Being at home for two weeks at the start of August combined with work and weekend trips to Stratford-upon-Avon, Margate and Bruges have meant that it's been a while since I've had the chance to eat out anywhere new in London. The upside is that I might actually finish this month with more than £10 left in my bank account by the 30th, the downside is that my list of places on my 'to eat' list has grown.
This weekend for me was a bit of a wind-down weekend, a weekend for reading, napping and baking (if you follow me on Instagram, you'll see I made Fougasse and it was a complete success). However, I start getting cabin fever if I spend much more than a day inside and so we resolved to get out on Sunday and go and watch the Tour of Britain as it looped through London. But first, we needed to be fed and I knew exactly where I wanted to go – DF Mexico.
DF Mexico opened on Hanbury Street (just off Brick Lane) on 24 July and is owned by the same people who own Wahaca (you can read about my first trip to Wahaca here), but rather than playing to the colourful masses, DF Mexico is the East London hipster sibling, a place that's not into table service, small plates and big bills but is big on atmosphere, portions and value for money.
We made our way to DF Mexico for a late lunch via some of the best street art spots at the south end of Brick Lane and because I can't help taking a million pictures, I thought I'd share a few here.
After I'd been steered away from the art and through the hipsters, we found ourselves at DF Mexico's door, where we were ushered past a wall of succulents and to a table for two at the back of the restaurant.
We'd already perused the menu at home and so the ordering process was super speedy, my boyfriend went to order at the counter (you can use a computerised system to eliminate all human interaction but given that he was born in an era when the wheel was a novelty, he went for the person option) and came back clutching two juicy waters for us - lime and chia for him and hibiscus for me. Both were lovely, although I possibly preferred the lime and chia. The best thing is that they were bottomless, which in my opinion is always a good idea for soft drinks, because really, who wants to spend a fortune on something that's not even going to get you happy tipsy?
We started with veggie nachos to share. These are topped with tomatillo guacamole, salsa, refried beans, cheese and pink pickled onions and unlike many nachos which come with dollops of separate ingredients, these had the toppings evenly spread across them which meant that you got a good mix with every nacho rather than having to dip into the toppings of your choice. My boyfriend declared that he was not a nacho expert but that these were the best he'd ever had, whilst he can sometimes be prone to hyperbole, they were very very good.
We each ordered a torta - a Mexican sandwich served NYC style (whatever that is) served in a brioche bun with smashed guacamole and slaw. He went for a crumbed cod one and I went for the grilled chicken. I can't speak for the cod but I can for the chicken. The chicken was beautifully tender but in my meat loving opinion was a little overwhelmed by the amount of slaw.
The steak tacos were the star of the show for me. These weren't tiny tacos, these were big beefy things that you needed two hands for. The steak was slightly pink inside which was perfect and they were generously filled. They were also messy. This is not first date food, this is the kind of food you can only eat with people who love you because it's tie your hair back, finger licking stuff (and not just your fingertips but right down inbetween your fingers).
There were also two kinds of fries - regular and chilli fries (the main difference being chilli salt).
We were definitely a bit ambitious on the ordering and I blame Wahaca for that as we ordered lots of plates there and so I was expecting to do the same at DF Mexico - mistake. These are good sized portions and very filling. I would have liked to try dessert which are some interesting sounding ice cream flavours but I fear it would have been my wafer thin mint.
Our gorging done, we headed out for a slow stroll to watch the Tour of Britain and to wonder whether we'd ever eat again. We wouldn't eat again that day but it was only the next day that I was craving more tacos and wondering when I could visit again. Given that the whole thing cost us about £35, it's definitely not one of those places to save for a treat but the sort of place I'm very liable to head to after a late night at work, which is possibly very dangerous as there are quite a few long days and late nights at work after which I can't be bothered to cook. Oh dear.