El Pastor | Margarita-Laced Taqueria Next to Borough Market
It was only a few years ago that we were sitting around, as we regularly do, chatting about how nice it’d be if the brothers responsible for Barrafina and Quo Vadis were to open a Mexican taqueria right opposite Borough Market.
And lo, they only went and did it.
Inspired by Sam Hart and co-founder Crispin Somerville’s stint running a nightclub in Mexico City, El Pastor’s raw brickwork and festoon lights transform the underside of its London Bridge railway arch into a lively, rustic, tequila-soaked hacienda. Head in through the large painted shutters, and you’ll find yourself in an industrial taco den, with a mezzanine level tortilla factory, an emerald dining counter overlooking the open kitchen, and two bespoke El Pastor manhole covers on the polished concrete floor…which possibly lead to a reservoir of contraband mezcal.
However if – rather than try and break through the floor – you’d rather simply purchase some mezcal, you can do so at the bar. For El Pastor has one of the best-stocked mezcal bars in London: here you’ll find a selection of over 25 different bottles of the stuff served up alongside a range of tequilas, cocktails, Mexican beers and non-alcoholic guavan, pineapple and hibiscus aguas frescas.
The signature dish at El Pastor – after which the restaurant is named – is the “taco al pastor”, an import from the Lebanese who emigrated to Mexico in the 50s and 60s. Though inspired by lamb shawarma kebabs, it’s actually made with pork that’s been marinated for 24 hours in dried chillies, spices and orange juice, piled up on a homemade corn tortilla and peppered with chunks of pineapple. También delicioso. In addition to this you’ll also find heaps of tostadas, quesadillas and tacos filled with an impressive spread of meat, fish and veg options – and, for dessert, a ridiculous chocolate taco...
We’re calling it The TacOhMyGod.
NOTE: El Pastor is open daily for lunch and dinner. You can book a table, and find out more, HERE.
El Pastor | 7a Stoney Street, SE1 9AA
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