(31/5 - updated with soft launch details - see below)
Time Out loved it, AA Gill really didn't but La Bodega Negra continues to pack them in on Soho's Old Compton Street, regularly popping up in the news as somewhere to spot celebs ranging from One Direction and Usher to (gasp) Jeremy Clarkson.
Now, restaurateur Will Ricker is heading east with the concept, and turning the Great Eastern Dining Rooms - which he also owns - into Casa Negra.
"It’s the sister restaurant to La Bodega Negra," Will told Hot Dinners. "But is totally different in look and feel. The back story being that the interior is a traditional English house - then some Mexicans moved in and opened a “pop up” restaurant."
Downstairs will be a separate club called the Casa Playroom, with a stage for live acts and - as with the Soho original, Serge Becker will be in charge of the design. "We got a 2am license on both floors, so it should be lots of fun."
As for the food, "The menu is shorter then La Bodega Negra and the price point will be that of the Moor Street Café," says Will, which puts starters in the £3.50 to £5 bracket and main course around £8-£10.
Heading up the kitchen is NY chef Brad McDonald, whose background includes Brooklyn restaurants Gran Electrica and Governor. He'll be producing sharing dishes including Mexican seafood Mariscos (which include ceviches, coctèls, aguachiles and tostadas). There will also be plenty of tacos including the lengua (ox tongue), birria con consommé (chocolate and ancho chile rubbed lamb shoulder) and Conhiniita pibil (orange and annatto flower marinated pork shoulder steamed in banana leaf).
There's also a new signature dish - Carnitas de lechon - a suckling pig dish which will include cuts from all parts of the pig along with salsas and traditional garnishes.
Drinks, meanwhile, will include margaritas made with Casa’s own house-made orange liqueur, sweetened with organic agave nectar along with tequila and mescal cocktails.
Casa Negra is at 54-56 Great Eastern Street. Follow them on @CasaNegraLDN.
Casa Negra opens on June 10. The phone line - 0207 033 7360 - opens at noon on Tuesday June 4. There will be a soft launch for the first week - 50% off food ordered between noon and 5pm from Monday June 10 - Sunday June 16.
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