GREENWICH — There’s no need to jump on the next plane to Texas to get your fix of Tex-Mex food. Instead, hop on a train heading to Greenwich in southeast London.
Around the corner from Greenwich Park sits Café Sol, a snug corner restaurant that serves up familiar culinary delights from steaks, fish, ribs and burgers to chimichangas, fajitas, enchiladas and burritos.
The cantina is a change of pace to the pub grub and Indian cuisine that overwhelm this country. Inside, there is even a touch of home with the flair of southern-themed restaurants commonly found in the States.
Sombreros, plus Mexican and U.S. flags, are draped over the entrance to the dining area, which has about 20 tables to pop a squat on. A few of the tables are leaned up against the windows, so you can watch people scurry along Nelson Road as you relax indoors.
One of the restaurant’s walls is covered in a huge colorful mural of a Mexican town, with portraits of mariachi band members hanging above it.
A tiny bar with a short line of barstools is found before the dining area. On the weekends, this area is filled with drinkers sipping on cocktails while mingling or waiting for a table to open up.
"It has a lively, unique atmosphere," said Memo Halit, the restaurant’s general manager.
No surprise, margaritas are the most popular concoctions at the bar. The drinks start at 4.50 pounds and come in different flavors, such as original, banana, mango, peach and strawberry. For an authentic look, each margarita is served in a shallow glass with salt sprinkled on the rim.
No matter how nice that margarita tastes, food will always be the restaurant’s main feature. Its Tex-Mex dishes range from 10 to 14 pounds, while burgers cost between 5 and 8 pounds.
Those in search of hot, habañero pepper-laced dishes, however, may be disappointed. Most of the dishes here are on the mild side, Halit said.
"They’re not as hot as you’d get in Mexico, but our customers say they quite enjoy it," he said.
Also, don’t count on the complimentary chips and salsa typically seen at Mexican eateries back home. This place doesn’t do that. Halit said, however, if a patron were to order a dipping sauce, the chips would then come free.
And although the restaurant may not have any Mexican employees, it still has an "attractive" international crew from Poland, Portugal, Brazil and Asia, Halit claimed.
"We have the best-looking waitresses and waiters in town," he said, laughing.
Location: 13 Nelson Road, Greenwich, SE10 9JB. The place is around the corner from Greenwich Park. The closest Docklands Light Railway station is Cutty Sark.
Food: Various Tex-Mex dishes ranging from 5 pounds up to 14 pounds.
Drinks: Margaritas are the drink of choice starting at 4.50 pounds.
Hours: Open every day from noon to midnight.
Clientele: Families dominate the daytime, while partygoers between 25 to 45 years old flock here at night.