Mexican food, as demonstrated by the plenty of Mexican restaurants in Brighton, is some of the most fun to eat in the world. Much of it is finger food and that, amigos, is owing to the original staple of the Mexican kitchen: corn. Just like potatoes in the UK or Germany and rice in many parts of Asia, corn is a key part of so many dishes in Mexico. In fact, corn is believed to have been harvested for the very first time in Mexico some 7000 years ago, way before it was harvested anywhere else in the world. As we’re sure a head chef at any Mexican restaurant in Brighton will be able to tell you, the corn plant isn’t one that grows naturally, it has to be planted and cultivated by humans, and there’s never been anyone better at it than the indigenous folk of Mexico.
When we – or, we presume, anyone dining at Brighton’s Mexican restaurants – think of Mexican food, the humble tortilla comes to mind. There are a few good reasons for that, the main one being that even the Mayan Indians and the Aztecs were making tortillas way back in the day. They’d be eaten mainly with bean paste, as well as wild game, fruits or fish (whenever any of this happened to available). The point is that – and this is one that’s likely why Mexican food is so well-loved today – the tortilla is versatile. As you’ll see at any Mexican restaurant in Brighton, they can be rolled, folded, fried, baked, whatever. They taste good with everything and offer the solid foundation of more exciting Mexican dishes than you can shake a stick at.
Quite simply, Brighton’s Mexican restaurants are saying bold flavour, vibrant colour and authentic dishes as well as contemporary creations that still stay true to the corn. We say authentic as well as contemporary because it’s no secret that Mexican food comes in two forms: actual Mexican that’s eaten in Mexico, and Tex-Mex – tacos, burritos, fajitas, buckets of guacamole, you know the drill. The best Mexican restaurants in Brighton for either form of this marvellous cuisine are usually found in the city centre, but if you branch out to Hove, Kemptown or even the Marina, you’ll find gems all over the shop.
Listen to us, going on and on about corn like Mexican cuisine involves nothing else. Do be assured that you’ll find plenty on the menus of Brighton’s Mexican restaurants besides the usual corny suspects, and by that we mean stews. Stews, stews, glorious stews, heartwarming, good for the soul, and a good Mexican restaurant of Brighton should serve signatures that are big on bean use and – if you’re so inclined – loaded with chilli. Fava bean stew is a popular one, as is – surprisingly – leek and potato. In many stews there’s also a particular presence of pork that’s often slow-cooked, tender as anything complemented by plenty of soft veg.
When all the food is done and devoured – or before that if you fancy – no visit to any Mexican restaurant in Brighton is anywhere near complete without a dousing of tequila. However, contrary to popular connotations of shots ‘till you drop, tequila actually has a deep cultural meaning in Mexico, a rich history and a proper way to be sipped. For starters, if you want to drink tequila like the Mexicans, ditch the salt and fruit and take your tequila slow. Sip it slowly with you meal and savour the strength of it one little bit at a time – the idea is that it should actually enhance the flavour of your food, so once you’ve made your reservation at one of Brighton’s Mexican restaurants, keep that in mind.