Recently voted the UK’s Best Mexican Restaurant in the Air Europa Latin UK Awards, Habanera, a neighbourhood restaurant of authentic and seasonal Mexican tacos and cocktails is one to watch.
Seen as the industry awards, Habanera won the UK’s Best Mexican award following public vote and then three rounds of Mexican judges The Mexican kitchen team, headed up by Josue and Ernesto, has created a seasonally changing menu of artisan tacos and burritos, which are full of flavour and authentic Mexican ingredients. From classic fillings such as Chilli Chicken (with house chilli blend, avocado and Habanera sauce) and BBQ Beef (crispy onions and house made BBQ sauce), to crowd pleasers such as Baha Fish, Wild Mushroom, 3 Little Pigs pork mix or Coconut Prawn. Also on offer are more adventurous flavours such as Honey Combe Tripe (chargrilled salsa verde and roasted nuts) and Goat and Cherry (slow roasted goat and Mezcal soaked cherries), Habanera has a taco for everyone – and all designed to share. Everything at Habanera is ‘house made’ from scratch daily, using the freshest ingredients from Covent Garden Market and a small number boutique local suppliers. Habanera also takes care to source local, organic and free range produce wherever possible, and works closely with small suppliers such as HG Walter’s Organic family butcher nearby.
The menu is largely gluten free as tacos are made with gluten free maze flour. In addition, Habanera serves a daily breakfast and brunch menu with dishes such as: Huevos Ranceros (eggs, spiced tomato salsa and avocado); Chorizo feta scramble (scambled eggs, chorizo, feta on sourdough); and the Breakfast Burrito (scrambled egg, bacon, chorizo, cheese and salsa). A Bloody Maria, made with tequila and a spicy kick, is the perfect accompaniment. At weekends, locals can enjoy a boozy brunch with fantastic brunch cocktails like a Cucumber Collins, Roast Red Pepper Martini or bottomless Mimosas. The restaurant also has a dedicated salsa bar, serving at least six salsas at any one time, including classics such as guacamole and salsa verde as well as more unusual creations such as Pina (pineapple, mango, mint, lime and chilli) all served with freshly cooked and gluten free corn chips. For Chilli Heads after some serious spice, Habanera also has a ‘hot sauce’ menu. From mild to dangerously spicy, it guides guests through the diversity and varying heats of chillies used in Mexican cuisine.
The bar serves a list of artisan cocktails, margaritas and refrescos, as well as a dedicated tequila and Mezcal menu, complete with tasting notes, which is designed to educate customers on the often misunderstood Mexican spirit. Signature cocktails include: the Habanera Old Fashioned (Bourbon, orange, chilli and cigar bitters); and the Get Out of Jalisco Free, a complex blend of Habanera honey and chilli, kraken spiced rum, peach, apricot brandy and ginger). The new Basil & Lavender Margarita is a beautiful spring addition alongside margarita flavours like Kumquat & Coriander or Watermelon & Pink Peppercorn. Thirst-quenching refrescos such as Hibiscus or Homemade lemonade with mint provide interesting options for designated drivers as do delicious juices like Verano (Pear, Avocado, Mint, & Spinach).
Founded by Shepherd’s Bush resident Lorraine Caie, former city worker and founder of the Hummingbird Café and Deli, Habanera’s aim is to bring artisan Mexican flavours to the local neighbourhood – but if you can’t make it in, you’ll be pleased to know Habanera also offers local delivery. Arriba!