Just Opened

Published on February 9th, 2015 | by Ben Southwood

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El Patron, Putney

When it comes to foreign cuisine, Mexican is probably the most common and least exotic feeling out there, given how easy it is to find it in UK town centres and supermarkets. I myself eat a burrito practically every workday lunchtime from the peerless Santana Grill on Strutton Ground in Westminster.

So El Patron in Putney, which has been open for a few months but which had a launch party, might have found it hard to stand out. This perhaps explains why they lay on their theming quite thickly—from the website (‘El Patron London HOLA.’) with its stylised pictures of Mexican scenery—to the wood cabin feel of the restaurant/bar itself. The place is adorned with references to the day of the dead, and includes a little photo booth where one can pose wearing a sombrero, fake moustache and a pipe on a stick.

The joint is split across two levels, with a large bar area downstairs and about 14 covers worth of tables upstairs. While we were there, we were treated to the dulcet tones of ‘Truly Medley Deeply’—two guys with guitars who sang, er, medleys of firstly 2014 hits, then later on g-funk and UK garage. Apparently you can find them there weekly.

I can’t speak to the food, as it was not flowing very freely and I only managed to get my hands on their tortilla chips, guacamole (thick and chunky, rather than thin and smooth) and salsa (extremely fiery). But the cocktails were simple and effective: a spicy ‘Scorpion’ including ginger beer and hot sauce, a regular sour limey margarita, and a excruciatingly sweet and bitingly sour Jose Cuervo from a slush puppy swirler.

Does El Patron succeed in standing out? I’m not sure, but it’s definitely not a bad place to go for a few cocktails if you find yourself in SW London.

http://elpatronlondon.com/

El Patron, 141 Upper Richmond Road, SW15 2TX

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