Restaurant Review: Caf� Mexicali, N4

Jon Dean has a true taste of Mexico with magaritas, fajitas and sombreros in a new Stroud Green caf�

Ah, Mexico. Land of the sombrero, Mayan culture, masked wrestlers and, at least in this corner of Stroud Green, spicy and delicious comestibles.

Caf� Mexicali, on Stroud Green Road, opened in April and is the latest addition to North London’s already impressive array of central American cuisine.

Inside the restaurant is decorated with the obligatory sombreros and black and white pictures of donkeys and people wearing ponchos.

We repaired to the bar, which is particularly fetching, complete with wagon wheels and a giant blow up bottle of beer, and checked out the cocktail list.

Despite being tempted by such exotic delights as the alien urine sample, the traditionalist in me demanded I order a margarita. Served on the rocks, rather than frozen, this savoury and salt-rimmed beauty went down rather quickly, so after vowing to tackle my second more carefully, I began to peruse the menu.

Caf� Mexicali offers a lot of choice. Apart from your standard Mexican fare - enchiladas, quesadillas, tacos and so on - they do steaks, grills, tapas, seafood and plenty of specials.

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Remaining focused on the task in hand, I ordered the BBQ butterfly prawns, which came swimming in a gorgeous, tangy, citrus sauce.

I also has a good crack at the nachos my girlfriend had picked, which were peppery little beasts smothered in a slightly unusual Bolognese sauce. Perhaps lighter on the cheese than I might have liked, I was reliably assured by my better half that not everyone is as fromage-frenzied as I am.

On to the mains, and again I stayed on the straight and narrow by plumping for the fajitas. They came out sizzling and angry, with salsa, sour cream, guacamole and, as an added bonus, grated cheese.

Frankly, I had a whale of time wrapping them up far too full and trying to fit them in my mouth. If that image lacks grace, my girlfriend’s barbecue ribs were honestly frightening, possible wider than her shoulders. Served with a cheeky honey glaze and meat that simply fell off the bone, they had me grinning like a luchador before a title bout.

Caf� Mexicali was pretty for a rainy Monday night, and on this evidence its easy to see why. The combination of friendly staff and a range of great food and delicious cocktails that are easy on the wallet will always be a winner, and the Mexicali crew have it spot on.