Tequila, jalapeños and enough home-made guacamole to sink a ship - El Patron's formula for a good Mexican night out sounds pretty spot on. We headed down at the end of the week to dispel any looming winter gloom with an injection of fiery chillies and punchy margaritas, and to get the weekend off to a good start.
El Patron stands just a few minutes from Putney overground station and is a good spot to add to your little black book of south west London. It is marked out by its bright yellow awning and the welcoming glow of the brightly lit lettering above the entrance, beckoning you in to the warmth and good vibes you will find within. Cross over the threshold and inside you are greeted by solid-looking wooden bar tables, brightly coloured shutters and bare brick walls. Overall the look is very effective and we immediately warmed to the place. The Day of the Dead calaveras symbol is tattooed across one wall, and the bar stands towards the back, where a torrent of margaritas are busily being prepared.
One of the delicious tequila-based cocktails served behind the colourfully tiled bar at El Patron.
The Food & Drink
El Patron is all about the tequila. If you don't pick that up from the tequila bottle-lined bar and the fiesta-style decor, then you will from a quick glance at the cocktail menu. We started with their take on the classic Margarita (£8.50), featuring Arette tequila and a good dash of lime. After sampling a few of the other mezcal-based concoctions we soon found our favourite - the Jalapeño Margaritas (£9) are exceptionally good, and weirdly addictive. The kick from the jalepeno syrup gives them just the right amount of spice to make them deliciously moreish and makes it hard to say no to another round!
Feeling peckish after a couple of rounds, we ordered a huge bowl of the homemade Tortilla Chips with Salsa Ranchera (£4.50) - a twist on your usual tomato salsa and with extra spice added by the jalepenos and garlic - and some of El Patron's Summer Guacamole with mint and pomegranate (£3). We then sampled some of the more substantial items on their menu, including the Tacos Carnitas (£6.50), featuring generous helpings of pulled pork, piled high on flour tortillas and topped with grilled pineapple and salsa verde, and the Chorizo and Bean Quesadillas (£6), smothered in cheese and grilled. We also tried the Lamb and Feta Quesadillas (£6.50), which were equally good and complimented well by the mint and red onion scattered throughout.
El Patron knows how to put together a good menu of Mexican bar food - the generously portioned Tacos Carnitas are particularly good.
El Patron gets it right with their super relaxed vibe making it a great place to chill out after work or at the weekend, whilst still maintaining a buzzy party atmosphere and morphing into an unbeat, energetic space by later in the evening. The music is good and lends itself to the South American theme of the venue whilst still including a good variety, and makes it a great place to chill with friends and get the evening off to a good start. On a Friday night the place was filled with groups and couples chatting and having a good time; it's clearly popular with young locals and a happy after-work crowd as well.
The atmosphere at El Patron is lively and buzzing, with a great crowd of people happily chilling out at the end of the week.
El Patron is a cool venue that would work equally well for a fun date night or large gathering with friends, and they also have a good dance area downstairs that would be perfect for private parties. Enjoy the good selection of Mexican street-style bar food and definitely try the Jalapeño Margaritas! I will certainly be returning soon to get my fix of those for myself.