Review: Breddos Tacos
It’s becoming a well-worn track towards opening a restaurant, this street food malarkey. Breddos have been banging out tacos for ages, you see, from their stall in Dalston Yard’s Street Feast (three years to be precise), and now they’ve gone permanent in Clerkenwell. Going in via the street food stall route is brilliant in some ways because there’s a chance to get the food right, to make sure you can hack the hours, the people, the constantly working while others have fun. What it doesn’t prepare you for, we're guessing, is the actual running of a restaurant, the order of service, offering genuine hospitality, and all the unique challenges that serving food inside an actual building may bring.
Breddos have done an excellent job of it, although we were shocked to see some snarky reviews of service from the opening night when people were queuing out of the door and they were run ragged. It’s staggering, really, just how little people are prepared to understand or forgive when it comes to their stomachs. If only they knew.
Things are as smooth as clockwork a week later, you’ll be glad to hear, as Breddos sling taco after taco into a jolly little dining room which is all nick-able stoneware and succulents. They’re making their own tortillas which is the done thing nowadays, nixtamilising (short story: it improves texture and flavour of the corn) and pressing tortillas on site, and even if the tacos aren’t as strong in flavour as those at Tacos el Pastor, they do a damn good job of bending around the fillings, which is basically the point.
About the fillings: our favourite was easily the cochinita pibil, a fantastic preparation of pig which involves slowly cooking the meat with finger-staining annatto, orange juice and spices. Here, they’ve made it with pig’s head, which may or may not be what you get because they’re doing a lot of butchery, and so the cuts change. If it’s the head, you must order it, because the fatty, gelatinous nature of the meat just works so well.
Baja fish was another strong favourite, transporting us right back to Baja California, with its skinny, rustling palms and pastel blue skies. Batter is light, shattering like a wafer to reveal soft white fish, slicked with chilli mayo. There are salsas, best of which is salsa roja, humming with the complexity of dried chillies, their flavour like a distillation of blistering Mexican sunshine.
Really, though, all the tacos are good, including a fried chicken number. You’ll notice that these are tacos falling somewhere into a Brit-Mex category — true to the original cuisine in many ways, certainly, but adapted to suit available ingredients and tastes. Breddos describe themselves in this way, as pedlars of ‘non-traditional’ tacos, so it won’t offend them that we point it out, and, anyway, why should it?
What’s wonderful about London’s food scene is that there’s room for many styles, particularly within a cuisine that for us, right now, is just getting started. The also-newly-opened Tacos El Pastor is for those who like things more traditional, while Breddos is for those who like to swim against the tide. They’re both an indecent amount of fun.
Breddos Tacos, 82 Goswell Road, EC1V 7DB. Londonist was invited to a preview of Breddos Tacos.
Last Updated 22 December 2016