The fusion of vibrant prints and traditional tiling, inspired by the works of Frida Kahlo, together with the restaurant’s striking industrials features, provided a distinctive backdrop to this Mexican street food experience.
With an upbeat, electro soundtrack humming in the background, I started the evening with a Pink Grapefruit and Pineapple Margarita. The smooth agave of el Jimador Tequila coupled with the tartness of the grapefruit swiftly transported me to sunnier climes.
Our attentive waitress talked us through the menu, which at Cielo Blanco is designed so that you can choose to have a quick drink and a burrito or, in their own words, “an all night feast with all your friends, with a cocktail or two”. Choosing the new ‘Feast’ sharing menu, we opted for the latter.
With our feast underway, we shared warm tortilla chips, served with melted cheese and topped with grilled chorizo, zesty guacamole and house salsa. The guacamole was so fresh that I had to finish it with a spoon! We were then presented with a range of small dishes, comparable to Mexican style tapas, inspired by the owners’ annual trips to Mexico. These dishes included lighter options such as warm butternut squash with beets and goat’s cheese, and a refreshing watermelon and tomato salad, which balanced well with more substantial dishes, including spicy goat flautas, and tacos with chicken tinga and chipotle steak. The diversity of flavours and textures in these dishes really illustrated the care and attention to detail that had gone into their design and creation.
We moved onto the main event; the sharing board. Cielo Blanco offers a range of meat, fish and vegetable-based sharing boards. We sampled the vegetable meze, which included stuffed jalapeños, potato and herb flautas, crumbly cheese confit, enchiladas verde and quinoa superfood tacos. The beautiful presentation and flavours of the sharing board, made for a multi-sensory treat. I also tasted my friend’s order of pork belly with cumin crackling. This was incredible, melt-in-the-mouth stuff! In fact, it was the highlight of the menu for me. We finished with a ‘grown up’ ice-lolly; a ‘paleta’, then tequila. A fitting end to this novel menu.
Cielo Blanco strives to create a ‘social dining’ experience, and they certainly delivered on that front. In terms of the food, my lasting impression of this new menu was the freshness and lightness that had been injected into the dishes. This menu challenged my perceptions of Mexican food, as I sampled many flavours that I hadn’t previously associated with the cuisine. The cocktail list was extensive and innovative, with intriguing treats like the Avocadorita- yes, an avocado Margarita, and virgin cocktails with exotic ingredients such as hibiscus juice.
These elements, alongside the vivid décor, and simulated ‘outdoor’ seating areas, create the ideal setting should you wish to recreate the feeling of dining al fresco, but don’t quite trust the British weather.
Image courtesy of Cielo Blanco.