In the mood for something with a little more life to cheer yourself up this January? We headed down to DF Mexico in the Old Truman Brewery to see how they could add a little more spice into a dull month.
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Brushed concrete floors, exposed lighting and an industrial style metal and woodwork decor, perhaps not what you would expect from a typical Mexican restaurant. However, DF Mexico at the Old Truman Brewery in East London not only serves up a much more authentic taste of Mexican cuisine it thankfully does it with far fewer cliches, not a sombrero in sight.
On any given day the restaurant is busy and lively from lunch right through to evening creating a pleasant atmosphere for a workday lunch or even a low-key date. However, don’t expect to be impressed by the luxury of the place as it doesn’t ooze fine dining cuisine, but then again, Mexican street food restaurants shouldn’t.
Bottomless drinks, like their Hibiscus Juice and Lime Chia, are certainly inventive and if you have the typical Central American sweet Tooth these will hit the spot, however, if you prefer your teeth cavity free maybe opt for a Corona.
As the majority of Mexican Street food comprises of a corn-based tortilla with some assortment of filling and salsa, I figured the recently re-invented Taco menu would offer us the best sample of DF Mexico’s authentic cooking. We certainly weren’t disappointed, two per portion, they are nicely presented, large and packed to the brim with filling.
The pork tacos came loaded with genuine tasting Pibil style pork, oozing with tasty salsa and scattered with pink pickled onions. The steak Tacos with grilled cheese were tender and juicy with a nice peppery Chipotle sauce, the grilled cheese was slightly lacking in character but overall very good. The chicken buttermilk taco was perhaps the most lacking in Authentic Mexican flavour but, if like me, you love fried chicken with Chipotle sauce, you’re on to a winner with this one.
The sides had a nice touch of innovation to them, the traditional red slaw was tangy with lime and apple and garnished with sesame seeds creating a dish that could have stood well alone and was perhaps slightly too strong as a side dish. Maize being high up on the Central American food chain was, of course, a necessary order despite already having gorged on 3 tacos. I was glad I did as the cup of corn side was far more inventive that the name suggests, served with feta and a lime-infused flavoursome stock it was more than worthy of its £2.50 price tag.
Overall I was very impressed with DF Mexico, it is not overstated in terms of design but instead tastefully decked out with a few nice Mexican touches and colour schemes thrown in. Given how busy the restaurant was our food came very quickly and the waiting staff, although perhaps short in number, were more than friendly and willing to help.
The brainchild of entrepreneur Mark Selby and Master Chef winner Thomasina Miers, the menu pleasantly varies, there are inventive flavour combinations that are clearly crafted by a very talented chef but it is slightly lacking in belly fire and the rich spices typical of Mexican Cooking. This being said, it is pitched as an American/Mexican fusion restaurant and, as this, it works very well and comes with The Idle Man seal of approval.
What to Wear to DF Mexico
A more casual approach would be best suited to this kind of restaurant. Team a plain white T-shirt with some blue, slim fit jeans; a classic look that will work for multiple occasions and situations, then, throw over a black leather biker jacket. This adds an alternative element to your outfit by creating detail and texture to your look. The choice of footwear is up to you as you can opt for a pair of white trainers, or, to keep the look classic, a pair of black penny loafers.