Welcome to the dark side | Casa Negra, 54-56 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3QR
La Bodega Negra has a little sister all the way over in Shoreditch – Casa Negra. We haven’t been to La Bodega but have often admired it as we walked past, each time I’d remind Ade that I want to visit. It was always heaving and we were always on our way somewhere else. Casa Negra seems a little more chilled, bustling but not ridiculously busy. The bar area doubles up as a beach shack delivering an instant hit of summer.
There’s a short menu enabling a taste of what they have to offer in the main restaurant without the commitment of a full meal. Round the corner by the kitchen is a huge communal table – the Kitchen Table which doubles up as a private dining area for 18 people. You can also perch at the counter and watch the chefs at work. Downstairs is the Playroom with a bar, booths and pinata hanging from every orifice, it comes alive at the weekends or can also be hired as a party venue.
We loved the Frozen margarita flight £18 – four little glasses of different flavours to sample – Peach and passion fruit, raspberry and mint, strawberry and black pepper and spiced mango. The idea being you then buy a full-sized version of your favourite. We fell for the spiced mango, just the correct amount of kick. Then the tacos came, oh my god. We love tacos but have never been blown away by them before, until now that is. Eating anything where the juices drip down your hands, leaving your fingers smelling for hours afterwards always does it for me. Bistec £5.5 (for two) was robust and meaty with braised feather steak, onion and coriander.
We thought we’d gone off soft shell crab until we tried the Cangrejos £7 (for two) – well seasoned crispy fish balanced perfectly with lettuce, a tangy guacamole and chipotle. I saved the Cochinita Pibil £5 (for two) til last as I had a feeling it might be my favorite. It was. Achiote and orange tender braised pork with pickled red onion fired up my mouth and left me wanting more. We both agreed they were the best tacos we’ve had in a long time.
Mexican food is something we don’t eat enough of, one of our favourite places for good ‘old-fashioned’ fajitas used to be the grimey and cheap Cactus Pit in Blackheath. It sadly closed down and is now a Cau steak restaurant (next to another steak restaurant). If anyone knows of a replacement option for good fajitas, do let us know! Ade finished off with a potent Tequila Espresso £8 whilst I craved more tacos. Oh those tacos…
54-56 Great Eastern Street, London, EC2A 3QR
Telephone: 0207 033 7360
Opening hours: Monday: Closed
Tuesday – Wednesday: 12pm – 1am
Thursday – Friday: 12pm – 2am
Saturday: 6Pm – 2am
Food served: Tue to Wed: 12pm-11pm
Thurs – Fri: 12pm – 12am
Nearest station: Old Street (5 mins walk)
We ate at Casa Negra as their guests, this does not affect our review in any way. We always write with complete honesty.