olive's Boozy Lunch of the Week: Casa Negra

We have joined forces with the lovely people at olive Magazine to bring you a spankin’ new series about the best places to enjoy a boozy lunch in the capital.  The ultimate food porn.  olive is to food what BarChick it to booze so if you’re as in to your sushi as you are your Sweet Manhattans you should probably check out their Facebook page.

CASA NEGRA

"Welcome to our English town house - it’s been taken over by Mexicans" is the greeting at this new Hoxton sister to Soho’s Bodega Negra.  The restaurant bit is reached through the heaving bar, both decked out with garden furniture and your granny’s carpet, which does little to absorb the hum of happily well-refreshed people.  There is a quieter spot near the entrance to the last room where there’s an open kitchen and a long communal table.

Just one menu for both cocktails and food, and it gets instant plus points for its snaps of famous Mexicans with out-there hair and dogs in wigs. Thumbs up, too, for the food: Mexican street style dishes designed to share, with some clever touches. Tostada de carne cocida en limon, for example, is a deliciously chilli-spiked beef tartare on a crisp tortilla. Guisado de Calabaza is a taco filled with courgette flower, clotted cream and oregano.  Mains are familiar, hearty and comforting: spicy fried chicken with chilito (cabbage and carrot claw) and a fried poblano chilli bursting with chihuahua cheese and arbol chilli salsa.  They’re good for soaking up whichever of the seven signature cocktails you’ve investigated. Soul Happiness (El Jimador reposado, lemon and homemade watermelon syrup, £8) is lethal.  There are also two Mexican wines on the list.

To sum up, cocktails are strong, food is generous, service is genuinely friendly. We left happy. Vote Pedro.

WHO NOT TO TAKE - your parents - this place is LOUD.

WHAT NOT TO MISS - carnitas de lechon – suckling pig, with salsa and garnishes, served for two to share (£36)

DON'T EXPECT TO - instagram your food. The crazy chandelier lighting is flattering to you,  not your food