Mayfair's Ella Canta isn't your average Mexican restaurant: the woman behind it is Martha Ortiz, whose Dulce Patria restaurant in Mexico City has established her as one of the country’s most celebrated chefs. I interviewed Martha a few years ago when Ella Canta was preparing to open and she enchanted me with her artist's eye for food. I remember thinking that she might create something special here on Park Lane. So, I was excited to finally visit and try the restaurant’s bottomless Tulum Brunch.
Ella Canta’s latest brunch series is inspired by Mexico’s coastal region of Tulum, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that overlooks the Caribbean Sea. Ella Canta is fairly formal, but in the name of Tulum there's a DJ playing uptempo, latino-tinged beats and joyous dance interludes from a trio of energetic women. They stomp and clap their way around the dining room, spinning in multicoloured, voluminous dresses and flashing smiles at diners – it's really fun and certainly wakes you up.
Ninety minutes of unlimited Margaritas, however, will certainly make you sleepy again. There are three on offer, from short to long, blending ingredients such as blood orange, grapefruit and hibiscus. These are accomplished, well-made and strong drinks and the staff do a great job of keeping them coming, so expect to get merry; I urge you to capitalise on the offer of extra tortillas during the main course.
That main course includes warmed tortillas and a choice of fillings, from which to make soft tacos. Either side of that, diners choose from four starters and four desserts. I opted for seabass ceviche to start, which was a fairly dainty amount of some of the best ceviche I've had in London: the fish chunks were sizeable, just firm enough and wet with the juice of pineapples and limes. My main-course tacos came with shredded pork and delectable, mild sauces on the side. We also ordered the Zarandeado-style fish, which arrives open and ready to peel from the bones, dressed in a Pasilla sauce. There’s a lot to eat and all of it is delicious, so don't be scared to ask for more dips and tortillas.
My guest was quite late and the Tulum Brunch slots are 90 minutes, so we inevitably ran out of time (in fact, we were served at our table for two hours). The staff are happy to move diners into the bar area for dessert however, so there’s no need to feel like you need to rush your meal. From the desserts we picked I would recommend the rice pudding. With rum and raisin ice cream, it could be very rich but it’s handled delicately, the rice pudding covered with a thin sheet of multicoloured meringue to be shattered.
If you’re looking for high-class food and fun in the middle of the day, Ella Canta’s Tulum Brunch will elevate your London weekend. My major tip? Eat something small but substantial before you arrive. That way, those free-flowing drinks won’t get the better of you.
The Tulum Brunch series continues at Ella Canta on 15 Jun & 20 Jul 2019
3 courses £39pp; 3 courses with 90 mins unlimited Margaritas or sparkling wine £49pp
One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, W1J 7QY
020-7318 8715 | firstname.lastname@example.org
The Tulum Brunch includes 90 minutes of unlimited Margaritas or sparkling wine
Dancers take over the dining room at regular intervals during brunch
Ella Canta's dining room looks out onto Park Lane