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Tread North from Notting Hill Gate, pass the throngs of tourists cramming down Portobello Road looking for bargains and vintage clothes, and eventually you will find yourself turning the corner onto Westbourne Park Road. Away from the crowds take a moment to breath and check Google maps to see which way to turn. Before long you will happen upon a black fronted restaurant with neon frescos and lights adorning the inside. Extremely popular with locals for its fantastic no fuss Mexican food and upbeat atmosphere, Crazy Homies serves as not only a place to enjoy a great dinner, but also a place to begin a great night.
Cram yourselves through the door into the tiny interior and if you are lucky you will be seated quickly, if not simply leave your name and number, and head onto one of the many pubs in the immediate vicinity for a pint and wait for the call.
When you eventually get a table you will be handed a couple of menus, the food menu of course remains of paramount importance, however the second menu is one with which you will not be familiar. Crazy Homies, unlike many other “Mexican” restaurants in London realises the importance of the traditional drinks to go along with the food and provides a Tequila list, which reads like the wine list of a fine dining restaurant. Divided between Blanco, Reposado, Anejal and Mezcal it is difficult to think that you will not find one out of the 36 varieties available worth trying. When your 50ml shot is put down in front of you, fight the urge to cake your hand in salt and search for a lemon, for this is not your average nightclub Tequila slammer. Channel your inner Mexicali and sip slowly, savouring the flavours, enjoying the slight burn as it travels down your throat.
The menu is traditional Mexican food, and as such it will be recognisable to most. For the uninitiated each type of dish carries an explanation to educate. With choices such as toastadas, tacos, burros and enchiladas your task is quite simple. The fillings for all are relatively uniform across each, just pick your filling and how you want it to be wrapped and you are away. Whilst all fillings are worthy of your time I will focus on my favourites and let you decide for yourself when you get there.
The tender spiced chicken is always a good safe choice. Cooked to perfection and shredded it provides intense flavour without being too hot, a gentle tingle on the tongue accompanies each salty, rich bite. For those after a fresher taste the Baja Shrimp provides this in abundance. Lovely cooked shrimp accompanied by fresh pineapple cubes and herbs means this is really a treat for the senses. The salty shrimp is offset perfectly by the sweet pineapple, with the sour lime and coriander creating a wonderfully balanced refreshing flavour. A wonderful surprise and reminder that good Mexican food is not just characterised by stodgy fried beans, rich meats, cheese and chilli.
The Melting Pork Picadillo is a classic Mexican flavoured dish. Heavily spiced, tender pulled pork is served with fresh hot chilli and chipotle sauce to really light up your tastebuds. Not for the faint of heart be prepared to sit sweating in your booth as you take in each delicious hot mouthful.
Your evening at Crazy Homies will no doubt be a very Mexican affair, both in food but also in service. Sometimes frustratingly slow you have to go into it with the right mindset. As the night goes on the restaurant slowly turns into a bar, with revellers stopping in for some of their great Tequila cocktails. Unfortunately the already crammed restaurant does not have the space for this and it tends to be the diners who suffer as increasingly more inebriated guests take up what precious airspace you have. Crazy Homies does great food in a fun atmosphere, but the only way to enjoy your evening to the utmost is to adopt that typical central and south american mindset, something not particularly easy for the average Londoner to do.