I wasn’t sure what to expect when visiting my first pop-up restaurant. Pop-ups have risen in popularity in London over the last few years and attract all kinds of people to their unmarked doors. Bearded men perching on the edge of overturned boxes dissecting double decker burgers sprung to my mind; but Breddos Tacos harboured none of the above, minus the bearded men.
The pop-up is currently being staged underneath the arches at Trip Space Kitchen in Haggerston. It’s difficult to find and if, like me, your Google map decides to break when you hop off at Haggerston Overground, then you may well find yourself wandering down piss-stained alleyways searching for some sign of life, or perhaps a discarded taco or two.
Breddos Tacos is nestled under an archway in a charming wide open space five minutes’ walk from the station. The decor is low-key and intimate; the atmosphere heady and lively. It’s not the kind of place you go for a quiet, intimate dinner, more a food celebration with your friends that’s supposed to be enjoyed and shared with a healthy sampling of Breddos’ own alternative cocktail menu.
The front-of-house manager, JP, greets his customers as though they were old friends coming over for dinner. He took time to chat to us as we perused the cocktail menu before deciding on a Mexican take on the negroni, which replaces the gin with tequila. While refreshing and pallet cleansing, I wouldn’t recommend drinking more than one unless you want to be carted home on the back of a taco wagon.
The moist threads of pork were sweet and juicy and complimented perfectly by banana ketchup, a novel but ideal accompaniment
The varied small-plate menu features old ‘shack favourites’ from their street food kitchen. After much deliberation, my guest and I decided to go the whole hog, and in that vein, ordered the cochinita pork to start.
Each dish comes out separately, which can sometimes be irritating when you find yourself with nothing but a plate of salad for ten minutes. But otherwise it is a good premiss: each dish is so flavoursome and spicy that you need a short break to chug on the water, which that has slithers of cucumber throughout the bottle to cool your palate – particularly effective with some of the more fiery dishes on the menu.
The ten hour slow-roasted beef rib tacos were exquisite. Tender strands of beef were dense and smoky, wrapped in a wheat flour taco which worked perfectly with the earthiness of the dried porcini and spicy jalapeño.
Next came the cochinita pork pibil tostadas packed so full I thought I might burst before the next courses arrived. The moist threads of pork were sweet and juicy and complimented perfectly by banana ketchup, a novel but ideal accompaniment. Shards of crackling brought textural variety to a dish that could easily have become stodgy.
We staggered out into the alleyway giggling and fanning our sizzling throats as we made our way to the train
As mentioned above, the fact that the dishes arrive when they are ready can sometimes slow down the enjoyment of the meal. We were left staring at a bowl of salad for quite a while whilst waiting for the squid and patatas bravas to make an appearance. When the dishes did arrive however, they were well worth the wait.
The succulent baby squid was served on a bed of shredded lettuce, offset pleasingly with peanuts and fresh chilli whilst the triple cooked patatas bravas was a welcome dish to cool down the pallet slightly after the zesty main courses.
To finish, we ordered a cooling, feather-light and creamy key lime pie with a delicate buttery biscuit base. Before we took our leave, the friendly maître d’, JP, suggested we opt a few shots of tequila followed by chilli water for one last Mexican kick before staggering out into the alleyway giggling and fanning our sizzling throats as we made our way to the train.
In short, for a first visit to a pop up I think this was the ideal introduction. It was informal and relaxed as you would expect yet the food was the equal of any restaurant in taste, imagination, presentation and variety. Make sure you pay it a visit before it closes its doors in November