El Camino is a laid back Mexican cafe, smack bang in the hub of portabello’s Green Market. It moves at an entirely different pace to the world outside, with chilled waiters, easy choices and relaxed tunes, so it makes for a great place for a people watching pit-stop. The tiny room with open grill has a crazy decor (cow skulls, cowboy boots, sombreros) that reminds me of my travelling days. Not my travelling days in Mexico however, where I indulged in some of the best street food I’ve ever eaten, but my younger experience as a backpacker when I craved something familiar but still exotic, somewhere that each weird and wonderful ornament would all spark off a story about another visitor and their time there. I had a Steak Burrito with grilled Bavette Steak (£7.95) and a Pacifico Beer (£3.50). The steak burrito was really juicy, the meat was soft and smokey and the crunchy salads were a nice contrast. I could have eaten a massive bowl of the rich and chocolately black beans (I spent the rest of the day dreaming about how good they would have been topped with crumbled feta, fresh coriander and lime), and the tortilla was soft and light but managed to hold its ground and keep in the tasty juices. The whole thing lacked ummph, it needed spice and seasoning and there was a noted absence of a kick ass salsa. The tortillas were too dry so I asked for guacamole for which I got charged an extra 50p for a tiny pot. A bit ott. It was great though, nice and chunky with a healthy dose of lime.
Best Restaurant in Notting Hill? I think not, but it was good and fun to hang out in. I would have been happier if the total had rounded to under a tenner, especially given the grungy feel and tweeks that the food needed. El Camino has a sister restaurant, El Camion (confusing) in Brewer Street.