Start-up of the week: Shoreditch tequila bar El Bandito boasts rabbit and Iberico ham flavoured mezcals

The El Bandito Pop-Up menu will feature an impressive collection of approximately 50 tequilas and 25

The El Bandito Pop-Up menu will feature an impressive collection of approximately 50 tequilas and 25 mezcals. Photo: Nic Taylor - Credit: Nic Taylor

Every week, we take to the streets to find a start-up business right here in Hackney. This week, we discovered a new tequila drinking den which boasts a menu of 50 tequilas and 25 mezcals – with the most expensive ones infused with meats like chicken breast, Iberico ham and rabbit.

The El Bandito Pop-Up menu will feature an impressive collection of approximately 50 tequilas and 25

The El Bandito Pop-Up menu will feature an impressive collection of approximately 50 tequilas and 25 mezcals. Photo: Nic Taylor - Credit: Nic Taylor

Pop-up El Bandito is set in the basement of dim sum restaurant, The Drunken Monkey in Shoreditch High Street, and sells shots which range in price from £5 to £30.

Co-owner John Ennis told the Gazette: “I’ve been a bar tender for 15 years, and I’ve seen different things falling out of fashion, but one thing that’s never been in fashion is tequila and I’ve never understood it. My business partner couldn’t either, and we thought it’s because on one has a good enough offering.

“Not every bar will pay £250 for a bottle of mezcal where one person a week might try it, but if you are a specialist you can have it because you will sell it.”

Tequila and mezcal are both made from agave - but tequila can only be made from blue agave, whereas mezcal can be made from around 30 species.

The El Bandito Pop-Up menu will feature an impressive collection of approximately 50 tequilas and 25

The El Bandito Pop-Up menu will feature an impressive collection of approximately 50 tequilas and 25 mezcals. Photo: Nic Taylor - Credit: Nic Taylor


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Mr Ennis added: “There are a few meat infusions - a few do a rabbit one and chicken breast, but the Iberico ham seems to the be the crown jewel. It has a unique oily salty flavour to it, coupled with the smokiness of the mezcal.”

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