Caldera - Mare Street
December 10, 2019
There’s never too many Mexican restaurants in a city, particularly London, which needs more and more. Caldera is the latest to touch down, occupying prime position on Hackney’s Mare Street in the Monohaus building. On a cold December evening sometimes the only prescription is a double dose of chilli. We visited Caldera to check out its new chef Ernesto Puga Cardoso and see if he was bringing the fire (Caldera is the crown of a volcano, for the record).
The spacious, eclectic dining room was very much east London. Four Tet was playing on the speakers and the clientele was cool. Minimalist schoolhouse tables and chairs sit athwart wooden parquet flooring. There are plenty of plants spread throughout and some super cool murals paying homage to Dia De Los Muertos. Otherwise, exposed piping and mid-century pendant lighting imbues the restaurant with post-industrial panache. We kicked back with Bloody Marias and let the games begin.
First stop – nachos. Though they’re not the most sophisticated dish, these were some of the best we’ve tried in the smoke, laden with beef chilli, homemade queso, a smouldering tatemada salsa and effervescently fresh pico de gallo. They’re worth a stop all their own. Tacos were by the book and toothsome – we were particularly fond of the baja-style cod with chipotle aioli and the chicken tinga. A deconstructed whole poussin al pastor with habanero and jackfruit sauce was perfectly tender, just the right amount of juicy, while hand-ground mole marinated lamb cutlets were . We put a full stop on the meal with crispy-on-the-outside, fluffy-on-the-inside churros with a rich ramekin of dulce de leche.
For east London Mexican, Caldera delivers.
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