Twitter, being the source of most of my knowledge told me, it was National Nacho Day – so I had to celebrate. DF/Mexico is a relative newcomer to The Old Truman Brewery crew and I had been looking for an excuse to go and check it as according to my thrifty other half saving money means eating out less!!
Arriving at 7.30 on a Saturday night, without reservations, anywhere in London is never a good idea but lady luck was on our side and despite the restaurant being extremely busy we managed to squeeze onto a large sharing table. I really enjoy eating in this way as I feel that it is more social, you can have a good nosey at other people’s orders and, if your companion is boring, eavesdropping is always entertaining.
This style is not for everyone, the female in of the couple that came in after us were mortified at the prospect of sitting opposite us, she continued to sigh and pick at her food the entire meal. I think she was looking for some fine dining, not that her date seemed to notice. This sort of comedy drama would never be observed at a private table.
My date was much more content at my casual style and we embraced the family style dining by choosing food that we could share.
Though the restaurant is named DF/Mexico* it plays on both traditional and American influences to create an interesting fusion style menu mainly of NYC Tortas served burger style, corn tacos, burritos, DIY boards along with a variety of sides and sharers.
*I was informed by my half Mexican boyfriend that DF (which is an abbreviation of Distrito Federal) is what locals refer to Mexico City as.
After placing our order on the self service computer I watched every meal leaving the open kitchen behind us hoping it was ours, the smokey, spicy smells had me salivating.
Whilst waiting I did a little research on the history of nachos since that is what had brought us here.
Though many believe that this is not a traditional Mexican dish and that is Tex/Mex it was in fact created in a Mexican border town called Piedra Negras by a local named Anaya back in 1943. The dish was named Nachos Especiales as Anaya was short and went by the nickname Nacho. Although the dish was well know in Piedra Negras it was not until the 1970’s when it began being served at Arlington Stadium the then home of the Texas Rangers which caused its popularity to rise throughout the USA.
History lesson over it was time to eat!
The nachos were made up of colourful tortilla chips and topped with tomatillo guacamole, salsa, refried beans, cheese and pink pickled onions. There was the perfect ratio of topping that there was not a chip untouched but remained crunchy.
A cup of corn might seem like an odd order but I became a little obsessed with cups of corn when we we travelling in Southeast Asia. Though a little more complex than my favourite backpacking snack with lime, mayo and cheese it was equally appetising.
The DIY Mexican Ancho Mushroom Sharing Board was [messy] fun and packed with a great balance of smokey, spicy, sour and sweet flavours.
I love a restaurant where you feel relaxed enough to have fun; the bright colours, quirky decor, chipper staff, large tables and sharing style of food definitely encourage this.
If I was to compare the food to anywhere I would say it had similarities to Wahacca, in the way that they kept with tradition using corn tortillas and classic flavours but where not afraid to serve food up in a modern manner. It was not only the food that managed to find a the correct balance but also the decor and general vibe. Opening up in a warehouse space in Shoreditch there was potential to be pretentious however they have pulled off cool, open plan in an inviting way. A perfect place for a catch up with friends or a casual date.
Hanbury St, London E1 6QR
020 3617 6639