People that love tacos think their joy is shared. Why not? Soft corn tortillas mounted with a selection of textures, from pico de gallo to pulled meats, white fish and pickled vegetables; that sounds just about perfect to me. But when it comes to taco restaurants in London, they're a lot more few and far between than most think; especially in King's Cross... or at least that used to be the case.
Part of the new Coal Drops Yard development that has seen the likes of Barrafina and Hicce take up ranks alongside various luxury lifestyle shops, Casa Pastor (part of the El Pastor family) is a trendy taquiera tucked under the stairs (think bare brick, pops of colour, indoor trees), and I was gagging for a visit.
After a short wait in the bar area, we were glided to our tables by a waiting team that I can hands down say was impeccable across the night. Suggesting their Avocado & Passionfruit Margarita (£9.5) as the perfect aperitif, we were brought two short glasses topped up with a El Jimador Reposado, avocado, passionfruit syrup, lime juice and aguamiel mix. While the texture was slightly sludgy in appeal, I loved the pert notes of passionfuit and the sour rim. My only qualm would be not serving tortillas and guacamole alongside; my insides felt nothing short of Kermit.
Offering diners an all-in approach, noting that dishes come straight to the table when they're ready, and that anything other than sharing style is sheer madness, we became relentless in covering as much of the menu as we could. While the Baja Fish tacos (£8.5) with Corona-battered sea bass, shredded cabbage, pico de gallo, coriander were mine and mine alone, my husband gallantly shared the rest of the serving, made up of Mushroom Tacos at £6.50 topped with crispy queso Oaxaca, Papas Estilo Zamora (new potatoes in salsa macha with a jicama-mango salsa verde), Esquites (toasted corn with cotija cheese) and a blue corn quesadilla with salsa roja and cheese.
It's clear that the creativity of Mexico City is extended to the flavours and approach of Casa Pastor as dishes such as the Baja Fish tacos and the Esquites truly profiled the emphasis on quality ingredients. The new potatoes were however a confusion to me. While the blend of the savoury and the sweet is a noted specialty, I couldn't get on board with the tough fruit alongside the perfectly oiled potatoes.
My second margarita of the night solidified Casa Pastor's knowledge in the department as El Jimador Reposado was blended with honeydew melon, lime and hibiscus syrup to create a fresh yet punchy margarita with sunshine appeal, but it was now time to close the show...
I don't tend to get dessert (i'd rather bulk out on the starters), but a chocolate mole tart with salted caramel ice cream at £6 alongside an Espressial at £10 made straight up sense to me. While Casa Pastor nailed their take on the espresso martini with hints of agave bringing a welcomed sweetness to the coffee liqueur, the rich intensity of the chocolate mole start was somewhat spoiled by an overzealous serving of salt in the salted caramel ice cream.
The DesignMyNight Digest
I've had everything from tacos straight off the truck to tacos in notable Soho spaces, and while Casa Pastor may not have been my favourite of taco experience i've ever had in the city, I can't fault the quality or the service, and think a solid 8/10 is well deserved.
Looking for more places to enjoy some of London's best tacos? Check out our guide here.