Based just off Oxford Street, Corazón is the product of husband and wife duo Laura Sheffield and chef Paul Daniel. Specialising in Mexican cuisine, it’s been picking up a name for itself by bringing a little of the West End’s high end dining a taste of authentic Mexican street food and some very cool cocktails, so we went down to try it out.
Venue and Atmosphere
Split between table and counter seating, this little taqueria and cocktail bar offers a cosy and casual dining experience through its clean and simple interiors and friendly staff. The restaurant is by no means large, which for an avid gesticulator like myself is usually a recipe for disaster. But, despite its being petite, there is more than enough space for me to flail without landing an elbow in my neighbour’s guacamole – which would be a crying shame because the guacamole is very good here. What with it being an overcast Easter Monday, Corazón clearly hasn’t been caught by too much bank-holiday heaviness as a constant stream of customers helps the restaurant maintain a cheerful buzz. While most of the tables tonight are occupied by groups of twos or fours, at lunchtimes and brunchtimes, the venue packs out with groups of up to 12, there to enjoy huevos rancheros and bottomless fizz.
Food And Drink
The menu boasts an impressive margarita list, which fuses classic flavours with more adventurous twists. My first port of call is the frozen jasmine tea margarita (£8), which, whilst floral and refreshing, packs an almighty tequila wallop. My companion opts for the Achiote (£9), described on the menu as “the foodie’s choice” for its heady mix of orange, cinnamon, agave, star anise and the titular achiote – a peppery spice native to the Americas.
As the first dishes arrive, we are immediately on to a winner with the Contramar tostada (£6), which sees a crisp tostada topped with soft marinated tuna, avocado, spicy chipotle mayo, and garnished with crispy leeks. Next up it’s taco time. I am not a natural when it comes to taco eating; I can never get the angles quite right. Luckily my dining buddy is a good taco teacher who offers words of wisdom (“the taco is the train and your mouth is the tunnel”) and support (“okay sorry, I won’t watch”) so I manage to get most of it into my belly, and only some of it all over myself.
Starting with their special of the day, a crab cake taco (£10.50), we tuck into a sweet and salty crab meat croquette served with a simple garnish of shredded lettuce and tomato, wrapped in one of Corazón’s homemade tacos. The slow-cooked pork Carnitas (£8.25) follow, with meat so succulent that juice down the sleeve is an unavoidable consequence. Bringing up the rear is the Guvnor (£11), which combines grilled king prawns and baby shrimp with mixed peppers, tomatoes and sharp oaxacan cheese. Alongside all this we’ve also gone for a side of esquites (£5), a popular Mexican street food snack that mixes toasted sweetcorn with mayonnaise, cheese, lime and chilli powder to create a moreish corn salad.
We preface dessert with another round of cocktails, the mezcal sour (£9.50) I order bringing sweet and frothy citrus into combat with bitter mezcal. I also get a few quick sips of their signature Corazón margarita (£8.25), Corazon’s twist on the classic, made with Olmeca Altos Plata tequila and grapefruit sherbet. For dessert itself we two-spoon it on a Six Milks Sundae (£8.50), which, despite my companion’s protestations, is definitely a sharing dish. Layering tres leches cake, vanilla ice cream, whipped cream and cajeta – a Mexican caramel sauce made with goat’s milk – it is rich, tooth-achingly sticky, and promises a one-way ticket to a very intense sugar-high.
Fronting tasty tacos, tostadas and punchy cocktails, Corazón offers an authentic taste of Mexico in the heart of Central London. With charming staff and cool, comfortable interiors, it is all too easy to while away the hours in here sampling the delights of their drinks list and dripping delicious taco juice all over your skirt.