Peyotito Notting Hill
31 Kensington Park Road, W112EU
www.peyotitorestaurant.com/020 7043 1400
Notting Hill is fast turning into a dining destination with new openings coming thick and fast. Next into the frame comes Peyotito offering a tapas style take on modern Mexican cooking.I’m excited to have been invited to review as the menu has been shaped by Executive Chef Eduardo Garcia, the chef of Maximo Bistrot, one of Latin America’s top 50 restaurants. The restaurant majors in tequila and mezcal cocktails which is always a good thing in my book – we opened the show with a couple of Peyotito Margaritas (£11). It’s really a classic Margarita with a twist featuring Tajin lime, chilli and salt spicing around the rim to give the drink a real kick. Even more ennervating was the shot of smokey mezcal perched in a little bottle on top of the ice that gave a real depth of flavour to the drink experience.To soak up the alcohol we ordered some blue corn tortillas with a fiery trio of salsas (£4.50). I named them hot, hotter and bloody hot!…The first was a looser take on a guacamole blending avocado, lemon, lime, chilli and coriander, salsa tatemada was a poky take on roasted veg and the salsa negra kicked my gringo ass way out of the ballpark with its Habanero chile. We cooled things down with a Jitomate salad – tasty juicy Heirloom tomato, cured Nopales cactus, spring onion, salad leaves and Hass avocado (£7.50) – which was full of taste, with a zingy dressing and lots of textural interest.From the Crudo (raw) section of the menu we tried the Laminado de Hamachi (£12.50) – raw yellowtail, ginger vinaigrette, huitlacoche corn mushroom and Serrano chile. The rather poetically named huitlacoche corn mushroom added a wonderful earthy taste to the delicacy of the fish. It’s other more prosaic name is corn smut as it is a plant disease that grows on maize but with a great flavour!As I’m trying to drink less I ordered a sweet and spicy Chile and Passion Fruit Margarita (£11) that hit the sweet spot and several other spots simultaneously.Ceviche – raw fish ‘cooked’ in a citrus marinade – is a Mexican staple as well as featuring in Peruvian and Brazilian cuisines. Verde Vuelve a la Vida (£11) featured market seafood; prawn, octopus, scallop, celery with green apple and pumpkin seeds for a fresh and not too citric-tasting take on the South American classic.Also from the Ceviche menu came Pulpo a la Mexicana (£10) octopus, salsa mexicana and homemade clamato (spicy tomato sauce mixed with clam juice). Keeping octopus tender is an art form that the Peyote kitchen has clearly mastered and the sauce added piquancy to the rich flavour of the the celaphod.From the hot dishes area of the menu we ordered Cochinata Pibil (£8.50), a wonderfully smokey, salty dish of tender braised pork, axiote seeds, black bean purée and habanero sauce. Farmed sea bream is a feature on most restaurant menus because of its price, flavour and availability. In Peyotito’s Pescado con Mole Verde (£11) the perfectly grilled fish had been marinated in a homemade adobo – a sauce of paprika, oregano, salt, garlic, and vinegar – which really pimped up the flavour with a green sauce (Mole Verde) on the side adding a vegetal counterbalance to the fish. Simple food brilliantly delivered.Fiona insisted on ordering Churros con Chocolate (£5.50) – a deliciously light deep-fried pastry baton dusted with cinnamon sugar with a rich chocolate sauce for dipping. As a true gentleman I helped her finish them…With good-looking but friendly staff, an on-trend interior and fab food at a reasonable price point Peyotito ticks all my boxes. A neon sign declares ‘Tequila is to wake the living, Mezcal is to wake the dead’ and with late-night DJs for non-stop party people this is a place that buzzes well into the night. They are running a Casamigos Tequila masterclass and tasting every Tuesday evening (4th, 11th, 18th and 25th July) throughout July and from July 1st (my birthday – make a note) are opening in Ibiza.If you want to explore beyond Tex-Mex or the too often disappointing Wahaca it’s well worth a visit.