It’s time to put your sombreros on. Maida Vale hotspot Laylow introduces its summer Mexican inspired menu.
“Did you know that Laylow actually stands for ‘Laylow from the police?’ ” the concierge tells me as I make my way into the restaurant.
Even my overthinking mind didn’t go that far. To be fair, a lot of things go down in Laylow’s afterparties, but none to be spoken about. But this time around, I’m not here to preach about the infamous party scene at the secluded venue on Golborne Road.
This time, I’ve popped down to see what Adam Rawson has done with the menu in light of summer time. Remember our last review? Cosied up with British shares and a glass of wine in a pink plush sofa? Well, the seasons have changed. Even if we’re not outside, a margarita is still in hand. And the sun is shining at 8pm, so great times lie ahead.
At first glance, the menu feels overwhelming. As a pescatarian, it’s got all that I can wish for. I want to order everything at once and forget about the size of my stomach.
When you think of a menu that’s a Mexican-European blend, you might feel a bit confused. But it’s pretty straightforward. Fresh fish, tacos, veggies and all the good things that come along with seasonal summer staples.
We start off our dinner with – Laylow Margaritas and Palomas. Evidently. You don’t do a Mexican dinner without a Margarita in hand. And padron peppers, chilli and lime sauce. And homemade guacamole of course. Okay fine – we ordered ALL the starters. My companion, unlike myself, had quite the taste for the pork belly chicharrones and I have to say that it brought out the green-eyed monster in me: jealousy. I will have to manage with the fish options, which are plenty. But the Star of The Starters (can we make that an official award?) were the queen scallops with salsa macha. Not overly cooked – not undercooked – simply perfect. And perfect plating as well.
Going into our mains seems now like an impossible task. But one more Laylow Margarita and off we are with the Sea Bass ceviche & lettuce wraps, the seared yellowtail tuna, avocado & valentina chimichurri tacos, ancho miso glazed aubergine, rhubarb salsa, cucumber and spring onion alongside warm tortillas served wrapped in a cloth to keep them warm. I’m loving the physicality of experiencing food with your hands. A wise Indian saying points out that you never know where your cutlery has been, but you always know where your hands have been. Now that I think about it, maybe I should stick to the cutlery, but I do like food that comes along as an experience.
It’s all about bonding, especially if you’re thinking about Mexican culture and THAT Pixar film that made everyone cry. It’s in the spirit of family. We end our evening with churros in true Mexican fashion, and as I sip on my digestif, I can’t help but wonder – isn’t experience just as valuable as the dish in itself? And also the key to a restaurant worth visiting time and time again?
Laylow is open Wednesday to Sunday and sits on 10 Golborne Road. For reservations, follow this link.