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Cinco de Mayo 2022: where to celebrate in London

April 29, 2022

The Mexican celebration of Cinco de Mayo has its origins in the country’s liberation from the French Empire after the Battle of Puebla in 1862 (not to be confused with Mexican independence!). Although part of Mexican history, celebrated with parades, reenactments and a day off for the children, the holiday has become more of an American tradition, with special events and celebrations highlighting Mexican culture and businesses across the country Leveraging the celebration by selling Mexican products and services with an emphasis on locally sourced alcoholic beverages, food and music. In 2013, over $600 million worth of beer was purchased in the United States for Cinco de Mayo – that’s more than the Super Bowl or St. Patrick’s Day!

The celebrations have of course made their way across the pond, with London hosting a number of events. There are venues all over the city that offer Mexican fun, and these are some of the capital’s best offerings.

Santo Remedio x Cazcabel at London Bridge

Santo Remedio (meaning “holy remedy”) is the brainchild of Edson and Natalie Diaz-Fuentes, who set out to share with Londoners the diversity of exciting flavors from across Mexico. Their 2022 Cinco de Mayo event, Celebration of Puebla, is a unique four-course dinner experience created by acclaimed chef Edson, with five Cazcabel cocktails to accompany it.

The partnership takes a more authentic stance on Cinco de Mayo as Cazcabel hosts a week of cultural activities alongside its founding with Santo Remedio. Restaurant diners are treated to a Poblano dinner paired with five Cazcabel tequila cocktails designed and presented by global brand ambassador Nate Sorby. The evening begins with a Cazcabel Reposado Poblano Paloma paired with Padron Peppers Chalupitas, followed by four courses (each paired with a drink) including a Tuna Tostada, Wild Mixed Mushrooms “Taco Arabe”, Slow-Cooked Short Rib in Mole Poblano with corn tortillas and finally a chocoflan.

The Puebla Celebration will take place on Thursday 5th May from 6:30pm to 8:30pm at Santa Remedio, 152 Tooley Street London SE1 2TU. For more information or to book, visit here.

Wahaca on Oxford Street, Islington and more

This May, Wahaca is unveiling its new menu for summer 2022 and hopefully it will bring the sun with it. In addition to the typically fresh, seasonal ingredients, the menu also demonstrates the restaurant’s commitment to sustainability by introducing CO2 values ​​for each dish, helping customers to make conscious choices around the foods that are best for the planet, since 50% of the options are now vegetarian.

Summertime menu items include Meatless Farm chicken and avocado tacos drizzled with Ajillo oil and topped with guacamole and green tomato salsa – the newest meatless item on the chain’s street food menu. The Devon Crab and Avocado Tostadas are a fresh taste of Mexican summer served with chipotle mayo and pink pickled onions and best enjoyed with a chilled glass of white wine.

For something lighter, there’s a Caesar salad (the classic salad originated in Mexico, it turns out!) as well as two new whole-food salads (grilled chicken or anchor cauliflower)—so there’s always room for dessert! Wahaca has come up with a Mexican twist on the English summer classic in a Mexican mess (homemade meringue tinged with freshly ground hibiscus blossoms and topped with fresh strawberries, lime zest and soft whipped cream).

The Mexican-themed chain is a great place to celebrate Cinco de Mayo, with a diverse drinks menu and Tequila Experience to sit alongside the new food offerings.

Wahaca has branches across London, including Oxford Street and Islington. For more information or to book, visit here.

KOL in Marylebone for a gourmet meal or mezcaleria

Going from strength to strength since opening in late 2020, Santiago Lastra’s KOL in Marylebone brings authentic Mexican flavors with plenty of spice to London. The chef launched the Noma Mexico pop-up in 2017 and is doubling down on the concept with this high-end restaurant, which also features a mezcaleria on the restaurant’s ground floor and houses one of the most extensive selections of Mexican food and agave spirits with more in Europe Than 80 varieties sourced from small and independent distillers hailing from the Yucatan to Jalisco and everywhere in between.

KOL also offers a Chef’s Table Experience in the basement, giving guests a unique insight into the restaurant’s culture and cuisine. The experience takes place in a space reminiscent of an elegant Oaxacan eat-in kitchen, inviting guests to explore an expanded tasting menu that showcases the flavors and cooking techniques of Mexico coupled with seasonal British ingredients. Behind-the-scenes access allows for an understanding of the products and craftsmanship involved in creating new dishes. What better way to celebrate Mexican culture?

The Chef’s Table Experience is available on select dates in April and May at KOL, 9 Seymour Street London W1H 7BA. For more information or to book, visit here.

La Piñata Mezcal and Tequila Festival

La Piñata, the UK’s only open-air tequila and mezcal show, launched in 2021. Their 2022 event is designed to celebrate agave fires and Mexican culture, and provide an opportunity to sample a diverse selection of tequila and mezcal side by side.

With over 20 makers of classic Mexican libations introducing visitors to their ranges (including The Lost Explorer and Dangerous Don Mezcals, as well as The Butterfly Cannon and Vivir Tequilas), the show will also feature a bar serving refreshing palomas and margaritas. A street market offers the best of Mexican and Latin American cuisine alongside the drinks, and live entertainment completes the experience.

La Piñata has teamed up with London Mezcal Week founders Thea Cumming and Melanie Symonds, who lead and host masterclasses at the festival (all included in the ticket price) to delve deeper into the subject and appreciation of Mezcal. A full program of tastings and masterclasses can be found here.

La Piñata will be held at Tobacco Dock, Wapping Lane London E1W 2SF on 7th May 2022 (with two sessions from 11am to 3pm and 4pm to 8pm). For more information or to book tickets, visit here.

mestizo

One of the first truly Mexican restaurants in London, Mestizo is now an institution. It was born in 2004 from the concept of a group of Mexicans who dreamed of opening a restaurant and bar offering authentic Mexican cuisine. The team made it their mission to spread appreciation for the “vibrant, diverse, colorful and simply delicious” cuisine from their country, with the name Mestizo reminiscent of “mezcla” or “fusion” – a term used primarily for descriptive purposes of descendants was used by indigenous Mexicans with Spaniards.

Mestizo now also has a Mexican Market selling a variety of Mexican products ranging from salsas, snacks, cooking utensils, tequilas and mezcales to traditional Mexican handicrafts. There is also an area downstairs that hosts taco nights on Thursdays and can be booked for events – potentially the perfect setting for a Cinco de Mayo party!

Mestizo is located at 103 Hampstead Road London NW1 3EL. For more information or to book a table (or the function room), visit here.

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