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This cheap and cheerful taquería has a strong pedigree: it’s the latest venture from the brains behind Barrafina and Quo Vadis, the Hart brothers. Sam Hart lived in Mexico for five years and his passion shows in this buzzing Borough Market railway arch, from tacos made from scratch on the premises, to the specificity of the cuisine: the restaurant is named after the kebab-style grill employed for its Al Pastór pork tacos, borne out of Lebanese immigration to Mexico. Using marinated pork shoulder paired with caramelised pineapple and guacamole, these tacos are fine, but we think star billing should’ve gone to the short rib. Served DIY-style with enough tacos and fillings for two, the rib meat flops juicily off the bone, rubbed and sprinkled with a highly addictive, sweet-and-salty seasoning combining coriander and celery seeds, muscovado sugar and chipotle. With starters including ceviches and tuna tartare, a list of quesadillas and a must-order, cheese-and-chorizo-slathered corn on the cob on the side, Mexican fans will be fully satisfied. Worthwhile desserts include a coconut praline pie coated in chilli chocolate, while the drinks list is a Tequila-jammed as you might hope. Don’t expect a glistening Barrafina-does-Mexican, but do expect a lively, polished and fun meal supported by well-drilled staff and fair prices.
Restaurant decor has fallen into a bit of a rut in recent years. From exposed brick walls and concrete floors to reclaimed furniture and brass fittings, it’s rare to be truly surprised by the interior of any London restaurant these days. While El Pastor, on the edge of Borough Market, doesn’t quite escape some of these interior design cliches, it’s still much more distinctive than most. Situated inside an old railway arch, El Pastor’s fusing of shipping container-style corrugated metal with curved brickwork is surprisingly elegant. Festoon string party lighting isn’t terribly original either, but it all feels quite...
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