Ant tacos, sweetcorn ice-cream and pickle shots... It’s Taco Wars!
Eight Tacos - One Winner
Tuesday 21st May saw the ultimate Mexican grudge match with a street-food face-off not seen since 2014, yes, Taco Wars is back! Don’t worry if you didn’t make it, we can fill you in with all the juicy goings on and tasty gossip.
Battling it out to be named best taqueria in London, eight of the capital’s most influential restaurants and chefs came together to compete for a prize of £2,500 and the coveted Corona Cup.
A 300-strong crowd of street-food fans assembled upon Streetfeast’s Dinerama, an industrial style canteen (or open air street-food arena as they call it) in the heart of Shoreditch, just as trendy as the area it surrounds itself with. The collective aim - to eat incredible tacos and cast judgement over the eight challengers before crowning the Taco Kings later in the evening.
Washed down with a complimentary bottle of Corona and a Patrón ‘Chilliback’ shot (Patrón Silver paired with habanero infused pickle juice - a shot you never realised you needed with Mexican food until now!) from the event sponsors, the tasting began.
So what did we eat and who made it?
Here’s a list of your eight competitors for the Corona Cup with a couple of tasting notes from us thrown in…
Breddos - Coconut Husk and Guajillo Chile Smoked Short Rib
with ‘Nduja, Nam Prik Pao, Crispy Shallots, Pickled Pineapple
This had a good balance of sweet and spicy flavours, the short rib could have had a little more depth but good textures throughout.
Luardos - Lil Miss Pina Piggy Roco
Refritos, Mojo Pork, Roast Garlic Salsa Verde, Maple Scotch Bonnet Pineapple, Chicharrones, Coriander, Lime
Very fresh flavours with a good level of acidity and heat, unfortunately the taco itself struggled to hold the contents but the Maple Scotch Bonnet Pineapple was a revelation.
Santo Remedio - Short Rib and Mole Negro
with Plantain, Chichatana Ants, Mexican Cacao
Incredible short rib. Rich and deep flavours, the Mexican Cacao probably wasn't needed and the Chichatana Ants a little underwhelming.
Homies on Donkeys - Tupork Chakur
Chipotle-Braised Pork with Secret Spices, Chile Ancho-Fried Tortilla, Shallots, Pickled Onions, Signature Salsa
Good heat and good meat sums this one up, a very strong contender!
White Men Can’t Jerk x Cabrito Goat - Rice and Peas
Slow-Smoked Curry Goat, Frijoles Rojo, Spiced Puffed Rice, Pink Onion, Curry Drizzle
“All sorts of yes!” Beautifully tender curried goat in a naan bread style taco, this was something special, although it could have done with a chutney to elevate the flavours.
Elote - Pescado De Achiote
Achiote-Marinated Fish Taco, Pico de Gallo, Chipotle, Lime Mayonnaise
Although a well balanced fish taco, this one was just missing that ‘wow’ factor
Bob’s Lobster - Ahi Tuna (James’ favourite)
Sashimi-Grade Tuna, Ponzu Dressing, Hispi Cabbage Slaw, Wasabi Guacamole, Chipotle
Incredible Ahi Tuna, a saltiness and smokiness in the mixture of Tuna and dressing made this one a top competitor
Club Mexicana x Neil Rankin (of Temper)
Pickled Onion Bhaji with Nik Nak Dust (VE)
Pickled Onion Masa Harina Bhaji with Chipotle Mayo, Salsa Verde, Pickled Chillies, Nik Nak Dust, Lime
MONSTER MUNCH! Neil Rankin’s vegan creation took us right back to our childhood, eating pickled onion Monster Munch, many an overheard whisper praising this one!
And because 8 savoury tacos just isn’t enough, Chin Chin Ice Cream were on hand to serve up dessert with their famous liquid nitrogen frozen ice cream, of course, in taco form. For one night only serving a handmade blue corn sweet waffle taco stuffed with grilled sweetcorn ice cream, a drizzle of salted caramel, white chocolate popcorn & juicy bits of bbq'd chilli and lime pineapple chunks - deliciously indulgent and gluten-free to boot.
Please sir, can I have some more?!
So who came out on top?
With full bellies and all of the tacos ticked off, it was time to look over our notes and put our votes in the ballot box.
Without further adieu, your 2019 Taco Wars Corona Cup winners are…
Homies on Donkeys
Tupork Chakur Tako - Chipotle-braised pork in a perfect blend of secret spices, a worthy winner!
If you’ve never visited any of these London hotspots, we highly recommending making a trip to each of them, you won’t regret it!
Got a favourite Mexican eatery that we’ve not mentioned? Let us know in the comments below.
Remember that we don’t just work with restaurants, we can help market your street food business or pop-up too, find out more about what we do here.