I can probably count the number of times that I’ve disembarked at East Putney station on one hand, and few of those times have been for restaurant reasons. Most recently however, I took the lesser-traveled Wimbledon branch of the District Line to visit El Patron, the new tongue-in-cheek Mexican dining, drinking and dancing spot on the Upper Richmond Road.
I was running late, and when I arrived my sister was already working her way through the cocktail menu. Tequila makes her happy it seems – which is lucky, because El Patron has one of the largest tequila offerings in all of London, which it pours generously into cocktails (~£8) like Escobar’s Secret, an exotic concoction of mezcal, crème de mure, vanilla, lime, apple and ginger beer served in a jam jar, and Jalapeno & Blood Orange Margaritas. If you’re not into tequila, there’s nothing for you here!
The basement bar was already pretty busy by 7pm, and it stays open till late, making it a lively choice for drinking and dancing – particularly on Fridays and Saturdays when a house band or resident DJs make an appearance. It’s a vibrant space based on Latin America’s most iconic country, with a striking interior and cocktails served in sugar skull mugs.
Food-wise, there’s all the usual Mexican street food items on offer, all at very low prices. I’d recommend ordering quesadillas – hot and cheese-heavy, they’re just £5 for a hearty stack.
Oh and definitely definitely start with tortilla chips and fresh guacamole – the chips are fresh, fried and crispy, and were the show-stealer of the meal (though clearly far from healthy!).
Unusual side dishes of fried sweet potato and a perfectly ripe avocado and mango salad were great too, though the tacos were nothing of great note.
There’s no dessert menu, just churros – and they were the best churros I’ve had in London. Other restaurants fry the doughnut sticks to death, but El Patron’s had crisp, sugar-cinnamon shells and hot, soft centres, with a caramel sauce drizzled over the large pile. One plateful is definitely enough for two to share.
El Patron won’t blow your mind, but it will soak you in tequila and stuff you with guacamole, and that’s a pretty good way to spend an evening.
El Patron also runs Mexican brunch parties every Saturday – think bottomless José Cuervo frozen margaritas and a build-your-own breakfast burrito menu, all to the tune of live Latin entertainment. I can’t think of a better hangover cure in all of London!
Meal for two, with cocktails and service, about £70.
141 Upper Richmond Road, Putney, SW15 2TX
Bookings: firstname.lastname@example.org / 020 8396 6350