Away from our resident Birmingham bubble, in the eye of a London not-quite-novice, not-quite-intermediate foodie, the capital is overwhelming. Instagram feeds and online list searching often overwhelm me to the point of cutting my foodie search short out of frustration and lack of stamina. There are simply too many places.
Your other challenge is cutting it down to somewhere for reasonably priced, quality food which is hard to come by when you’re visiting the capital, unless you opt for one of the trustworthy chains you can visit anywhere in the country.
Unless you want to go for all fancy fine dining (there’s great Bookatable deals for that).
Or unless you want to end up down some back alley street food vendor for THE BEST BURGER in London or the Vietnamese bao buns everyone’s talking about and, more importantly, queuing for.
When actually all the occasion calls for is to dine and catch up with pals, in a nice, new-ish environment.
Turn to a lifelong Londoner and your foodie problems are sorted.
I was recently taken to Cantina Laredo by a London uni pal. Requesting a Friday night dinner date to celebrate her engagement, we wanted good food with a couple of nice drinks on the side.
Step forward Free Flowing Fridays at Cantina Laredo, in that cute little St Martin’s Courtyard area, in the heart of London’s Leicester Square/Covent Garden hustle and bustle.
Let’s call it an upmarket Las Iguanas.
On Fridays between 12-10.30pm, for £20 you can enjoy bottomless margaritas (of all flavours, on the rocks or frozen may I add), prosecco or wine, albeit for that ‘pesky’ two hour limit. The mango margaritas, may I add, go down very well.
The great thing about this is if you would usually opt for a cheaper dinner to enjoy a larger drinks bill, you can now go for that steak or sea bass you secretly had your eye on and have both.
For example I had ribs which, being a pricier option on the menu, meant that the main + a side to top it up to the all important £20 was actually quite an ideal meal choice. Bring on my six mango margaritas 💃🏻
The best thing food wise about this place though HAS to be the fresh guacamole. Approaching our table to sit down, there was an avocado and lime in my place…
Hold up, when we then ordered tortilla chips to start, a fold out table arrived topped with little bowls of herbs, tomatoes and onions and our server set to work on carving up avocados, throwing together a fresh guac at the table for us 😍 Now I was impressed.
We munched / spoon fed the guac alongside the rajos con queso (basically a big corny, cheesy dip) which was all so satisfying, as Mexican food often is.
I have to say I probably should have stuck to my original main course choice of tacos as a new found taco lover, with tempting toppings such as belly pork & tiger prawns. The ribs weren’t saucy, how I like them; instead, ‘rubbed’. But I ordered them with a black bean side, because I could, and they were really good.
But I was swayed by the more expensive option and let’s be honest, I was probably at least one mango margarita down by the time we ordered so the booze belly was probably kicking in.
Pals around the table also enjoyed the lamb cutlets and chicken/veggie fajita. All looked tasty.
Desserts followed for two on the table (with two extra spoons 🙄) which were actually delish. A sensational chocolate brownie and chocolate fondant, although one of my three dinner pals still holds the crown for best filthy homemade fondants…
Cantina Laredo is in a great location and serves great Mexican food and cocktails, without the cheese of a themed restaurant and very, very good flavoured frozen margaritas.
Free Flowing Fridays start from 12 noon every Friday, until 10.30pm. Take advantage.
If you know of any other fab ‘free flowing Fridays’ or happy hour deals I shouldn’t miss next time I’m in London, hit me up with a comment below.
10 Upper St Martin’s Lane, St Martin’s Courtyard, London, WC2H 9FB
Disclosure: We all paid our way and I’m writing about it because I liked it.