There’s something so special about Notting Hill during the summer.
While the neighbourhood is always such a pleasure to visit, its street markets and pastel-hued terrace homes really seem to come to life on those gloriously sunny days, which we’ve been enjoying in abundance of late.
So the girls and I really didn’t need an excuse to head west for brunch this weekend, but we found one anyways – the promise of a modern Mexican brunch at Peyotito, the recently-opened restaurant from the same folks behind Peyote in Mayfair…
Greeted with a sign that read “Tequila is to wake the living, Mezcal is to wake the dead”, we found an instant appeal to the laid-back yet trendy vibes effortlessly exuded by the restaurant.
Seeing as it would have been rude not to heed their advice, a round of margaritas were in order – including the signature Peyotito margarita, which arrived rimmed with Tajin (a spiced seasoning) and with a small vial of Mezcal dunked in, to be added at our discretion. It lent a surprisingly smokey touch!
I’d had great expectations about the food, given the prominent involvement of Eduardo Garcia, whose restaurant in Mexico City, Maximo Bistrot, is on the Latin America Best 50 Restaurants list… To be honest though, I was left rather disappointed.
I’d been most excited about tucking into the breakfast classic, Huevos Rancheros – the combination of fried eggs, cooked salsa and warm tortillas, is usually always unbeatable! In this case however, the earthy overtones of the sauce seemed to overwhelm rather than compliment the other textures at play.
But in all fairness, my friend Saba really savoured her order of fried eggs, which was dished up with a sharp, herby salsa verde instead.
Although the full menu wasn’t available during brunch, on our unabashed prodding, the affable staff accommodated our request to try a few plates from this lengthier selection which features Ensaladas, Crudo, Tostadas, Masa, Cebiche and Mole.
The “Mole blanco” was the best of the lot – plump, tender asparagus stems served with an unusual but pleasantly flavoured aubergine sauce and macadamia.
The vegetarian take on ceviche saw seasonal veggies piled onto a mass of burrata, with a drizzle of basil oil as the binding factor. The misleading categorisation as ceviche aside, I really think that the dish could have worked better, had the cheese been more soft and creamy.
While freshness wasn’t an issue with the guacamole, it wasn’t all that memorable. Neither was the quinoa salad. Roasted nopales (the Mexican cactus), jicama and fava beans added an interesting dimension, but on the whole, it was lacking that sharp, cohesive burst of flavours…
The slightly lacklustre show could be down to a case of teething problems, as the restaurant had been open for less than a month when we visited.
To give credit where it’s due, our dishes were well-presented, and although they didn’t quite hit the right notes for us, the warm and friendly service, the comfortably relaxed ambience, and just generally the #weekendvibes so characteristic of Notting Hill, definitely made the afternoon a cheerful one.
Taking advantage of the beautiful day, we had a meander around the area afterwards, pausing every so often, as even the simplest of colourful things caught our eye…
… I even stumbled upon my dream home! Isn’t she a beauty?!
It was just a good day to not have a bad day.
Peyotito, 31 Kensington Park Road, London, W11 2EU