Molé Taco Bar in the West End
Bringing a generous amount of colour and vibrancy to London’s restaurant scene is the recently established Molé Taco Bar, a Mexican/South American joint located moments away from Selfridges and bringing with it a welcome change to the usual picks around the popular St Christopher’s Place area. With funky interiors of low-hanging lights, exposed wiring and brickwork, Day of the Dead skulls, tropical bird-themed upholstery and a good mix of colours and feel, this place feels ultra-cool and inviting.
We are immediately looked after by the friendly staff and offered the restaurant’s drinks menu, from which we select the Nuevo Margarita and the Coco Fresco. Made with vanilla, agave and smoked salt orange foam, the margarita is the ultimate balance of sweet, sour and savoury in a glass. The Coco Fresco owns all the refreshing and fruity elements of a cocktail made with passion fruit, coconut and pineapple, winning us over instantly.
As Molé refers to itself primarily as a taco bar, it is only fitting that we begin our dining experience with a couple of the most popular dishes on the menu: the Chipotle Beef Shortrib and the Baja Fish Taco, served in generous portions over soft corn tortillas. The beef is slow-braised and carries with it all the moist and tender textures one expects of a meat that has been lovingly cared for over so many hours. This little dish is brought to life with hints of spice from thin slices of fresh jalapenos and a fun garnish of shredded potato hay and sliced radishes, all of which add an important textural contrast to each mouthful. Despite the promising start, however, an unwelcome discovery of some fatty and inedible chunks of meat in one of the tacos leaves us feeling disappointed.
The fish taco offers perfectly cooked, flaky pollock fillet encased in a light and crisp batter, served up with a tangy chipotle mayonnaise and a Japanese slaw. Made with crunchy red cabbage, this adds some lovely acidic notes throughout, saving the taco from becoming too heavy from its fried companion.
For fish lovers, the raw section of the menu is a dream, offering up fresh fish and seafood options. We decide on the Sea Bass Ceviche, served up in a bowl of delicious citrus dressing that sings with lime and salt. This is fishy for all the right reasons, with small cubes of sea bass only just cured through from all the juices. Combined with diced tomato, sweet potato and cucumber and garnished with plantain crisps and poppadum-style shards of crunch made from maize to add bite, this is a light and well-balanced dish.
To complete the savoury part of our meal, we order the Ancho Garlic King Prawns and a side of the Quinoa Salad. Each prawn is perfectly cooked, opaque in the middle but with no sign of toughness, and generously coated in a sauce that adds sweetness from the cooked garlic. The liberal amount of ancho chilli on the plate leaves a hum of spice on the tongue that is refreshingly balanced by the side salad. Served cold, this is bursting with spring onions, sweetcorn, lemony dressing and pomegranate jewels that burst in the mouth and provide an instantly cooling effect on the palate.
To finish, we order the two desserts on the menu. The first is a deconstructed cheesecake made with Aji Amarillo chillies and a creamy mango cheese topping. With a sweet, buttery crumb, this is a heavy dish that, despite some good flavours, discourages more than a couple of mouthfuls. The alternative is the Dulce de Leche Creme Brûlée: made with creamy custard and topped with the expected crunch of the cooked sugar, this is cloying on its own but well-balanced with the slight bitterness of its coating.
With a strong food menu and a delicious drinks menu, Molé Taco Bar has confidently established itself as a go-to place in the area. Whether for a full meal or just for a couple of cocktails and some smaller snacks at the bar on your way to somewhere else, this place is well worth a look-in.
★★★★★Food ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Drinks ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮Service ▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮▮
Photos: Rasha Barazi
To book a table at Molé Taco Bar, 16 Picton Place, London W1U 1BP, call 0207 486 1995 or visit here.