We used to be barmy for burgers and then we became pilgrims of pizza. Posh fried chicken had us finger-lickin’, good and street food enjoyed 15-minutes of fame.
2018 is London’s year of the taco, and if your dinner ain’t served on a hand-sized corn tortilla then you’d better keep it to yourself. Need to play catch up? Work your way through these guys.
They proved themselves at street food markets and now have restaurants in Clerkenwell and Soho. Breddos should definitely take a chunk of the credit for upping London’s taco game. Best order? Crispy pork belly chicharron, which comes drizzled in a furiously spicy Mayan salsa called x-ni-pek.
Meat master Neil Rankin’s Temper restaurants each have a different speciality. The first, Soho, turns whole roast animals into tacos (among other stuff). Best order? It’s really the beef fat taco, but you’ll find it near-impossible not to order the aged cheeseburger one.
Expect diner-style self-service but above average food at this sparky outlet with branches on Tottenham Court Road and in Shoreditch. Best order? Grilled chicken, which has a habanero and pumpkin seed salsa that even managed to get the thumbs up from Grace Dent.
A trad Mexican restaurant that’s been in the capital longer than you’ve been of drinking age. Best order? Cuitlacoche; corn mushrooms that are the Mexican version of truffles with onions, garlic, serrano chilli and sweetcorn.
Tortilleria El Pastor
The off-the-beaten track, railway arch-based tortilla factory from Borough’s trendy El Pastor, which has its very own taco bar. Best order? The Al Pastor, obviously, laden with crazy tender pork shoulder, juicy caramelized pineapple and various other magically delicious toppings.
A Peckham institution that’s heaving with hungover locals every weekend, all in desperate need to prove their resistance to hot sauce. Best order? Baja fish, which gets its extra crispy credentials thanks to a batter that involves cornflakes. Genius.
What is it? Quite clearly a venue that is driven by someone’s love of tequila, this Battersea place offers great eats to soak up all those margaritas. Best order? The chicken thigh; it’s marinated in lemon, garlic and mezcal. A booze-drenched bird it’s OK to drool over.
A teensy restaurant that was so popular in its original Clapton location that it opened a second in Dalston. Tacos are just £2 a go between 5pm and 7pm every day, and all night on Tuesdays. Best order? Barbacoa. The slow-cooked leg of lamb falls off the bone and into your taco, ready to romance your tastebuds.
The food offering at London’s first totally vegan pub in Homerton. CM started out as street food and the snacks they make out of plants are honestly confusingly tasty. Best order? Baja Tofish. The beer-battered tofu chunks could fool the editors of Angling Times.
Homies on Donkeys
Teeny, daytime-only shack hidden within Wood Street’s indoor market that packs serious flavour into their very affordable takeaway boxes. Best order? Camaron Enchilado, where chilli- and garlic-marinated prawns are piled in with pickled onions, coriander and a sprinkling of cheese.
An early player in London’s Mexican food scene, these guys moved off Portobello Road market and into a restaurant on 2005, and their menu offers a whopping choice of 17 different tacos. Best order? Vampiro steak. It’s got tender beef, it’s got melty cheese, it’s got tangy tomatillo salsa. That’s like a sassy upgrade on a burger.
Take it to the street
A street food stall from a guy whose life ambition can only have been this. His first name is Taco, for god’s sake! But also he makes incredibly flavoursome taco fillings. Best order? Dr Pepper and chipotle brisket, a pile of smoky, soft meat that gets its sweetness from the oh-so-90s fizzy drink physician.
Though named after grilled corn-on-the-cob, this street food stall regularly wows crowds with its tacos. Not that surprising given that chef Alex Hutton came from the kitchen at Caravan. Best order? Elote de Galleiros, where the eponymous corn is complemented by creamy queso fresco, warming chipotle and perky lime.
Many Mexican food places strive to perfect the traditional, but Taco Rebels are happy to think outside the box. They’re currently serving at The King & Co in Clapham. Best order? Argi-Bhaji Lamb Doori, that merges your favourite curryhouse orders to create a rich, lamb-based mouthful that ticks all the (takeaway) boxes.