I’m trying to write a food post while having food poisoning which isn’t ideal but we don’t live in a Platonic world and this will only serve to build character.
Lupita features on a number of ‘best of’ lists of Mexican restaurants. In fact, it even says so itself. As an impressionable youth, I decided to drag some people along to judge. Judgement: the most enjoyable of all the “ment”s (that’s right, even moreso than amusement).
It was a Tuesday. Hans texted me to enquire whether I had booked. I had not. This was 10 minutes before we were due to meet. As I ran from the gym I wondered if we would be able to eat or whether we would have to go elsewhere.
I got there. Hans had already been waiting for a couple of minutes and said that they had been turning people away. We went in and put our names down and stood outside again to wait for Maude. I forget that you can book restaurants. It hardly seems like a cool or done thing any more. We’re all busy people who much prefer queuing than taking two minutes out of our day to call a restaurant or – easier still – use Opentable to book. Nope, we would rather stand in the damn rain to wait. Urbanites.
Maude was still not there so Hans and I decided to go for a walk. Lupita said they would call us (via the medium of telephone) when the table was ready.
We bumped into Maude on the street.
“Maude? Maude Taylor? Is that you? Why, I haven’t seen you in 28 years, I thought you were dead!”
On and on I went with this while Maude and Hans vaguely exchanged pleasantries.
“Am I in the right place? I thought it was near Charing Cross?”
We explained the table situation.
We wandered into Waterstones and admired the orange Lindors. We also read the new “adult” Ladybird books which maybe I read wrong but seemed frankly bizarre in the most awful kind of way.
We went to a bar. Maude got the drinks and didn’t ask for money. Good old scatty Maude.
Time ticked along and still no call, so we decided to show our muscle and proceed to the restaurant.
They said that the person whose table was ready wasn’t picking up so the table was ours. Success!
We were seated and almost immediately asked what drinks we wanted. Hans ordered a margarita, Maude a wine.
More time passed.
Maude told us about her holiday, which we had asked her to hold off telling us about until dinner. We kept interrupting her. It wasn’t a very interesting holiday.
The waiter came. We ordered. He looked at his watch for some reason, then left.
For starters, we ordered the guacamole artisanal (all artisanal errythang) to share. The ingredients were brought to our table and made before our very eyes! Initially Hans and Maude thought that we might have to make it (nigh on £11 to make our own guacamole?! Holy mole..)
The margarita hadn’t arrived. Our other waiter then came back and said that “oh yeah, the margarita’s coming” then made a margarita at the side, by the coffee machine.
Then the guac waiter donned his gloves and made the ‘mole.
The show was something, although you feel compelled to suspending conversation to watch a man mash an avocado while feigning being impressed. We all then greedily dug in. Honestly, it was quite bland. Fresh, sure, but bland. There was some pico and salsa on the table which we used a lot of to give it some more flavour.
On the plus side, the nachos were very good.
Mains came very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that we were still in the thralls of our guac greed.
Hans went for the enchiladas, which also comes with a side (he went for the frijoles), Maude went for a pork pibil burrito, and I went for the fish tacos with a side of frijoles.
Hans said the enchiladas were quite good, and that Lupita was better than Mestizo (another raved about Mexican) but not as good as Wahaca.
Poor Maude. Never order a burrito as a main in a Mexican. It’s like ordering a sandwich as a main.
The guacamole, frijoles and fish tacos were all billed as Lupita’s specialties (again, I am very impressionable). The frijoles made for a good soup. As a side I’m possibly less convinced, but there was a richness there that my meal would otherwise have been lacking.
I was in the throes of having fish taco cravings and so, you know, ordered them. Not many places in London seem to do fish tacos. As one person described them, they are pretty much just Mexican fish finger sandwiches – ever since reading this, I have largely gone off fish tacos. Unless I’m misremembering, I think the fish tacos in El Capo, Manchester (6.5/10) have unbreaded fish, and it is this that I have been craving. Alas, in both Cantina Laredo (4/10) and here they have been breaded.
Hans and I usually share our meals but as he doesn’t like fish I didn’t get to try the enchiladas. I can tell you about the fish tacos though. They were quite tasty, with some nice, light spicing, but the texture was altogether too hard and they were quite difficult to eat.
Apparently their tacos are what they are famous for. People are famous for very little nowadays.
For reasons unknown, we decided to share a dessert. Hans asked if they had any cake. The waiter told him to look at the menu. I initially thought that Hans was being dumb, but apparently on the website it does say that they have cake and that you should ask about it.
We got the flan, because flan is a fun word. And dulce de leche is tasty.
Dulce de leche is tasty. The flan itself was decidedly bland. We shared it between the three of us, like classy ladies, and had to ask for a third spoon which was slow to come. I drew the short spoon and so had to wolf down what was left while I had the chance. I licked the plate. The waiter commented on this.
Maybe mother was right to buy me that book on modern manners.
By this point we were all very tired. We had probably been too tired for the best part of the preceding hour. The bill took an age to come, and then took another age for us to pay.
As a final annoyance to the staff, I asked what the impressive nacho dish I had seen several people had was.
We shouldn’t have paid the service charge and that is the most annoyed I have ever been in paying service as, frankly, the service was abysmal. Were we less tired we wouldn’t have paid service, but tiredness kills.
The rest of the week was miserable. Sleep > eat.
5/10 – the food was fine, the staff were butts.
Lupita, 13 Villiers Street, London WC2N 6ND. Another branch also in Spitalfields.