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El Panzon Restaurant

Home > London > Restaurants | Food and Wine
by Ellie Ross (subscribe)
Freelance travel writer and Policy Adviser for the UK government living in Brixton. View my blog www.my-big-fat-carbon-footprint.blogspot.com for ethical and budget travel inspiration
Published March 31st 2013
Tastiest tacos in London
Brixton Village: what a Mecca for those of us unfortunate to live so far away from the culinary delights of Soho and the constantly appearing and disappearing dining pop-ups of East London. What a chore it is to peruse the independently run cafés and bars of this old market hall, and be able to find a table with relative ease at busy periods.

Brixton Village beholds many delights, above all an exceptionally tiny and exceptional Pakistani restaurant called Elephant, and one of the best places to eat Thai food this side of Bangkok. What is also offered in Brixton Village is the chance to eat incredibly authentic Mexican food. Mexican food is as difficult to group together as French food is: it's not French, it's Provençale or Lyonnais. Mexican food is from Oaxaca or Veracuz. What El Panzon offers us is an chance to try the street food of the highest standard from the Central American region.

The shop has a great downstairs area, but if you follow the rickety staircase round you'll find a sizeable upstairs seating area and a waitress who speaks no English.

"No sour cream" I asked. After two attempts she collapsed in giggles and gave up. Hilarious for her, irritating for me. But, it's the authenticity you're getting here, and that seems to include an inability to communicate. True Mexicana!

When my tacos arrived (sans sour cream thank goodness), they were perfect and I found myself collapsing in a little pool of memories and happiness. The maize tacos had a strong corn flavour. Flavoursome, herby mushrooms coated in smokey paprika and chilli were coated with tangy lime and creamy guacamole, and were smothered in deep tomato salsa which soaked into the perfectly cooked rice and black beans. The combination of all these elements made these tacos a real delight to eat. My biggest issue was waiting to be served however. It was an empty enough Thursday evening at 6pm yet this Mexican fast food took 45 minutes to arrive. In 45 minutes I could have flown to Paris from Heathrow, cooked an elaborate Sunday lunch or burnt 700 calories in a boxercise class. Why did 2 (yes, wonderful) tacos take this long?

My dining companion's burrito was crispy, stuffed with cheese and coriander and tender meat.

"It takes me right back to Tulum," he reminisced, licking his fingers as the rice and salsa dripped out of the end of the tortilla pocket.

Brixton Village, thank god you exist, because you continue to deliver us remarkable dinner offerings. Next time El Panzon, a little quicker if you please?

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Why? For the most authentic Mexican street food in London
When: All day
Phone: 0207 924 9888
Where: Brixton Cillage
Cost: £5-8
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