You’d be forgiven for thinking you’d stumbled into a Robert Rodriguez grindhouse B-feature when you take a trip to South Hackney’s Machete – the name, the (charmingly) scruffy and moodily lit interior, the no-nonsense Mexican street food and self-described badass cocktails, the sneering East London tatted types and the snarling bartenders. Okay, scratch those last – admittedly this part of the city, the so-called Victoria Park Village quarter centred on Lauriston Road, is becoming something of a trending destination for foodies and barflies, but, well, Machete can hack it, and so can we. A top spot for tipple and tacos.
Eric ‘Funky Cold’ Medina (of Off Broadway fame) is the evil genius behind South Hackney’s newest Mexican cantina, Machete, spreading like a delicious virus into deeper East London from his previous haunt in Dalston to cosy up, all spicy, beery breath and sweet nothings, to the lucky but hungry and aimless punters milling about along Lauriston Road near Victoria Park. With the recruitment of a crack chef from the raucous core of Mexico City, Medina eschews Tex-Mex pretense in favour of proper suave south-of-the-border fare.
Classic snackable Mexican delicacies like tacos and burritos are, but of course, staring you down from Machete’s long, well-curated and sometimes unusual menu. Meat dishes cooked in a homemade and smoked-out chipotle salsa are another signature, as is the superlative ceviche – just like it is on the streets of the former Aztec capital. Curious fusions of Mexican and modern European are on the cards too, keeping things interesting while you ponder which of this South Hackney cantina’s seriously badass cocktails you should choose to sup upon – the Strawberry Oaxacan Mule is one bound to smuggle you back to Central America. Culinary immigration control: it is strongly advised to book a spot at this popular Lauriston Road, Victoria Park Village restaurant well in advance, especially on weekends.