La Vineria in La Condesa
This is the first of hopefully many food reviews in this wonderful country. Mexican food is not just an absolute pleasure to eat but it is a way of life here. I'm sure you've all tried Mexican food back home, wherever home may be, but it has nothing on the real thing. As anyone who knows me in person knows I bang on about it for hours. I've spent 8 months here and I still haven't tried everything. Every time I step into a taxi they always recommend me something I HAVE to try. I admit it's hard to get around to everything without piling on the pounds but I promise to try my best. I'm delighted to bring you this review and if you find yourself in Mexico city, this has to be a pit stop to 'llenar el tanque'.
The perfect word to describe La Vineria is quaint. It's small but not too small. Enough to feel cosy inside without feeling cramped. The aesthetic of the bar and interior is slightly rustic but with a modernity that seems unintended. To start off we rattled down a few tacos de jamaica (hibiscus for you and I) with guacamole (I don't need to translate that do I?) and chicharrón (pork scratchings, more glamourous here I promise!). It sounds like an odd combination but the mix of flavour inside the taco, as well as the harina (flour) tortilla and the colour on the plate really does transfer to the palette and it is incredible! Of course any Mexican dish is not complete without a salsa to heap on top of it, I am not one for spice but I've found that here spice is a completely different entity. The way I describe it is, spice in countries that aren't used to spice is like taking a sip of tea when it's boiling and you burn your tongue, hence ruining anything you want to eat or drink for the rest of the day, it is just an assault on your mouth from which there is no escape. Here spice has an all-round flavour, it is a much fuller experience taking over your mouth, while complimenting the flavours of the dish. On top of these amazing tacos, we were treated to artisan bread topped with serrano ham and manchego cheese, tapas-esque which with a glass of red wine went down an absolute treat.
For a main, I opted for the house specialty of pistachio pasta and my counterpart Edgar for the fish. Now, the flavour of the pasta was admittedly amazing. Loads of different things for me to get my chops around. It was definitely something I had never tried before and I would happily eat this again and again although the amount of oil left at the end made me worry about the calories! The fish was also perfectly cooked, very smooth on the tongue and made for a wonderful main to accompany the fresh and lively white wine.
Dessert was admittedly a pain, not because I didn't want it. After so much food it was hard to know what to ask for! I opted for Pastel de Camote (Sweet potato cake) and Edgar for compote de guayaba (Guava compote). Both were absolutely fantastic and I am so glad I went for the Pastel de Camote because back home we are not used to eating it as a sweet. It's interesting that here in Mexico one of the most famous desserts is Pan de Elote (Sweetcorn cake), it's something we wouldn't imagine doing but it is really really worth trying because it is an incredible mix of flavours.
All in all a really good experience and a place I will definitely be returning. The service was swift and the waiter who served us put up with me asking about 30 times what I just ate was. Forgive me, I am trying to work in a second language! If you ever find yourself or in fact have the pleasure of living in la condesa then get yourself down there and try it all out. For the less adventurous of you they genuinely have bangers and mash. I mean, fun for all the family!
For those of you wanting the address and opening hours:
Monday - Saturday : 13.00 - 01.00
The kitchen closes at 23:00
Sunday : 12.00 - 18.00
Fernando Montes de Oca No. 52,
Colonia Condesa, 06140 Ciudad de México, México.
T / 5211 9020