Jalisco is a Mexican restaurant just opposite the very popular Kaosarn in Brixton Village. As it was previously a Columbian restaurant (which unfortunately we never got to try out) I must honestly say we didn’t notice that the place had changed hands, so when we headed out for an evening of Columbian food we were very surprised.
I feel that I may mention a lot in these reviews that I have one ultimate type of food that is classed as my favourite, Japanese, Thai etc. but I’m going to carry on regardless by saying that Mexican really is up there as some of my all-time favourite foods. With the spices, coriander, sour cream, guacamole, meat or fish and a big dash of heat, the flavours and ingredients of Mexican food make it too perfect for words. That said getting good Mexican food in London is hard. Yes you have the Wahaca’s and your Chipolte’s, but good local decent Mexican food is a rarity I find. Although there is already the staple Mexican in Market Row, Casa Morita, our visit there wasn’t incredible and we haven’t returned since, mainly because we found it way overpriced for the quality and quantity of food served. El Panzon is the complete opposite.
With a kind of disarrayed decoration to the place and tables outside to sit on, which I’m sure will be lovely if this darn Summer would arrive, this is quite a basic restaurant. There is also an upstairs seating area which we didn’t get to see, but makes me feel comfortable that there will be no Honest Burger type problems with getting a table if I wanted to return.
Now on to the food. The menu works in three stages. First you pick the kind of meal you want e.g. burrito, taco, nachos etc. Second you pick your filling which range from chorizo to prawns to mixed vegetables. Finally you are given the choice of sauces from the no chilli “dead” variety to the F*** off HOT! sauce. Personally this makes choosing a whole lot easier, by creating a tailor made dish all for yourself. However…they had run out of the two fillings that we really wanted to try, the prawns and the fish. It would have been helpful if they had informed us before that they had ran out of the ingredients instead of 15 minutes after we had ordered, making it more disappointing that we could not have what we wanted.
Finally we decided to try the tacos , one with chicken, one with chorizo and one with mixed vegetables. All the tacos (which are gluten free) came with cheese, lettuce, sour cream, guacamole and tomatoes. We also went for a Burrito with chorizo. None of us were brave enough to try the ominous sounding F*** off Hot! sauce so we went for their house sauce instead which turned out to not be as hot as we would have liked it to be. For drinks we ordered the Mexicali beers and a Margarita, which were both delicious, although the latter a little to limey for my taste.
The food arrived with enough time for us to have conversation, sip on our drinks and take in the atmosphere of the place, which was buzzy and refreshing against the cold horrible weather outside. One piece of advice I would give is that this is not a place for first dates. The tacos in particular are not the tidiest of meals and we all ended up with sauce dripping down our hands and arms. But the food is delicious so who can blame us! Each dish was well cooked, perfectly seasoned and had the right amount of extras with it. I really would have loved to have tried the fish taco but that gives me an excuse to head back there so I really don’t mind too much!
The meal came to about £42 for us four, with three tacos costing £7 and the burrito £7.50. For a meal out that cost’s about a tenner each I’d say is a real winner. El Panzon also appears to have set up shop at Hootannany’s on Effra Road and I’m sure I’ve smelt their delicious food wafting from a stand in the garden while on a night out there.
Really recommend this place.