This November, Club Mexicana, the Mexican Californian inspired street-food sensation that rewrote the vegan rulebook, will be opening an impressive new restaurant in Spitalfields, returning to its roots in East London, where it first started as a sold-out supperclub back in 2014.
Founder Meriel Armitage is ushering in the next generation of converts with her latest launch, inviting diners to roll up their sleeves from day through to night and make a beautiful, queso-laden mess, Club-Mexicana style, within a slick, laidback setting.
Club Mexicana’s new 70-seater space will provide a suave yet spirited backdrop that accommodates all, from friends craving a fiesta to solo diners wanting to pull up a stool and watch the world go by. Part of the lively Spitalfields conservation area, the listed building and former gallery, printing press and bank contains layer upon layer of history.
Club Mexicana’s new design stays true to the building’s past lives by preserving original features such as exposed brick walls, concrete columns, wooden floorboards, and a striking brushed metal staircase - as well as a safe for their hallowed supply of premium tequila.
Huge floor to ceiling windows flood the room with natural light, illuminating a bespoke terrazzo counter, made by a local East London artist using recycled glass bottles and broken marble, and sleek banquette seating for whiling away the hours.
A mellow palette of warm oranges and cool blues recalls the chilled vibes of a southern Californian sunset, while nods to the graphic vibrancy of Mexico City and playful touches including a huge 80s-inspired mirrorball bring a nostalgic flash of trademark Club Mexicana energy to the mix.
The Commercial Street restaurant boasts a bigger plant-powered menu than ever before, laden with sure-fire favourites, rotating specials and brand new creations, all of which will be fried, flipped and filled with freshly prepped ingredients in the dynamic open kitchen.
Exciting additions to the lineup include headliners like the mighty Birria Tacos, meaty enough to fool even the most committed carnivores: picture crispy corn tortillas stuffed with Club Mexicana’s marinated, melt-in-your-mouth slow-cooked ‘beef’ brisket, queso, onion and onion salsa, then dipped into a heady signature chilli consomme.
Also back on the menu (with a difference) is the Tofish & Chips Taco, which gives one of London’s best-loved dishes a seaside revamp, combining beer-battered tofish with fresh pea salsa verde, zingy tartar sauce, pink pickled onions and crispy matchstick potatoes, bringing the beach to East London - minus the seagulls.
Diners can also munch their way through a colourful selection of classics, from the iconic fast-food fusion Cheezeburger Taco to the lip-smacking BBQ Short ‘Rib’ Taco, smothered in a homemade hickory-smoked BBQ sauce with a tropical pineapple twist, and according to the regulars, better than the real thing.
Club Mexicana will also be serving up signature burritos, wrapped up in toasted flour tortillas or piled high in bowls, packed with even more original meat-free fillings, all developed and created by Meriel in her dedicated test kitchen, including the liberally sauced crispy annatto-glazed fried chick’n and spicy ‘chorizo’ with sweet potato.
Tempting sides will include chipotle-fired Mini Chorizo Empanadas and Charred Seasonal Vegetables with a hit of habanero peanut salsa. Star of the show will be all-new Mexican Street Corn, a riff on elotes comprising charred sweetcorn slathered in house-made mayo and seasoned with an explosive mix of dairy-free parmesan, ancho chilli dust, lime, paprika and salt.
With a menu made for sharing, guests can recruit their pals to tuck into trays of nachos fully loaded with queso, Club Mexicana’s trademark ground ‘beef’, guacamole, pico de gallo, pink onions, pickled jalapeños, chipotle oil and chilli lime salt - or go next level with Queso Fundido: molten queso topped with chorizo crumbs and a chipotle glaze, perfect for scooping up with tortilla chips.
The sweet-toothed will also be catered for by the new dessert arrivals, which include a piping hot helping of churros, fried to order and served with a dusting of cinnamon sugar and a rich dark chocolate sauce. Tied for top billing is the long-awaited Club Mex Soft Serve, made in house and available in classic organic vanilla, or laced with Mexican cacao and coffee-infused tequila.
For those requiring further cooling, bartenders will be on hand behind the custom-made terrazzo bar to whip up a tequila-based storm. The innovative drinks menu will include brand new cocktails such as the bracing Blanco Negroni, the fiery Jalepenoback and the bittersweet chocolate-infused Mexicana Martini, alongside iced favourites such as Frozen Margaritas and Piña Coladas.
A thoughtfully chosen selection of small-scale tequilas and mezcals are also available to shot and sip alongside Modelo beer, which can be smashed with limes and poured over ice for a refreshing Chelada, or combined with Frozen Margarita to reveal the most magical of all alcoholic discoveries, the Lagerita.
The versatile all-day menu transitions seamlessly from coffee to Mexpresso Martinis, while the space itself is equally adaptable, with plenty of room for hosting huge celebrations as well as cosy corners for date nights.
Meriel saif, “We’ve had such an incredible journey since our Hackney supper club & street food beginnings. Obviously the last few years have been a wild ride too, so I’m super excited about being able to just get back to slinging tacos!
'Our new restaurant in Spitalfields is a natural next step up from our first brick-and-mortar site in Kingly Court, as it allows us to go bigger than ever before and flex our taco-making muscles, serving up even more dishes and drinks with our unique, colourful Club Mexicana character.
'I can’t wait to create a relaxed spot for people to kick back and enjoy great food and drinks at any time of day.”