From the accidentally alliterative title of this post, you could be forgiven for thinking we'd been living it up at the talpidae version of Glastonbury, but no such luck. The mole festival in question instead refers to a special menu at Mexican restaurant Mestizo where they are celebrating the country's national dish, mole (pronounced mo-lay). There are no mole hills in sight.
Mole literally means chopped, and references the twenty to fifty finely chopped ingredients that will combine to form the paste which is the base of the dish. Dried and fresh chillies, nuts, seeds and chocolate are well known ingredients along with herbs and spices, but as Mestizo aims to demonstrate, there are countless diverse variations to be had. In Mexico, it is said that each family will have their own recipe.
Mestzio’s special mole menu coincides with the Dia de los Muertos (Day of the Dead) celebrations and runs until 2nd November. It features a whopping twelve moles along with dishes from the restaurant’s normal menu.
The traditional mole poblano is dominated by flavours of smoked chilli and chocolate. At Mestizo it is served with turkey in the way it is traditionally eaten in Mexico during special occasions. Whilst this intense variation is popular for a reason, it’s worth trying some of the less common options whilst you’re able. The Mole Rojo is surprisingly subtle, with flavours of cinnamon and clove mingling with just a slight hit of red chilli. Served over a haddock fillet wrapped in a banana leaf, this is proper Mexican food that leaves TexMex well behind in the flavour stakes. Mole de Tamarindo is a daring menu choice, with a taste explosion seeing tamarind’s sweet and sour flavour bolstered with garlic, cumin, ginger, almonds, and sweet peppers. It works well with the juicy king prawns and rice that it’s served with, though some soft corn tortillas to help mop up every last bit of juice would be recommended. Mole de Olla is another interesting variation, served as a stew with chunks of beef, carrot and green beans - a hearty option that sits firmly in the “winter warmer” category.
If you plan on heading down to Mestizo during festival time it might be advisable to book, as the Mexicans of London have taken quite a shine to it. It’s also worth checking out their Sunday all you can eat brunch which features tacos, quesadillas, Mexican style eggs, plus desserts and all you can drink Aguas frescas with one alcoholic drink all for £19.99. We’d go as far as to call that hangover-beating.