avocado seemingly lacking salt, lime or in fact any flavour.

Our waiter recommended that the main courses were not necessarily enough to fill us up and that we should order at least two items. They were labelled tapas, but at between £7 and £10 there were pretty pricey.

We each ordered one antojito (a Mexican street snack that is meant to stave off hunger) and a main course. My tostada de ceviche was a lovely combination of seabass marinated in lime and herbs with crispy tortillas. There were two of them, discs no bigger than a large-ish prawn cracker, with maybe a heaped teaspoon of fish and a few bits of tomato and lettuce on each. For £5.75. The obvious comparison to make is to Wahaca, which has an almost identical dish for a more honest £3.95.

I followed up with Camarones Al Chile Ancho – essentially spicy prawns stir-fried with peppers and onions. The flavours were lovely, but the portion was definitely more super-skinny than supersized.

The girls I dined with had a range of other items from the menu, including enchiladas with salsa verde (“tasty but needed more of a kick to it”), Bistec a la Mexicana (“perfectly cooked” but not well-seasoned) and Pipian Verde (grilled pork) which was described as “a triumph”.

Despite the patchy quality of the food, the restaurant was abuzz with a young, fashionable crowd (it is just behind Spitalfields Market), making for an appealing atmosphere. The flipside of its popularity was a very jumbled service. Half of the table received their main course, while the other half waited a further 15 minutes before enquiring, whereupon it was discovered that the order had either been forgotten or given to another table. We were compensated with a round of shots, but it all felt like a bit of a scramble.

The overall impression was one of style over substance. Much of the food tasted fantastic, but  this was overshadowed by the high prices (given the standard of food), tiny portions, inconsistent service and terrible guacamole — surely the standard bearer of a good Mexican?

If everything had been either 25% bigger or 25% cheaper, one might be more forgiving. Sorry Tia Patty.


Categories: Culture, Food

Author:Olivia Solon

Freelance writer and editor specialising in new technologies, culture, media and marketing, design and animal-themed t-shirts.


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