Peyotito – Contemporary Mexican Tapas and More:
As an ex-West-Londoner, any return to my old stomping ground always leaves me nostalgic. The walk from Notting Hill tube to Peyotito took me past Notting Hill Kitchen (currently closed) and up to what was, when I last tried, one of London’s finest butchers – Provenance. I can remember, when I visited a few years ago wishing I could afford to live in this rather pricy part of town instead of a mile or so down the road. Now I have ANOTHER reason for wanting to win the lottery!
Inside, the restaurant is compact and has something of the feel of a local cafe. But, the food belies the space…and as for the Margaritas…
We started, as everyone should, with the house Margarita – a Potato, with a Tajin lime and chilli and salt rim and a shot of smokey mezcal nestling in the ice ready to use as a chaser…
Complimentary dipping sauces and blue corn tortillas made excellent nibbles, while we browsed the menu. The tres salsas comprised a refreshing verde with avocado, lemon, lime, chilli and coriander, a fierce and biting negra with habanero chilli and a salsa tatemada , charred roasted vegetables.
The menu is really a series of Mexican tapas dishes – we ordered a salad, crudo and a couple of ceviche dishes to share followed by a meat based hot dish for me and fish for the peskytarian Hedonist.
Jitomate Salad was a plateful of full flavoured heirloom tomatoes with cured nopales cactus, spring onion and avocado, nestling in an assortment of leaves with a tangy dressing. Light and refreshing it was a great start to the evening.
Our choice of crudo was Laminado de Hamachi – yellowtail, ginger vinaigrette, huitlacoche corn mushroom and Serrano chile. My only complaint here was that I would happily have eaten the lot; the mushrooms added an almost truffle-like depth to the dish, it’s a kind of fungus that grows on the ears of corn and is sometimes called ‘Mexican truffle’. A delicacy in Mexico, I’ve never come across it before in the UK.
I’m a huge fan of Ceviche, it’s one of my favourite summer dishes. We both enjoyed our Verde Vuelve a la vida – a market seafood mix with prawn, octopus and scallop, celery green apple and pumpkin seeds for a bit of crunch. Fresh and light with a great bite from the chilli, again it could all have been mine, but for the company of the peskytarian!
Our second Ceviche dish, Pulpo a la Mexicana was unusual in that the Octopus was cooked first. The result was a beautifully tender light and delicately clamato laced dish with salsa mexicano.
The Hedonist indulged in a second margarita, an unusual sounding chilli and passion fruit, which our waitress told us was the other ‘favourite’. Sweet and spicy it slipped down a treat.
Meanwhile, our hot dishes were on the table. My Cochinata Pibil, braised pork with axiote seeds, black bean purée and habanero sauce was a smokey deep mixture that was fork tender and truly delicious.
But, I still had a severe attack of food envy when I spotted my companion’s pescado con mole verde – a fillet of grilled sea bream with homemade adobo and seasonal vegetables. Adobo is a kind of stock-based pickle or marinade which is used to tenderise and spice meat and to flavour fish dishes. The sea bream was perfectly cooked, flaky and moist – and the green mole was light, full of flavour and a delicious accompaniment.
We did finish the meal off with a plate of Churro con Chocolate – light as a feather fluffy centred with a crisp shell, these were CLEARLY calorie free and when I go back I will be ordering a whole plate for myself.
I have no hesitation in recommending Peyotito. The food was delicious, light, refreshing and very moreish. While I dont know much about Mexican food, I’d happily try the rest of the menu – and hope to do so very soon.
We dined as guests of Peyotito
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Notting Hill, London
020 7043 1400