top of the menu background

Monthly Archives: February 2015

A glass with lunch at El Camion? Wine not…

Here at El Camion, we are famous for our cocktails, but did you know that we also do wine?? Sometimes (most of the time), a lunch out calls for wine, but unfortunately a bottle of the red or white stuff isn’t always appropriate to order, especially if you’ve got to head back to the office or if you’re being trusted to pick out a birthday present for your partner’s grandmother, or the like. Luckily for you, we serve a great selection of wines by the glass, so you can enjoy a lunchtime tipple, without swinging from the office lights by 3pm.

Santa Puerto

 

White wines

Our white wines pair exceptionally well with Mexican food, as they complement the light spices and flavours of the cuisine, without being too overpowering.

Our house white wine is Viura Pleno, Bodega Brana Vieja, from the Navarra region in Spain. This area has been making wine since the ancient Roman times, so they’ve pretty much got it down to a fine art. This wine is made from 100% viura grapes, which are known for their versatility and are the primary ingredient in white Riojas.

Tastes like: Bright, straw-yellow in colour, it tastes clean and crisp – a bit like green apples or citrus fruits, with floral notes.

Goes well with: As it’s so easy-drinking, this wine goes well with most dishes on the menu, especially chicken, fish or salads, and at just 12%, it’s a great option for lunch. Try it with a Grilled Fish Ensalada or Grilled Chicken nachos.

Prices: £19/bottle, £5/glass

Viura Pleno

 

Our second white wine on the menu is the Sauvignon Blanc, Santa Puerta. This is a Chilean wine from the Central Valley, the largest and most productive wine-making region in South America. Made in a 100% sustainable winery, it is organic, meaning it is good for the environment and not too bad for you, either.

Tastes like: At 13.5%, this wine is full of flavour and is bursting with tropical fruits, like passionfruit, mango and peaches. It also has a herbaceous dimension to it, with a persistent, refreshing finish.

Goes well with: Sauvignon Blanc is one of the only white wines that pairs well with sushi, so any seafood dishes are good, like the Grilled Fish Tacos. The herbal notes also make this wine a good pairing with any dishes made with coriander and fennel, like the burritos and the ensaladas.

Prices: £23/bottle £6.50/glass

Grilled Fish Ensalada

Rosé wines

Our rosé is the Pleno Rosado, Bodega Brana Vieja from Navarra in northern Spain, made from 100% Grenache grapes. Grenache, or Garnacha, as it is known in Spain, is a red wine grape grown extensively in France, Spain, Australia and America. It is one of the most widely distributed grapes in the world, down to its versatility both in the vineyard and the winery.

Tastes like: With an intense strawberries and cream aroma, Pleno Rosado tastes like strawberry and raspberry fruits. Although it is dark in colour, it is light and crisp on the palate and it lifts flavours with its refreshing acidity.

Goes well with: As an ideal accompaniment to ethnic cuisines, fish and poultry, this wine is great with Mexican food. It’s a fantastic match with any of our dishes that are made with black beans – why not try it with a Yucatan Beef Tostada.

Prices: £21/bottle £5.50/glass
In our next blog, we will explore the red wines on our menu. Enjoy your lunch!

Tequila – You’re doing it all wrong.

You know the drill. It gets to that certain part of the evening and someone thinks it’s a good idea to order a tequila. A round of shots appear – you might protest at first – but then one goes down and that’s it – you’ve got the Flava! Lick the salt, do the shot, then suck on a slice of lime. It’s tradition.

But actually, it has absolutely no rooting in Mexican culture. They would never approach tequila (particularly quality, 100% agave tequila) but banishing the taste with citrus. And while some of them will take a pinch of salt after eating something especially spicy to neutralise the flavour, the salt n lime combo is most definitely something invented by Americans.

There is an apparent bit of history associated with the practise, that dates back to the 1930s. After an epidemic of Spanish Influenza hit Mexico then certain doctors prescribed the medicine of tequila with salt and lemon – they thought these additions would help the body absorb the tequila ore quickly and therefore hurry along the ‘remedy’. This was know as ‘tequila cruda’.

However, it is commonly known that now people only slam down salt and lemon when they’re shooting cheap tequila – and one should only ever do this with blanco tequila. Anything else and you’ll be masking the great taste and wasting your money!

El Camion Turns 5!

This month El Camion celebrates its 5th birthday! It’s crazy to think we have been rustling up burritos and shaking margaritas to the hungry and thirsty Soho public for half a decade now. Considered an industry local, a party den or simply the place to chow down on nachos like nobody’s watching, we will be celebrating our 5th birthday in style very soon. There will be tequila.

image

In the mean time, here’s a look back at our 5 years on Brewer Street in reviews.

2010 – A Hedonist’s Guide To…

‘This is an after-work joint for local industry insiders (for whom work finishes at midnight) who know to stick with perfectly crafted cocktails, and that the best secret party is hidden in the arse-end of Soho.’

http://www.hg2london.com/bars/bodega/—dicks-at-el-camion—london-uk

image

2011 – The Cocktail Lovers

‘This is a lovely, friendly good time bar. Better still everything about enjoying cocktails in London just gets so very much better knowing that Dick Bradsell is around and doing his stuff.’

http://www.thecocktaillovers.com/2011/08/baja-room-el-camion-soho-w1/

image

2012 – London On The Inside

‘With decent grub, super cocktails and quirky decor you could easily whittle away your pay packet here and we’ll definitely be giving it a go.’

http://londontheinside.com/2012/07/23/review-el-camion/

 

image

2013 – Londonist

‘If you’re up for a dance, Mexican vibes and a damn good time, head to The Pink Chihuahua (‘Dick’s Bar’), quite possibly the friendliest bar in Soho, with warm welcomes and staff with a talent for remembering names and favourite drinks.’

http://londonist.com/2013/10/where-to-get-a-drink-after-midnight-in-london.php

image

2014 – I’m A Londoner

‘El Camion has something else up its sleeves; a Mexican restaurant menu that has kept loyal fans flocking straight back over the years to Brewer Street. It seems to have survived, almost solely, off a word-of-mouth trade on the competitive streets of gastro Soho. The long and short of it is: those who like it, love it.’

http://imalondoner.com/el-camion-mexicano-soho/

image

2015 – Difford’s Guide

‘In the basement, below Sage Conran’s excellent Mexican restaurant you’ll find the Pink Chihuahua, a basement bar which is often presided over by bartending legend, Dick Bradsell.’

http://www.diffordsguide.com/pubs-and-bars/370/london/the-pink-chihuahua-at-el-camion

Difford's Guide review

Delicious Batidas at El Camion!

Batidas aren’t something you’ll find on every cocktail menu, which is a shame because they are damn tasty. They are also noted as a good remedy to cure a fiery stomach if you’ve been on the sauce the night before. Sweet, creamy and blended with ice, Batidas are a treat of a cocktail – and that’s why we’ve dedicated a whole section of our menu to them.

image

Batida means ‘shake’ in Spanish and typically refers to a milkshake. In Portuguese it means the same, except when referring to a road accident, where it is usually used to describe a car crash. Not to confuse (or mix) the two.

A drink originating from Brazil, Batidas are made with Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça – which can be replaced with vodka where cachaça is not available, but that would be a little like sacrilege. Cachaça is known as Brazilian rum, as, like rum, it is made from fresh sugar cane juice that is fermented and distilled.

The cachaça is mixed with fruit juice or coconut milk, cane sugar and, ideally, condensed milk to make it creamier, and then blended with ice. It is served in a tall glass. With an umbrella if you like.

An umbrella always looks good

An umbrella always looks good

At El Camion we use Sagatiba Cachaça, an ultra-premium silver cachaça that has a smooth sweetness, making it perfect for cocktails. The sugar cane used is hand-selected in fields near the Sao Paulo distillery and is pressed within 24 hours of cutting. Fresh spring water is added and it is then distilled five times, resulting in a clean, sweet spirit. The tasting notes are at first sugary and intoxicating, then mellow out into velvety, caramel flavours.

Sagatiba Cachaça

Sagatiba Cachaça

Our Batida menu:
Coconut Batida

Sagatiba Cachaca, cane sugar, coconut cream and condensed milk. Blended.

Strawberry Batida

Sagatiba Cachaca, cane sugar, strawberry and condensed milk. Blended.

Passionfruit Batida

Sagatiba Cachaca, cane sugar, passion fruit puree and condensed milk. Blended.

Pineapple Batida

Sagatiba Cachaca, cane sugar, fresh pineapple and condensed milk. Blended.

Peach Batida

Sagatiba Cachaca, cane sugar, peach liqueur and condensed milk. Blended.

It’s all about the Tequila Taste…

So, we’ve advised on how to appreciate the colour and smell of tequila – now let’s look how best to taste.

Tequila

 

 

Taste:

 

When tasting tequila, try letting it linger in your mouth for twenty seconds. This will warm the liquid and make sure your taste buds can truly perceive the flavours. Then try sucking in a little air. This means all the components and bouquet of the tequila can be appreciated.

 

We recommend 100% Agave tequila, since this is the premium quality and otherwise the mixed variety can be as little as 51% tequila. Now see what you’re trying from the list below:

 

Blanco and Silver Tequilas: These tequilas can be sipped but are best in cocktails. They have a more brisk, peppery taste with perhaps some herbal or vegetal hints. These tequilas aren’t rested in barrels, hence the lack of woody taste and colour.

We recommend: Olmeca Altos Blanco and Tapatio Blanco

Gold Tequilas: These are blends of Blancos and aged Tequilas. Look out for the notes of caramel. They are also less sharp that Blanco tequilas.

Reposado Tequila: Reposado means ‘rested’, and have been aged for minimum two months but not longer than a year. Also good for cocktails, the taste is a balance between the wood flavours and the agave.

We recommend: Calle 23 Reposado and Don Fulano Reposado 

Anejo Tequilas: Also known as ‘aged’ tequilas, these have rested in oak barrels for anywhere between one and three years. These tequilas make for excellent sipping, and can be appreciated for the oak taste that quells the slightly ‘vegetal’ taste of younger varieties.

We recommend: Ocho Anejo and Siete Leguas Anejo

Extra Anejo: These are wonderfully oaky tequilas that deserve to be sipping, and have been aged for a minimum of three years in oak. When you taste these tequilas then it’s best to truly appreciate the woody taste sensation. They are incredibly smooth and complex.

 

 

We recommend: Jose Cuervo Reserva de la Famila and Tapatio Excellencia 

Laredo_flight_Picture_006@newsdetail

Now you have all the skills to truly appreciate tequila, why not drop into El Camion and ask our bartenders to recommend you a new variety to try? We have over 80 different tequilas, and over 30 different mezcals, so you can get your connoisseur hat on and test out our advice!

Tags: , , | Filed under: cocktails, general

The El Camion Tequila Appreciation Society

Here at El Cam we believe tequila should be savoured and treated with a certain deference – it’s not all about the salt n’ lemon shots, you know! There are so many different varieties and nuances to this Mexican spirit that good tequila should be appreciated – and we’re here to help you do that. We sell over 80 different tequilas, and over 30 different mezcals. So next time you’re trying a new tequila, experiment with Part One of these Tasting Tips:

tequila-tasting-thumbnail.jpg

Sight:

 

Tequila should be served in a clear glass so you can get a good view of the colour of your spirit. The best way to establish the true colour is by looking straight into the centre of the glass when it is held against something white. You can find out the tequila’s body by tilting the glass and seeing how it clings to the side, much as with tasting wine for its ‘legs’.

 

It is important to remember that sometimes Gold (Oro) Tequilas are artificially coloured with caramel colouring, while some of the finest aged Reposado, Añejo and Extra Añejo Tequilas acquire a golden colour from the wooden barrels in which they age.

 

 

Smell:

 

Firstly, smell the tequila while the glass is still, to get a first impression. Next, gently swirl the liquid in the glass so that the aroma is enhanced by increased surface area. You can taste tequila from three different angles, and it’s important to use your sense of smell on each. See if you can recognise these scents:

 

  • Lower rim, closest to mouth: a vey strong scent of alcohol
  • The centre of the glass: spices, honey, vanilla, or any other ingredients that have been used to cure the barrel.
  • Inside rim, furthest from mouth: usually the most authentic smell, removed from the alcohol scent – try and notice the woody taste from the barrel.

 

So, has this encouraged you to come and try some new tequila?! It certainly makes us want to give more a go! Tune into the next El Camion blog on Friday to learn how to make the most of Touch and Taste

Tasting Notes – Calle 23 Reposado

You may or may not have noticed, but here at El Camion we are passionate about tequila. Which is why we endeavour to continue to update you with all news, views, and what you should choose from our fine cabinet of wonders.

 

This time we’re focusing on Calle 23 Reposado – a 100% agave tequila from the highlands of Jalisco, in the Los Altos region. It’s worth mentioning here that agave from the highlands are harvested for their fruity characteristics, whereas the lowlands of Mexico are known to yield more earthy, herbaceous and powerful flavours.

 

1122010_calle23reposado

 

So, we’ve got the fruitiness sorted – what else can you expect from Calle 23 Reposado? Well, for one thing it’s actually the creation of a frenchwoman – who is a biochemist!! Sophie Decobecq fell in love with the taste, traditions and techniques of tequila making, and decided to look into drinking her own. The aim? To create a spirit that you

 

“could drink for breakfast, lunch, dinner and goodnight cure”.

 

So, how about the taste? For one thing – let’s look at ‘Reposado’. This means that it’s aged anywhere between 60 days to a year. Calle 23 Reposado is aged for 8 months (in ex-Jack Daniels bourbon barrels, no less). The taste is wonderfully balanced, with a light sweetness from the wood that has integrated with fabulous agave flavours. There’s a lovely warm finish with a spicy tang that makes this a seductive and memorable tequila to taste!