Review: Mendoza Square, Clapham North
Style Points: 2/5
Welcome to Latin America, well as much of it as you're going get in Zone 2. Vibrant and bold furnishings with an outdoor patio seating area, Mendoza Square is located directly adjacent to the train station and amidst the buzzing area of Clapham North.
To add to the whole cool and quirky theme of the restaurant the menus here are cleverly disguised as newspapers!
Would I Want Seconds?
First up, we decide to go for rum cocktails. I order the Amigo Rum Punch - a mixture of almond, fruity and citrus, if I closed my eyes I could pretend I was on a beach in Cancun! My guest orders the Dark and Stormy Rum with ginger beer - a strong taste of rum with a fiery kick of ginger. Cocktails are £7.50 or 4 for £20. Mendoza Square also offers a selection of wines, beers, spirits, virgin cocktails, soft and hot drinks.
After much deliberation, for starters I decided to order the Gambas al ajillo (Uruguayan £8.50). The prawns were served with the shell tails on, rich in a tasty spicy (chilli and garlic) sauce, and with triangle slices of toast and topped with a generous sprinkling of coriander. My guest's Chicharron de calamar (Peruvian £6.95) Calamari starter was really chewy, a little overcooked, this was served with a lemon wedge, a sprinkling of paprika and garlic mayo sauce.
Before ordering my main course, I asked what the difference between the Gaucho and Rib-Eye cuts were and the waitress wasn't certain but advised that the Gaucho is smaller. I opted for the Chargrilled Gaucho 8oz steak (£13.50) with portobello mushroom and asked for it to be served medium with Argentinian chimmychurri marinade (an extra £1.00), again it arrived a little overcooked but had a nice flavour and the sweet potato fries (always a favourite) went down well and had a nice consistency.
My guest opted for the Firecracker chicken burger (£11.95), the chicken burger was served in a breaded coating with cheese, chipotle mayo and salad. Again, it was quite overcooked but other than that tasted pleasant and was served again with sweet potato fries.
Gambas al ajilo
Gambas al ajilo
Out of the four dessert options there were no dairy-free choices so I ordered the Chocolate fudge brownie (£5.50) without ice cream. The waitress offered to bring it with ice cream on the side so I thought I'd give this to my guest. The brownie arrived with a side of vanilla ice cream and then another helping of vanilla ice cream. If only I could eat it, I'd be over the moon! I picked at the ice cream a little bit as it goes perfectly with hot choc desserts and I didn't want it to go to waste. The brownie was moist with little chocolate chips but it was said to have a gooey centre which did not seem to transpire as described.
My guest ordered the Cuban Coffee creme brûlée (£5.50). This dessert had a tasty twist on the classic, as I enjoyed the caramelised sugar layer but not so much the texture of the creamy layer.
Firecracker chicken burger
Could I Afford Seconds?
Mendoza Square is a fairly priced restaurant which adds to its popularity in the local area. Starters range from £4.50 - £8.50 and main courses can cost between £10 - £17. There are special dishes which cost slightly more such as the starter Sharing platter for £12.50 and the Mendoza meat sampler for £46. Mendoza Square also serves brunch with a Latin twist every weekend from 10am - 5pm. There are a few options on the brunch menu including Steak and eggs and Buttermilk pancakes which cost between £8 - £12.
Chocolate Fudge Brownie
Despite our meals being overcooked and there being a slight miscommunication on the dairy-free request, the staff were otherwise attentive and hospitable particularly when it got too windy outside and we decided to move indoors.
I can see the restaurant is popular as they had guests popping in for dinner for different occasions such as dates, girlie catch-ups and family meals.
Overall, I really enjoyed the relaxed atmosphere and the music took me back to my Cuban holiday, perhaps the Chef just had the grill a notch too high for our tastes.