Thursday, May 22, 2014
If you've ever read this blog before you know how mad I am for Mexican food. Growing up in California, Mexican and Cal-Mex food was basically bottle fed to me from day one. However, living in England now, my life as a Mexican food junkie has come to an abrupt halt. There are very few good Mexican restaurants here and even fewer that make me want to go back for more. In fact, besides Wahaca, I have never visited the same Mexican restaurant in the UK more than once. Even re-reading my Wahaca post I can see that I wasn't very impressed with it at the time. But, needs must, I suppose. I have since warmed up to Wahaca more and I now visit it quite often.
After parking in Brighton we walked to La Choza, passing a row of street food stalls. The smells from all over the world, Ethiopia, India, Mexico, were hugely intoxicating and made me very hungry.
However, food stalls were not on the list today. I had heard of a new Mexican restaurant in Brighton, La Choza. With a tagline of "Mexican Street Food" and an ethos that seems to be based on cooking authentic, tasty Mexican after researching everything possible on the subject, I had very high hopes. Entering the restaurant I was taken aback by the mix of macabre and vibrant decor, but it all added to the experience.
However, when my Chips and Salsa arrived my hopes were quickly deflated. They were clearly out of a bag and not cooked fresh. The Chipotle Salsa was a tomato-based Salsa and quite thick. Paprika was sprinkled on top and although I liked the look, I want my Chips and Salsa to be Chips and Salsa, no fluff, just freshly cooked Tortilla Chips and lovely clean, blended Salsa. I appreciated the small amount of Guacamole, which was fresh and vibrant, but very small.
After, what must have been one of the longest waits I've ever experienced in a restaurant with 10 other diners, our mains arrived. In my head I was already writing this review and unfortunately for La Choza, it was going to be scathing and completely condemning. I'm sure you can tell from the photos above, that the mains were beautiful and made me change my mind.
My 14 Hour Pulled Pork Burrito with Refried Beans, Rice, Cheese and Sour Cream was terribly good. The meat was tender and the flavor everything that I expect in a Burrito. Simple Foodie's Tacos, he chose the Spicy Squash and Sweet Potato with Guacamole and the 14 Hour Pulled Pork were equally good. Actually, he asked for two of each and they clearly didn't understand what he meant and piled the Butternut Squash on top of the Pulled Pork. Which, when I think back on it, created a really nice flavor, but they did tend to merge into one another and it was impossible to pick out the individual flavors.
La Choza may not be the best Mexican restaurant I've ever been to in the world, in fact, it isn't even in the top 25, but it is in the top 5 I've been to in England. It is cheap and provides a good, if small overview of Mexican dishes and flavors.
Would I go back? Well, let's put it this way, after leaving I wished that I had room in my stomach to visit the street food vender I saw earlier as their food looked just as good.
My search for great Mexican food in England continues...
To see my professional food photography please visit: Taylor Young Photography