The atmosphere of creativity at Coal Drops Yard makes it the perfect fit for the high-energy buzz of the Hart brothers, who have opened three sites here, including wine bar The Drop and a branch of Barrafina.
Much larger than previous incarnations in London Bridge, this Pastor is split between a partially covered outdoor dining area (complete with a central grill) and a tightly packed indoors which boasts a bar and an imposing tree hung with lights. It’s also the first to serve breakfast, including the likes of huevos rancheros.
On our evening visit, we kicked off proceedings with a novel avocado and passionfruit Margarita, which was silky smooth and pepped up with a chilli rim. Food begins with tostadas: ‘apache’ is a Mexican take on steak tartare using flank, while a ‘cochinita’ sees shreds of juicy slow-roasted pork rubbed with an addictive mix of orange, garlic and red onion.
Tacos (two per portion) include the signature Al Pastor, which is a triumphant pairing of pork shoulder, marinated for 24 hours with sticky caramelised pineapple and finished off with a smear of guacamole. Surprisingly, star billing goes to the veggie option: oily, plump mushrooms paired with caramelised onion and wrapped in a crisp sheet of fried queso Oaxaca cheese. From the sides, a bowl of refried beans resembles a chocolate mousse, with a velvety texture to match, while crunchy toasted corn is topped with a thick dollop of cotija cheese.
Dessert servings are miniscule, but if you’ve got a sweet tooth, go for the chocolate pot, which is served in a glass teacup and avoids being forgettable via a spiking of cinnamon. Lots of fun and fairly priced, this Pastor is a welcome addition to the brothers’ ever-expanding brand.
Featured image credit: Sam Smith