When Sam Hart and Crispin Somerville lived in Mexico City they ran cult nightclub El Colmillo, they also spent their days looking for the best al pastor taco around. For those who aren’t taco buffs then the al pastor taco roughly translates to ‘shepherd style’ and has its origins in Arab shawarma, in Mexico City they adapt it to use pork instead of lamb, marinating it in spices and chillies and replacing the flatbread with corn tortillas.
Well now they think they have found it and are bringing their own Mexican taqueria to Borough Market as they open El Pastór next Monday.
Giving it the attention it deserves, the whole of the mezzanine floor will be a tortilla factory, so that tortillas made from scratch using heritage Criollo corn can be made every day and filled with pastor meat which is cooked on the trompo (upright grill) which will stand in the open kitchen. As well as Al Pastor tacos others will include short rib, prawn and squash which is made from queso fresco, pumpkin seeds and mezcal soaked raisins. There is also the Carnitas made from confit pork shoulder, chicharron and EP salsa.
It’s not just tacos though, entradas will include Chicharrón de queso aka rolled cheese crisp; Sopa de Tortilla – Spiced Tomato Soup with totopos, avocado, queso, morita and fresh sour cream and Totopos or crackling with guacamole. Whilst for pudding you’ll find a chocolate and hazelnut ice cream taco, Colima lime sorbet and sweetcorn ice-cream. Yes, sweetcorn…
Of course, Mezcal will feature heavily on the drinks list with Mezcal Amores as an opening house pour and a further 15 on the list to try – get it by the glass or the carafe. Other drinks will include tequila, Mexican beers, Margaritas, Palomas and Azteca Especiales – a mix of tequila, coffee and chocolate. Wines are chosen by Sam Hart and soft drinks will include seasonal aguas frescas such as guava, pineapple and hibiscus.
Inspired by a trip to Mexico City, El Pastór is designed by Michaelis Boyd and Irving and Co. The first room, which you enter, via a painted shutter, will feature bright table tops, banquettes and woven fabrics whilst the second room has a view of the emerald kitchen bar and the tortilla factory above. We’ve also been told that the two bespoke El Pastór manhole covers on the concrete floor, may or may not lead to a reservoir of crystalline contraband mezcal. With a nod to Mexico City’s contemporary architecture, the restaurant will feature metalwork on the stairways, balustrades, windows and shelves as well as bold artwork and modern colours.
El Pastór: Opens 12th December 2016, 7a Stoney Street,Borough Market SE1 9AA, www.tacoselpastor.co.uk