London's Mexican scene gets serious

Opening today from the man behind The Big Apple's La Esquina is La Bodega Negra: a spacious, boozy Mexican diner linked to a smaller cafe/taqueria with its own entrance on one of Soho's quieter streets, which Mike Skinner has been using for a few years now.

Bedecked in Mexican band posters, the light, airy cafe casually kills hunger with ammo like duck tostaditas doused in an earthy pipian mole sauce, red snapper ceviche, and tacos like pork w/ roasted pineapple, seared steak in salsa piquante, and, because a serving of Clegg would be inconsequential, sauteed camarones.

The darker, moodier, wood-filled resto sees more serious fare, including whole spit-roast chickens, "giant" tiger prawns w/ al mojo de ajo (garlic sauce), slow-roast lamb barbacoa slathered in a wine-filled salsa borracha, and a spiced BBQ octopus that only a sucker would turn down. Or someone deathly allergic to octopi.

Of course what you really came here to do was drink not insubstantial amounts of alcohol, so head down to the somehow-even-darker "Tequila Cellar" for over 60 varieties of the agave-juice (incl. a barrel-aged exclusive) to take straight, in margs like hibiscus, cactus, or tamarind, or 'tails like the jalapeno-infused Pepino Diablo, here to collect your soul for all those times you were prangin' out.