RESTAURANT REVIEW: Diplomat experiences a Mexican feast at home from Taco Party, El Pastor’s delivery service
Since the original El Pastor restaurant opened just off Borough Market in 2016 to critical acclaim, I’ve been desperate to experience it for myself. Such was its success that Tortilleria El Pastor opened in Bermondsey a couple of years later, followed by Casa Pastor and Plaza Pastor in Coal Drops Yard. Inspired by the decade the restaurant founders spent in Mexico City, the Pastors feature a simple but expertly crafted menu focusing on tacos, tostadas, ceviches and sharing plates using authentic Mexican flavours and ingredients, along with mezcal, tequila and lively scenes. El Pastor Soho, the newest in the gang, recently opened in June 2021.
Living in Wiltshire, I was delighted to hear about Taco Party, El Pastor’s delivery service, that offers a nationwide finish-at-home package. Dishes arrived partially prepared; we just had to heat and complete some finishing steps. The finish-at-home element takes less than an hour, and a fool-proof step-by-step guide demonstrates how to create your Mexican feast at home.
A beautifully packaged box (eco-friendly, of course) arrived at noon on Saturday containing various labelled brown paper bags and vacuum-packed delights. We were excited for the evening ahead.
The menu kicked off with some famous Mexican snacks: guacamole made from perfectly ripened Mexican avocados from Michoacan and Jalisco, with spectacular blue and orange corn Totopos (tortilla chips) and Chicharrones, which are essentially crunchy pork scratchings, with a supremely spicy kick. No cooking required. Two sensational chipotle-cumin braised chicken Tinga Tostadas on a heritage corn tostada followed, with marinated red onions and shredded lettuce. The vacuum-packed chicken just had to be heated in boiling water and throwing the dish together was a cinch.
These kept us occupied while the grass-fed Angus short rib main course heated up in the oven for 45 minutes. Although that might sound like a long time, it wasn’t when you consider the whole preparation process: ahead of its arrival, the short rib had been braised for 12 hours in a chipotle-muscovado-coriander seed rub. The flavourful meat fell apart on touch and was served with with warm tortillas, pickled bright pink onion, salsa La Maya and spiced sugar. Sides included a favourite Mexican street snack: toasted, buttered corn Esquites, that arrived with with queso, mayo, epazote and jalapeño chilli, along with the best slow cooked Frijoles Refritos (refried beans) I’ve ever tasted, seasoned lightly with avocado leaf and topped with cheese. These too were warmed up in boiling water.
By this point, my stomach was so full I was groaning, so I passed my portion of the El Pastor Bounty Bar to my husband. He promptly gobbled both servings of the fresh coconut shortbread wrapped in dark chocolate, served with sour cream and lime zest. A triumph, he said.
Our Taco Party for two can be ordered in multiples, with drinks added on. For the brave among you, there’s El Pastor’s small batch mezcal to choose from, ‘Acapulco Gold’ beer, Michelada mix and various tequilas. We went for a batch of tasty classic Margaritas, which slipped down a treat.
Delivery days are Friday and Saturday each week, and purchases should be placed by midday the preceding Wednesday for Friday delivery or midday Thursday for Saturday delivery. At £55 for two people (without alcohol), this was dining at its best, a complete treat and well worth the planning ahead.
MAKE YOUR ORDERS VIA THE EL PASTOR WEBSITE WWW.TACOSELPASTOR.CO.UK