Review: Caldera, Mare Street

Caldera on Mare Street. Picture: Rachel Shnapp.

Caldera on Mare Street. Picture: Rachel Shnapp. - Credit: Archant

This week I had the pleasure of visiting Caldera, the newly opened Mexican eatery on Mare Street.

Caldera on Mare Street. Picture: Patricia Tobin.

Caldera on Mare Street. Picture: Patricia Tobin. - Credit: Archant

Caldera, meaning a method of cooking in which you put all the ingredients in one big pot, does just that. The menu, half of which you won't be familiar with, blends traditional Mexican meals with the best bits from other cultures, like their kimchi tofu tacos, and their salmon poke bowl with quinoa and guac. Don't be put off by your unfamiliarity with some of the dishes, Caldera is anything but pretentious - there's even a glossary at the bottom of the menu so you know what's what.

The space itself is huge, meaning it's perfect for a big old pal catch-up or a birthday bash. Yet it feels far more intimate than the size would suggest - there are plant-enclosed booths you can tuck yourself away in, or sit up at the corrugated-iron bar and watch the colourful cocktails being expertly made.

The drinks menu offers a range of different flavours of margaritas and other house favourites. I opted for the passionfruit and chilli margarita, which arrived adorned with a chilli-topped rim and fresh chilli devil horns. Although it is spicier than cocktails you are used to, the sweetness from the fresh passionfruit cools you down straight away, leaving your mouth deliciously zinging.

The same attention to detail is carried through the entire menu, from the chips and guac (both homemade - and will have you poking your head through the open kitchen to see where they get their tomatoes from) to the pinto beans (potentially the best pinto beans you'll find on this side of the Atlantic), to the more complicated plates.

Caldera on Mare Street. Picture: Patricia Tobin.

Caldera on Mare Street. Picture: Patricia Tobin. - Credit: Archant

The food is served beautifully, on an assemblage of ceramic and painted bowls. A table favourite was the chicken quesadilla - a perfect example of authentic street food made in a modern way, served with various sauces and the ideal amount of filling - so you have the bonus of being able to eat it without making a total mess of yourself (a definite plus for first dates!)

The habanero and jackfruit sauce served with the poussin is also really special. If you are looking to treat yourself, Caldera is a must. You'll leave very full and very satisfied (and very content with the price of the bill too!)

Caldera, 8 Monohaus, 143 Mare Street, E8 3FW. Follow them on Instagram here.