Sunday, April 15, 2012

Review: Los Comales (London)

I attended a conference on social media this past week, and a recurring topic of discussion was how modern media enabled consumers' feedback so that they became prosumers; increasingly able to discuss a product with fans, followers, and flamers, and impact others' outlook as a result.

Along these lines, it's inspiring to see that a young man in London who just enjoys Los Comales' food volunteers to maintain their social media presence. Particularly with National Volunteer Week around the corner, it struck me as a great way to share his time and connect with others. It also says a lot about how some food can inspire loyalty!

Loyalty that, in this case, is deserving. From catching up with friends over Salvadorean pupusas, fish tacos, and yuca frita to listening as owner/chef Ana muddled mint for our mojitos in her mortar and pestle behind the bar to enjoying the wandering guitarist who played throughout our meal, it was a great night out.

The four of us started out with yuca frita: fried cassava/yuca, which is deliciously starchy and served with chicharron, salsa, and a vinegar-y Latin coleslaw of shredded cabbage and carrots. While I grew up eating mayo-centric coleslaw, this alternative is quickly growing on me! M also ordered a pupusa with zucchini, green peppers, and cheese - I wish I'd tried it, but M was starving and only smiled half-guiltily after its prompt disappearance. In his defence, he said that it was delicious.

Past Urbanspoon reviewers had noted that, because the restaurant is small, makes a lot of its own tortillas and base sauces, and is very much a labour of love, the food can take some time to get to you. We'd braced for it, and while there was a wait, the four of us didn't feel it was unreasonable, and all of our food arrived together and hot. We'd decided on two orders of fish tacos and one of each of the combo platters. My combo platter featured a pupusa (I chose the pork & cheese variety), an empanada Colombiana, and a chimichanga, with a mix of rice and beans and a little bit of green salad to fill the plate. The empanada's corn patty was hearty without being heavy, holding the spiced ground beef and veggies together quite well, and the chimichanga was delicious from start to finish.

When making Latin-inspired food at home, M and I usually fall into making tacos or pseudo-quesadillas; visiting Los Comales has reminded us that there's a much more diverse range of food to sink our teeth into (though he and S enjoyed their soft tacos with fish a lot! S also commented that though they're a simple dish, the refried beans served with the tacos were very tasty, too.)

We left the restaurant happily full, some of us with leftovers in tow that we figured would be perfect late-night nosh after the Said the Whale concert that had turned our feet towards London in the first place. (We also left feeling sad that we'd discovered a great place that was too far away to return to regularly - fortunately, it sounds like London has a solid music/concert scene...)

Los Comales Latin Food on Urbanspoon

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