New Opening: Cartel
New taqueria and tequila destination Cartel opens in London’s Battersea Park
Tacos and tequila have been earning fans for a while now but 2017 has been widely tipped to be the year that both get the attention and respect they deserve. And with the opening of Cartel in London’s Battersea Park, discerning Londoners have a new destination to go to for their Mexican fix. The late-night tequila bar & taqueria has over 70 different tequilas, boasts an extensive tequila-based cocktail menu and specialises in authentic, hand-pressed tacos. It’s also set to be a buzzing live music and DJ venue, with bands playing in the evening from Thursday to Saturday guaranteed to keep guests dancing until dawn.
The venue was inspired by the traditional taqueria: a street food stall offering inexpensive tacos and other Mexican dishes, served without pomp and ceremony but packed with flavour. The decor has been kept simple, rustic and relaxed with exposed brickwork, murals and wood furnishings. Cartel’s head chef Gareth Rowntree has designed an exciting menu that respects the traditional street food methods but also reflects London’s cosmopolitan, global palate.
Cartel’s signature dish is of course, tacos. Hand-pressed the traditional Mexican way and freshly made each day using gluten-free Masa Harina corn flour, this taqueria takes its tacos seriously. Inventive fillings have a global feel, ranging from pulled chicken cooked in Mezcal and lemon to slow-cooked beef brisket with chorizo, radish and coriander. Vegetarians and vegans are well looked after too, with options like a tofu, black bean and roasted tomato in chipotle sauce taco. The menu also features a range of quesadillas with fillings like chorizo and potato or pulled pork and red onion, plus a must-try homemade guacamole, handmade tortilla chips and three types of house salsa.
Former El Camion bartender Josh Rooms is heading up the bar team and has designed a cocktail list that celebrates tequila and Mezcal, with creative twists on old favorites and new creations like the Orendain using Arette Blanco, Creme de Cacao, Dry Vermouth and bitters or a Palenque a Mezcal based drink with a guava balsamic reduction. And as well as a range of wines and beers, Cartel stocks an ever-expanding collection of tequila. One of the biggest stars of the show, which is kept chilled in the fridge, is Arette: a tequila made in one of Mexico’s oldest distilleries using 100% agave cultivated in fields on the outskirts of the town of Tequila. And in a bid to introduce Londoners to the joys of a proper mezcal, Cartel will play host to a secretMezcaleria in late June that will showcase over 100 different mezcals.
Cartel is open from 5-12pm on Mondays to Thursdays and 5pm-2am Friday and Saturdays, which means it’s set to be a popular spot for both laid-back dinners and nights out as the atmosphere becomes livelier in the evenings. The venue can seat 120 diners but hold up to 250 people when the party really gets started, making it an exciting new addition to the capital’s Mexican food and drink scene.
517-519 Battersea Park Road, London, SW11 3BN