My dining partner and I popped in to Lupita for a quick pre-theatre pit-stop one Friday evening before a show at Trafalgar Studios, giving me the perfect opportunity to write another restaurant review. Lupita fits a lot in to a comparatively small space – we were given a window table, where we sat side by side on a narrow but surprisingly comfortable bench, facing into the restaurant with a view of the bar that surrounds the open kitchen.
As we were relatively short on time, my dining partner and I decided to skip the starters and go straight in with main course. The menu runs the gamut of Mexican cuisine, from burritos to quesadillas, tacos to tortas, but I just had to try one of Lupita’s house specialties, “Gringa”. This was a delicious combination of Pastor rotisserie pork, topped with pineapple, coriander and onions, piled high on a base of three small flour tortillas which had been smothered with melted cheese. The pork was tender, with a brilliantly smoky flavour which contrasted perfectly with the fresh sweetness of the pineapple and the tangy bite of the coriander and onion. The menu said that the dish came with a spicy Salsa Morita but it was sadly lost amid the intensity of the other ingredients. That didn’t really matter though, as with our mains we were given three different salsas to sample – one mild, one hot, and one a beautiful smoky chipotle. This last one was the ideal accompaniment for my meal, really bringing out the flavours of the pork while adding a fantastic chilli kick. My dining partner went for another house specialty, “Volcán” – two crispy corn tortillas topped with Arrachera steak and melted cheese, and served with salsa Mexicana and a touch of lime. While he thoroughly enjoyed the dish, he did say he could have done with it being a bit bigger.
The benefit of modest sized mains, of course, is that we had no trouble fitting in dessert, and neither of us could resist the Mexican classic, Flan de Cajeta. This was an absolute delight, with a texture that was smooth and sumptuous, firm but yielding, and a delicate caramel taste that was enhanced by the generously drizzled dulce de leche topping.
While Lupita does offer a few wines, its cocktail list is definitely the star attraction drinks-wise, though be warned, they can be slow to arrive. My dining partner enjoyed a Premium Margarita, made with Tequila 1800 Añejo, Grand Marnier and a whole lime, while I opted for the Vallarta Sunset, an unusual combination of Tequila 1800 Añejo, pomegranate liquor, Grand Marnier, fresh lime and orange juice, served on the rocks. Although it was a little heavy on the lime, I enjoyed the bitter sweetness of the pomegranate combined with the rich and full-bodied añejo tequila.
Service was professional – aware that our cocktails would take a while to arrive, our waiter brought us tap water without us having to ask for it and, thanks to his smooth efficiency, we were in and out in under an hour. With the bill coming in at around £25 per head for a small main, a dessert and cocktail, Lupita wasn’t as cheap as we were expecting, but that doesn’t make it bad value given the quality of the food and convenience of the location (right next to Charing Cross station). Overall, we rate Lupita a fantastic four Forks-Up.Lupita 13-15 Villiers Street London WC2N 6ND T: 020 7930 5355