There was a time (read: all of 2007) when I couldn’t get enough of Green & Red Bar and Cantina. I must have eaten there five or six times last year. Despite its not-super-accessible-by-public-transport location, Green & Red served, in my (admittedly East-coast) opinion, the best tequila-based drinks, the best quality mole-slathered mains, and the most delicious carne asada and carnitas tacos in London. I loved the young, energetic vibe in the dining room, and the relaxed lounge downstairs was just icing on the cake.
Maybe I OD’d, but I hadn’t been back to Green & Red since 2007, so last weekend, Jon and I moseyed on down with our friends Kara and Jeff to get a taco-and-tequila fix. The service was still friendly (though harried and distracted), and the food was still good, but the bloom’s off the rose. Is it me, or is it the resto? It’s probably me, just feeling cranky about the multiple (large and loud) groups of birthday celebrators who’d taken over the dining room the night we were there. And I’d forgotten that each pitcher of margarita – full of ice cubes, too – ran north of £25 (£27.50 to be exact).
Luckily, the tacos we ordered were still as delish as I remembered. At Green & Red, you order the taco filling you want (£12.50-£14.50 depending on the meat); you’re served taco garnishes (cabbage slaw, several salsas) and a stack of hot, soft, aromatic corn tortillas; and then it’s all Do It Yourself from there. So you can eat tacos with the filling-to-tortilla proportion you like. Extras like guac (£3.50) and queso fresco (£1.50) aren’t bad additions, but the Green & Red versions are kind of bland, so I add them more for texture than for flavor.
Jon and I always order a carne asada, which is smoky and rare like the yummy steak it is. I like that Green & Red cooks the steak and then slices up the meat (i.e., you’re not eating meat scraps or pre-chopped meat that gets dried out/overcooked). Simple and delish.
Carnitas is our other favorite, mostly because you get such a generous portion of pork belly (with crackling). Green & Red’s version can be a bit dry despite that thick layer of pork fat, but I throw on the cabbage slaw, queso and salsas and I’m all good.
You get a lot of meat, regardless of which taco filling you order, so Jon and I never make it to dessert, which is good, because Green & Red isn’t cheap. All the above-described food ran the two of us about £70, which strikes me as a lot for a pitcher of margaritas and tacos, however tasty. But it’s London, so I’m willing to pay for quality Mexican food. Query whether I’m willing to deal with all the large birthday groups, though.