Tom Parker Bowles & Olly Smith: Consuming out

Tom is thrilled to trace down genuine Mexican fare within the least probably of places

Home-style food this good outside Mexico? ‘Wonderful’, says Tom

Dwelling-style meals this good exterior Mexico? ‘Fantastic’, says Tom

Jonathan Gold, the late and inarguably nice restaurant critic of the Los Angeles Occasions, as soon as wrote that ‘the only option is all the time the restaurant quarter-hour additional than you might be keen to go.’ As ever, he was proper. As a result of A la Mexicana is an effective hike for many Brummies, not to mention this train-tied Londoner, located in Bearwood, a western suburb that isn’t even technically a part of Birmingham. However impressed by a rave overview from the ever-reliable Meat and One Veg weblog, my solely actual concern was how rapidly I might be there for lunch.

A la Mexicana is just not notably good, being little greater than a small room – with an open kitchen and freestanding drinks fridge – wedged between massive electrical showrooms, on an unlovely stretch of Midlands A-road. What it’s, although, is nice. Superb certainly. A tv sits in a single nook, blaring out Mexican journey exhibits, whereas brilliant papel picado (punched-paper banners) flutter from the ceiling. José Galindez, heat and gently garrulous, runs entrance of home whereas his spouse, Patricia, cooks. For the time being, it’s BYO. However anyplace with ice-cold bottles of Mandarin Jarritos is ok by me.

Tortillas are made contemporary every day. As are the salsas, 5 in whole, starting from delicate, chunky pico de gallo by wealthy, smoky chipotle to a fierce little habañero quantity that melds fruit with hearth. Guacamole is creamily luscious and sharp with lime. I eat chilaquiles – contemporary fried tortilla chips slathered in a piquant tomato sauce, lavished with contemporary cheese, bitter cream and slim shards of radish. Two immaculately fried eggs sit on prime. The artwork lies in that distinction between soggy and crisp, sharp and candy. All certain collectively within the yolk’s concupiscent embrace.

Tacos al pastor – the pork crisp, charred and stained crimson with achiote – carry a small, grasping tear to my eye. Tiny chunks of pineapple add acidity, whereas uncooked onions present important crunch. Carnitas tacos are equally nice, gentle strands of fine pig, gradual cooked in lard. The tortillas themselves, small and simply chewy, are scented with masa and the Mexican avenue. All put on as many salsas as I can pile on, and dribble as they’re devoured.

A la Mexicana is the kind of home-style, family-owned place you’ll discover throughout Mexico. However to have someplace this glorious, in a distant Birmingham suburb, is nothing wanting miraculous. Viva Mexico. Viva Bearwood. And viva la familia Galindez.

About £15 per head. A la Mexicana, 175 Sandon Street, Bearwood, Smethwick; alamexicana.information



DRINKS: Olly’s mighty Malbecs 

On this chilly season, the subsequent smartest thing to a roaring hearth is a glass of warming Malbec. Its fruit is all the time deep and darkish – think about a mulberry eloping with a stick of liquorice. In Argentina, which has claimed Malbec as its signature crimson grape, it’s a traditional steak pairing, however sensible too with smoky dishes and even wealthy umami glazes in Japanese recipes. And blue cheese with Malbec is a style sensation. 

WINE OF THE WEEK Viñalba Malbec Touriga Nacional Reserve 2019 (14.5%), £9.99, Majestic. A mighty blend: sumptuous, slick, fragrant and rich – the complete warming package.

WINE OF THE WEEK Viñalba Malbec Touriga Nacional Reserve 2019 (14.5%), £9.99, Majestic. A mighty mix: luxurious, slick, aromatic and wealthy – the whole warming bundle.

Specially Selected Malbec 2020 (14.5%), £5.79, Aldi. Sleek and bold as an inflatable plum, this Argentinian red is a steal for midweek sipping.

Specifically Chosen Malbec 2020 (14.5%), £5.79, Aldi. Modern and daring as an inflatable plum, this Argentinian crimson is a steal for midweek sipping.

Fairtrade Irresistible Organic Malbec 2019 (13%), £7.50, Co-op. There’s an exotic aroma and liquorice depth to this ace value Fairtrade gem. Seek it!

Fairtrade Irresistible Natural Malbec 2019 (13%), £7.50, Co-op. There’s an unique aroma and liquorice depth to this ace worth Fairtrade gem. Search it!

Tilimuqui Fairtrade Organic Malbec 2020 (13%), £7.99, Waitrose. On offer (down from £11.99) until 2 November and a scented, splendid red to stock up on.

Tilimuqui Fairtrade Natural Malbec 2020 (13%), £7.99, Waitrose. On provide (down from £11.99) till 2 November and a scented, splendid crimson to fill up on.

Catena Malbec 2019 (13.5%), £12.50, Luxuriant red with fantastic concentration and richness. A full-throttle bottle.

Catena Malbec 2019 (13.5%), £12.50, Luxuriant crimson with unbelievable focus and richness. A full-throttle bottle.