Review – La Choza
Situated on Gloucester Road, on the corner of Queens’s Garden, the Mexican street food shack La Choza is very difficult to miss given its garish, bright pink exterior. Having opened last year (2012) to great fan-fare that there was finally an authentic Mexican opening and it was also a street food venture, La Choza soon became the talk of the town.
Upon arrival, I was surprised by La Choza’s lunchtime popularity on a freezing Monday lunchtime, every table was full. The man at the counter offered for us to share a table with a loved up, young couple, which I politely declined and instead waited the 5 minutes for a table to become free.
My friends arrived and after the usual ‘so nice to see you’ conversation, we browsed the menu that had been laid in front of us. The menu itself is broken down into ‘shack snacks’, ‘nachos’ with the main option offering you a choice of base, burrito, quesadilla, tostadas or burrito bowl with a choice of fillings and salsas.
I stated I simply had to order the Calamari – with lime and chipotle mayo (£5.50) from the Shack Snacks menu, as a friend had recommended this dish to me previously. I was tempted by the nachos, but went for a Burrito – with pit smoked pulled pork and green tomato salsa (£7.00) with a can of refreshing 7up to wash everything down.
Presented in a kitsch, neon green plastic dish with a bright pink side salad, the calamari itself was dark, crispy and smelt amazing. Drizzled in half a lime, the small bite sized chunks of deep fried squid were light, crunchy with an oceanic sensation running through them. When dipped into the chipotle mayo, it added an new depth to the flavour and a welcomed smokiness.
The calamari was a terrific start to my experience at La Choza, some of best I’ve had in the city and hats off to Sara for the recommendation!
Next came the burrito. Presented in a similar manner to the calamari, my main was wrapped in foil and unravelling it threw a very good smell of smokey pork. The tortilla was well made and light, holding together the contents well. The smoked pulled pork was just new levels of melt in the mouth deliciousness.
However, I found the green rice to be slightly overpowering of the wrap and there was slightly too much of it. Not being able to tolerate spicy food of any kind, I’d played it safe by ordering a green tomato salsa, which was good but very mild with no hint of spice or chilli at all. I regretted not adding a slight kick to my dish as after a while I did begin to find it slightly bland.
Don’t get me wrong, this was all very nice and I’ll certainly be returning to La Choza. Perhaps I just made some poor menu choices..?
La Choza for is a good foray into Mexican street food. I look forward to their continued success and seeing them again over the summer months, especially to be sitting on their outside tables watching the world go by as I tuck into more-ish calamari and frozen margaritas. Not forgetting they also offer a take-away service, it would be great to pick up some hearty Mexican food and take it down to the beach with some bottles of beer.
Words by Claire Beveridge.