Going gaga for Tata…

Those looking to eat Tata Eatery’s katsu sando at Tayer & Elementary should know that two things are required; a love of food that melts softly in a puddling pool of its own delicious fat and the ability to unhinge your jaw like something simultaneously alarming yet endearing from ‘Planet Earth’.

Pitched somewhere between anchovy soldiers & burrata flatbreads on a beautifully brief menu in a gloriously industrial space, this crispy buttery sandwich is prime edible real estate. Held in place between two slices of toasted brioche, layers of sweet raspberry sauce, crunchy cabbage & an umami power bomb red pepper paste, the panko pork is rich and quivering, falling apart in your mouth with the barest of efforts.

Perfect rhubarb highballs look like something lifted straight from Barbie’s hen-do cocktail menu; slightly sharp, vaguely sweet and poured around giant ice blocks, I drank them without hesitation or delay, congratulating myself on a job well done as they disappeared without trace or struggle. Even the water looks exquisite here, held captive in beautifully fashioned tree bark glasses.

Softly curled up gently in their bowl like an otherworldly translucent underwater plant, endive leaves bore no trace of their characteristic bitterness and were dotted with candied walnuts, a deeply savoury smoked yoghurt sauce spooned on the side that I could have spooned over everything.

Flatbreads were crispy, pocketed with golden bubbles and slathered with molten-middled burrata & soft salty seaweed…

…whilst briny baby Cantabrian anchovies lay draped across fat, fluffy toasted soldiers like fanciful pin-ups from the forties…

…and ox cheek quesadillas arrived gossamer thin and incredibly crispy, almost shattering in your mouth one great greedy bite at a time. Loaded with thick tangy yoghurt and a waterfall of herbs, you might go for the sando but don’t leave without eating the quesadilla.

Too full of good stuff for dessert – the notion of pacing oneself will be a lifelong struggle for me – the suggestion of a coffee slushie from our gorgeously bouncy waiter was a perfect one. Frozen coffee blended with Havana rum, coffee liqueur, both condensed & coconut milks and little bit of magic create the ultimate grown-up hard shake. Drank here in teeny tiny glasses, this would be a totally credible day-time way of cooling down in the summer even if you might find your afternoons fading into a delightfully mellow haze after one or two or six…

There’s a lot to like about eating here – the brevity of the menu, the extraordinarily friendly service, the global influences all muddling together into small plates full of elegance and flavour – but what’s really special is the love of food & the confidence in what this team is doing that radiates out of each dish. Come the summer, those drinks and that menu are going to be one of the best things about living within walking distance of this new Old St beauty.

Another day, another taco; Del74 hits Clapton with an almighty dose of Mexican goodness…

Right now, there are more taco joints in London than well-dressed socialite wannabes at Pippa Middleton’s wedding and Del74 in Clapton is one of the newest spots at which to get your fill of mezcal, margaritas, Modelos and TBH, pretty great tacos.

Originally a pop up and now a bricks-and-mortar dive in the heart of Hackney, this place is loud, friendly, fast paced and low key and comes from Enrique Vivas (Boho Mexica) and Jorge Felizardo (Taberna Mercado). The menu’s small – bonus points as always for anywhere that doesn’t make me spend longer reading the menu than eating the food – and, in a nice quirk that seemingly pays homage to classic high street champion Argos, comes as a piece of paper for you tick what you want. FYI, in case you’re wondering, that will be pretty much everything.

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Six tacos and 3 quesadillas cover everything from barbecoa to steak to roasted vegetables and ooze off the plate & down your arms in a spectacular show of drippy, delicious flavour.

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Guacamole is as creamy, salty and chunky as nature – or those super clever Aztecs at least – intended it to be and, washed down with frosty beers or sweet and sour watermelon margaritas, it’s the only way to start.

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Make sure you order the tilapia – savoury chunks of fish and a mountain of crunchy, tangy slaw – and the cochinita pibil – absurdly juicy pork topped with avocado and pickled pink onions. There were no napkins left on our table by the time we were done which is frankly as it should be.

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You might not imagine you’ll end up spending the whole night here and it would, in fact, be an excellent place in which to kick off your night…however, 2 rounds of drinks and 3 rounds of tacos down, I’d go so far as to say you probably will end up spending all night here – just make sure to ask for extra napkins.