Don't Miss this Whole-in-the-wall Joint!
Kind of like tequila but made mostly in Oaxaca (as opposed to Jalisco) and from maguey agave (not from blue agave). And if you’re looking to sip the premium stuff, mezcal generally offers a better value for money too. And now there's a newly opened Mezcaleria Quiquiriqui in East London's Hoxton that's stocking an impressive lineup of two dozen or so mezcals…and graciously little else.
Yes, I'm talking about London, England. Practical anything remotely Mexican and edible or drinkable has been in vogue here for a few years now. Things started innocently enough with a few burrito joints opening up here and there; tequila was big for a while too. Now Londoners seem to be moving deeper and deeper into their explorations of the exotic Mexican palate. So, salud! It's time for mezcal.
Slinging its “finest handcrafted” mezcal drinks from Oaxaca, Quiquiriqui claims to be the first authentic Mezcaleria (that’s a bar that serves mezcal) in the UK. Honestly, there’s already a first floor mezcal bar at the new Wahaca restaurant on Charlotte Street and another so called mezcaleria up the road in the trendsetter playground of Dalston, but the Quiquiriqui folks might have a point. As a bar, it is essentially just that. A bar…that serves mezcal. They do cocktails and sell Mexican beer (and micheladas!!!) too. But that’s it.
Quiquiriqui is a hole-in-the-wall in the basement of a takeaway kebab shop. Yep, that's right: once you’ve finished sidling up to the bar for shots of mezcal you can climb back up to street level and grab a kebab on your way out the door.
Speakeasy hipster cred? Check. Post drinking session grease? Double check. There’s a jukebox at Quiquiriqui too, which seems decidedly stuck in the mid-80s, which somehow manages to provide a more than enjoyable and rather well suited soundtrack for working one's way through a thorough tasty array of the bar's range of smoky characterful mezcals.
A good one for contemplative and/or convivial sipping in the early evening and for getting drunk ‘n’ sweaty later in the night (there's a deejay or live music most nights), Quiquiriqui is located downstairs at the Golden Grill, 184 Hackney Road, E2 7QL. Find out lots more at quiquiriqui.co.uk.
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photo: Chris Osburn