Margarita Madness! Magical Bottomless Brunch at Ella Canta
February 7, 2018
For a fiery feast with a feminine touch, fine dining Mexican restaurant Ella Canta with the prestigious address of No. 1 Park Lane at the Intercontinental Hotel will satisfy your every craving!
Celebrated chef Martha Ortiz whose Mexico City restaurant Dulce Patria is recognised in the World’s Top 50 Restaurants list, has created something very special for us Londoners to really shout about, lucky then that translated, Ella Canta means ‘she sings!’
Mixing up old traditions with a modern Mexican twist, dishes have big bold smokey flavours with a femininity and sensuality which you’d think would be hard to balance, but Ortiz manages to get this just right.
Currently, Ella Canta is packed out every night of the week, riding the Mexican wave of culinary trends, but we visited instead, on a rainy weekend in January, hoping to perk up our spirits with the unlimited margarita bottomless brunch which is available every Saturday and Sunday.
Immediately brightening our day, were the hostesses we were greeted by. Frida Kahlo-esque in style, with flamboyant floral head dress, bespoke outfits and mesmerising oversized earrings.
The restaurant itself is a work of art – seriously, stunningly beautiful. Courtesy of David Collins Studio, the interior design captures the essence of Mexico with a truly luxurious feel. Rich, glossy mosaic tiling sets off the lavish 50 meter carved walnut screen which runs the length of the restaurant, serving as a partition between areas. Reptilian effect table tops shimmer – they’re actually hand-made cracked egg shells which have been lacquered and the craftsmanship really shows. The place is truly exquisite.
The magic begins as soon as you order your first margarita. That heady hit of tequila followed by the familiar sharp, sweet and sour hit of triple sec and lemon all in one fairly weight punch, the perfect start to a theatrical experience which over 90 minutes, saw each dish which was brought to the table, more beautiful than the previous.
We started with the thrill of fresh corn chips which we hungrily loaded with creamy guacamole. Topped with ricotta cheese and pomegranate seeds, this dish also came with a little surprise – how about a golden grasshopper?! (‘It tasted powdery’ my brave, experimental friend told me later…)
Bite-sized moreishly-moist fried pork crackling followed with a spicy salsa – the chilies come from Ortiz’s native Mexican and boy, can you tell… After firing up our tastebuds, the next course was an enticing array of oysters and ceviche decorated with dainty flowers. The ceviche proved too hot for me, but the oysters were that perfect combo of texture and taste, salt and heat, courtesy of the tomatillo granite… very very addictive.
A multitude of multicoloured quesadillas stuffed were another very pleasant starter – the wild mushrooms, a pleasing pasty-like pocket of hearty, meaty umami.
Choosing a ‘main act’ each from the list of equally impressive sounding dishes was tricky. We made a joint decision on the Barbacoa maize tamale – strongly seasoned, slow roasted and served on a banana leaf; and the Lobster tail – juicy and saliva-inducing with a hearty, robust black bean chorizo and flour tortillas to ensure a true stuffed-so-you-can’t-move state.
We decided to forgo dessert, but it came anyway – a shimmery gorgeous floral and fruit churros chunk of heaven with radiant freshly picked strawberries and the brightest of flowers. The churros was all of that sugary New York side street goodness, but refined. Even the caramel glistened with a magical sparkle of fairy dust. Or was that just one margarita too many?
Ella Canta is no ordinary dining experience, and brunch really will seduce you with something quite special. Just make sure you don’t make plans afterwards – the tequila induced haze takes some hours to lift…