Tom Parker Bowles Explores High-End Mexican Cuisine on King's Road

On King’s Road in London’s Chelsea, Tom finds a Mexican magnet for gilded young carousers.

Tom Parker Bowles Explores High-End Mexican Cuisine on King's Road

In the heart of Chelsea, London, renowned food critic Tom Parker Bowles discovers a hidden gem of Mexican gastronomy on the bustling King’s Road. Initially mistaken for a chic nightclub, Ixchel surprises with its culinary excellence, far surpassing typical Mexican fare.

Upon entry, the vibrant atmosphere of Ixchel, reminiscent of a fashionable Mexican-themed club, sets the stage. The dim lighting and pulsating Euro house music, amidst a crowd exuding confidence and style, initially led Bowles to believe he had entered a nightclub. However, Ixchel is indeed a restaurant, and a remarkable one at that.

Seated amidst the lively ambiance, Bowles and his companion dove into the menu (aided by an iPhone torch) and discovered a culinary treasure. The head chef, Ximena Gayosso Gonzalez, boasts an impressive resume, having trained at Martha Ortiz's Dulce Patria in Mexico City and worked at the now-closed Ella Canta in Mayfair. Ixchel's cuisine, drawing inspiration from the Yucatán Peninsula, seamlessly blends the heat of habaneros and the richness of Caribbean influences, although the absence of cochinita pibil, a regional staple, is noted.

The seafood dishes at Ixchel particularly stand out. Despite some items being unavailable, the crab tostada was a highlight, featuring freshly picked white meat paired with a perfectly balanced salsa macha. The importance of salsas in Mexican cuisine is not lost here, with a range from the zesty salsa verde to a fiery scotch bonnet.

Other notable dishes include the pork belly taco, combining a well-crafted tortilla with quality pork, and the ensenada taco, where battered white fish is complemented by a spicy habanero crema. These dishes rival the authenticity of street food in Mexico. Accompanied by esquites and braised short rib in adobo sauce, and washed down with Vivir Blanco tequila, the meal turns into an immersive experience.

Amidst the energetic setting, where Chelsea's young and fashionable socialize and enjoy the night, Ixchel stands out as a culinary destination not just for its ambiance but for its exceptional take on Mexican cuisine.

For more of Tom Parker Bowles' culinary adventures and reviews, visit Tom's Food Finds, and explore the vibrant King’s Road dining scene at King's Road Chelsea. Don't forget to share your own experiences using the hashtags #MexicanCuisine and #KingsRoad.

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