The Ultimate London Nacho: The Brockley Mess

Where? The Brockley Mess, 325 Brockley Rd SE4 2QZ

This has been, in the words of Alfred Tennyson, an effing good fortnight for nachos. After the gritty authenticity of the deliciously filthy Santo, next up comes one of those experiences that hit you seemingly from nowhere. Like, for example, if you were in a creche and an anvil fell on a priest.

The Brockley Mess is an unassuming, un-Mexican, yet pretty posh cafe-cum-art-gallery on Brockley Road in Brockley. Near Brockley station. That’s Brockley, in case you’re blind/not able to read things without adequate repetition. Chic, airy and serving things like skinny mocha latte cakes, not only did the chef prepare these nachos with homemade guacamole and salsa, but he layered a lovely chipotle bean mixture throughout the dish.

It’s even sprinkled with paprika, illustrating how much care and thought went into these chos. He didn’t absent mindedly throw some cheese on top, stick them in the microwave and serve with potted, cold sauces. The chos were just as artistically striking as the gallery (although I didn’t see the gallery due to serious cho consumption) and probably tasted better.

After refusing to  provide the recipe for his guacamole (aside from admitting it contains avocados) chef, top sound designer and good friend of Nacho Times Adam Aguiar then posed for a picture.

… in which he looks like a mad Mexican chef lunatic. But one who deserves a place in the Nacho Times hall of fame. We’ll pass over the fact that there’s no hall and, currently, contains only one picture. But maybe I’ll start one.

The great thing about the nachos, though, is the relish that just kept on going. Slightly sodden with the sheer quantity of top class salsa and near-perfect guac, there was neither cheese adhesive nor a bald cho in sight. I nearly wanted to use a fork, but didn’t which, as everyone hopefully now realises, is the ideal in terms of cho texture (CT).

There were no jalapenos but when the remainder is this good, fresh and akin to dropping an anvil on a priest, who needs them?

Ultimate London Nacho? It’s got to be a 5. More Tex Mex than Santo’s black bean ode to Mexicana, these were just as fantastic- proof that The Brockley Mess is certainly anything but. <insert applause for pithy end sentence>

The Ultimate London Nacho: Santo, Notting Hill

Where: Santo, Portobello Road W10 5TD

The size of the jalapenos sums up the boldness of these authentic, yet sort of excitingly filthy chos. Salsa? Get bent. Bean dip? Hop on. The experience was like being chafed by a sombrero to the upbeat strains of “La Cucaracha”.

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The chips are hand-cut, thick and spiced. The guacamole is a chunk-fest. The cheese is warm.  The waiter fixes our wonky table with some paper and makes an amusing joke. The whole thing gets a bit overwhelming to be honest and, what? Yes, "our table". You thought I went to restaurants and ate nachos by myself? Well, occasionally, but that's for my other blog entitled Why It's Okay To Always Eat Alone.

Back to the chos in hand, where the portion size was huge and the relish plentiful, just like Jesus (I've never read the Bible). There was layering. Yes, layering not only of the cheese but of the sauce. It got to the stage where my dining partner said: "they're really wet" and I replied: "I almost want to use a fork, but I won't". This is the crux- a fork was considered, but never used, as nachos should be sauce-laden, but never to the point where a fork is a necessity. There were even some cubes of tofu on there, unobtrusively tucked to one side in the event of the eater despising tofu. What a nice protein-rich gesture.

Erm, they were £10. That's an issue, but these are seriously filling chos and I was unable to complete the main course. For anyone interested, it was a burrito which cost £350.

Ultimate London Nacho? They have to get a 5. As I’ve yet to visit every eaterie in London selling nachos, this means Santo are the Ultimate London Cho SO FAR. 

WILL THEY EVER BE BEATEN? OH THE EXCITEMENT. I’VE JUST WET MYSELF. (For more anecdotes of this nature, visit my other blog Incontinent Fun Times)

Chaws From T’Leeds (Nachos in Leeds)

Leeds is a fine city. Not only is it the 30th most populated of the European Union, but also has its roots in the wool industry. As we can all agree, wool is great. Any term that sounds like an ejaculation of surprise gets top marks in my books.

Anyway, thanks to Gina (younger sibling of the founder of Nacho Times) we have spread our cho reach to West Yorkshire. Find yourself in Leeds with a thirst for the Holy Cho Fountain (HCF)? Then pop into A Nation of Shopkeepers on Cookridge Street. No, I don’t know where the hell that is either and yes, it does sound utterly mental. Look it up on google maps or something (other maps are available)

Iya y’alriiight? Ahm a leeeeeeds chawwwww (translation: Hello, are you alright? I’m a Leeds Cho)

Apparently these bad boys were quite tasty. Loads of salsa, loads of soured cream, loads of cheese but fatally, no guacamole. OK so it’s not the end of the world, but you’re never going to get over 3.5 if you mess with the big four. Jalapeños were present.

Interestingly we’re seeing more and more layered chos coming out of the mexicana woodwork. Perhaps this is due to the very blog you’re reading, but I doubt it. We’re not established enough. I tried to get free nachos the other day and was rebuffed.

The layering meant that, obviously, baldness was kept to a minimum so despite the lack of guac, you’re definitely in for a treat. On Cooksville road. In Leeds.

Ultimate UK Nacho? No, but it gets a solid 3.5. Oh I already wrote that earlier on so the surprise has been ruined. Sorry.  

Ultimate London Nacho: The Texan Embassy

It’s been all quiet on the nacho front mainly due to me being in Norfolk. Nachos were few and far between (i.e. there weren’t any) but there was a lot of fish produce. 

Thankfully Neil, of One Leg Too Few and the utterly brilliant @band_wagon that sees him tweeting trends a decade after they’ve happened (follow him) went to the Texan Embassy. Then only nearly found the Ultimate London Nacho. Bastard. What’s more annoying is his eloquent review so I think I’m going to have to up my game.

Take it away, Neil…

Place: The Texan Embassy, Trafalgar Square

I had high expectations of these nachos as this is a dedicated tex mex restaurant of some repute. So dedicated, in fact, that it refers to itself as ‘a cantina’ and there are signs about the place telling you how far it is to Texas (4,440 miles). Sitting up one end of the table with all the adults talking politely about politics whilst my little sister and seven of her equally giggly friends drank soft drinks in celebration of her 14th birthday, our starters came at an opportune time, given I’d just been asked a tricky question about Nick Clegg’s foreign policy by an old aunt who had a moustache I’d forgotten about and now couldn’t stop staring at. 


They were always going to taste pretty good, given that I wasn’t paying, but these chos were a thing of beauty. Delightfully proportioned, the chos-to-share came replete with healthy dollops of cream and guacamole, both of which were fresh, cold and full of flavour. Nachos themselves were pleasantly warm, neither too hard nor too soft, with minimal ‘filler’ – the broken detritus that often makes up for half a dish in these dystopian (nacho) times (see what I did there?) which prohibit effective sauce scooping and generally contribute to annoyance and salsa covered trousers. 

The cheese was what really made it, permeating the chos in a layering system that seemed to consistently provide toppings for each handful. God bless the anti-glooper that works in their kitchen. He (or she?) is doing sterling work. Good strategic approach, Texan embassy, and classily executed alongside a tomato salsa and jalepeno pepper (also very fresh) scattergun layout that I haven’t seen before, but brought personality and spice to the table.

The icing on the cake? The inclusion of chicken and refried beans alongisde the chos. Wow. So many options, so many combinations, so many reasons to regret saying I’d share these with my girlfriend.

Ultimate London Nacho? Tasty chos? Certainly. Enough to put me off my Aunt’s moustache? Just. But that’s a pretty big achievement.  4.5 out of 5, as the cheese got a little hard as we got to the bottom. 

The Nacho Times Nachos (Attempt #1)

There’s only so long you can critique the chos of others before you realise you should probably have a go yourself and so The Nacho Times presents: Nacho Times Nachos Attempt #1. No, they didn’t turn out perfectly. Which is a bit awkward.

It did, however, involve layering of both sauce and cheese.

Layer one is as follows:

The finish product is as follows:

I think you’ll agree they look banging. Ideal distribution on each of the three (yes three) layers was achieved by dotting the relish across the cho plain. Cheese and jalapenos were then added before introducing the next layer. Did I microwave it? Obviously not. No, I put it in the oven. Which was the fatal error.

Baking nachos meant the consistency of the chos turned to water. Soggy flaccid chos like bits of paper submerged in a salsa pond. A spond. The chips used were Doritos Chili Heatwave and they responded more like Doritos Wet Wimpy Bastards. Or rather, Glooped Chos.

Because of this, forks had to be employed which is a clear breach of Nacho Law. They’re made to be finger food so if you have to crack out the cutlery, tell those chos to Fork Right Off (pun). The lesson of the day was: to avoid Glooped Chos, bake each layer separately. Time consuming but worth it in the end.

The clear winner of the evening was the guacamole. Recipe to follow. Finally The Nacho Times has discovered the perfect way to make this avocadoey dip, without it having the appearance of boiled vomit.

So at least some good came of it.

Ultimate London Nacho: The Beehive

Place: The Beehive, Vauxhall

As Sophocles once said: “There’s nothing more satisfying than nachos and bees.”

Sadly, The Beehive chos priced at £4.50 and sampled by Nachoist Katy from Londonfood4afiver appear, at first glance, more wasplike (wasps are bald. See, the analogy works)

  Just look at the cheese adhesive and inevitable mass clumping. Oh Beehive, why don’t you stick to what you do best? Which is… layering apparently. Oh hello curveball.

For the first time in Ultimate London Nacho history, we’ve hit upon the goldmine of the tex mex world. Yes, The Beehive layer their cheese throughout their chos. Oh stop I’ve come over all emotional. I’m crying. I’M CRYING ALL OVER THE BEES.

Quote from Katy: “The cheese layering was exquisite. Everytime I thought there was no more cheese, more appeared…”

Unfortunately the guac tasted like toothpaste which proves maybe you can’t have it all. Everytime a chef gets it right, they balance it out with something incredibly wrong. Like Colgate. The rule of thumb is, if you add mint to guacamole, it becomes GuacaNO. And it’s just a bit weird, really.

One day… one day…

Ultimate London Nacho? Sadly not due to bizarre mint guac, but the layering definitely brings it up to a commendable level: 3.5/5

Layering Cheese on Nachos

It’s a much talked about topic in the fact that nobody talks about it. But I think they should.

Yes, that’s right. The distribution of cheese on Nachos. As the wonderful Joe from London Food 4 A Fiver once said: “I’ve layered the cheese throughout so there won’t be any hairless nachos”

He said this after making some great candid chos. Unfortunately, the picture is unavailable.

Presumably he meant Bald Chos, but regardless of this terminology issue, he had unknowingly hit on a cho goldmine.

Ladies and Gentlemen of the world: layer your cheese. Not only does it eradicate the weird wasteland effect you often get when working through your triangle mountain, but it keeps things interesting. There’s nothing better than being surprised by your own food. Couple this with relish distribution, and you’re away. By relish distribution, I refer to the act of blobbing bits of relish all over the dish, as opposed to three separate large blobs. It’s a technical art.

While we’re on this note, the Ultimate London Nacho (or possibly Ultimate Global Nacho) would also involve layering of relish too. Joe only went for layered cheese, but just think what could have been achieved if he’d gone that extra mile.

Unfortunately he microwaved the crap out the chos, resulting in cheese adhesive but you can’t have everything.