Mexico by Kitchen Theory

Posted on Wednesday, 18th November 2015


Mexico by Kitchen Theory is a collaborative gastronomic project founded by Jozef Youssef who has worked at the Fat Duck, Helene Darroze at The Connaught, The Dorchester Hotel and is also the author of Molecular Gastronomy at Home. Kitchen Theory began as a website aimed at sharing knowledge in the field of gastronomy covering topics such as food science, food culture, food history, multisensory flavour perception, neurogastronomy and molecular gastronomy which has now manifested into experimental dinners, workshops and guest talks.

Mexico by Kitchen Theory is a labour of love, with Chef Youssef having spent over a month in Mexico researching the project, delving into the country’s rich culinary history and working with top Mexican chefs. He has also teamed up with Oxford University’s Professor Charles Spence, the head of the Crossmodal Research Laboratory. Professor Spence is interested in how people perceive the world around them, particularly, how our brains process the information from each of our different senses (such as smell, taste, sight, hearing, and touch) to form the extraordinarily rich multisensory experiences that fill our daily lives. Together the pair is working towards a remarkable sensory dining experience as part of ‘the chef and the scientist’. With Mexico by Kitchen Theory, the idea is to shatter the UK perception that Mexican cuisine is mostly based on Tex-Mex and rather, it can be a sophisticated Central American fare with a refined, modern, multisensory twist.

We tried a beautiful four-course lunch menu which began with the ‘Holy Trinity’ of corn, beans, and chilli. The starter was so called as corn, beans and chilli have historically formed the ‘holy trinity’ of the Mexican diet, providing a balance of proteins and vitamins. This course was delightful, with a beautifully textured refried bean puree topped with grilled corn in husks, some soaked guajillo chilli chiffonade and huitlacoche which is similar to corn fungus or Mexican truffle.

Mexico by Kitchen Theory - London Food Blog - Holy Trinity

Mexico by Kitchen Theory – Holy Trinity

In Mexico, insects have formed part of the staple diet for centuries and are nutritious and full of protein. By including insects on the menu, this is part of a larger trend of bringing traditional Mexican elements back to the table and giving them value they deserve, as well as recognising the part they have played in Mexican cooking for centuries. The next course was El Chapulin Colorado, tostadas with hearts of palm and octopus ceviche, onions, cucumber and jalapenos in an aguachile marinade with avocado cream and a coriander cress garnish. On the side was a piece of fried grasshopper, which added both flavour and seasoning. The filling was delicious and wonderfully fresh, and the tostadas were thin and crispy.

Mexico by Kitchen Theory - London Food Blog - Tostadas

Mexico by Kitchen Theory – Tostadas

The meat course was ‘An offering to the Gods’ a superbly executed dish of grilled venison served medium rare. In the Yucatan region, venison had ritual as well as culinary significance, since it was often prepared as an offering to the gods. Here the venison was presented with pumpkin puree, mole negro, burnt tortilla powder, worm powder, tortilla and grilled spring onion nest and a coffee oil aroma to produce a dish of complex and exciting proportions.

Mexico by Kitchen Theory - London Food Blog - Venison

Mexico by Kitchen Theory – Venison

Mexican vanilla is the original vanilla, and the Veracruz region of Papantla is the only place in the world where it grows naturally and where the Melipona Bee is the exclusive pollinator of its flower. For our dessert we had the glorious ‘vanilla and the bee’, a sumptuously moist vanilla cake with cinnamon and honey pearls, Mexican honey, smoked maldon salt, chia and vanilla crisps, smoked honey cream and a scent of chamomile.

Mexico by Kitchen Theory - London Food Blog - Honey & the bee

Mexico by Kitchen Theory – London Food Blog – Honey & the bee

Mexico by Kitchen Theory was a truly complete dining experience. The cooking was elegant and refined, with each dish being highly complex and well thought out. During the meal we were also offered the use of spray scents to supplement the sensations of the food and shown videos to enhance the story of our menu. With all these additional elements and the excellent cooking, Mexico by Kitchen Theory offered a truly exciting insight into a refined, modern and multisensory Mexican dining experience. This was one of the more interesting dining experiences I have had this year, and at £32 for a four-course lunch, I thought one of the best value ones. I highly recommend Mexico by Kitchen Theory. Check out their website for remaining dates this year.


1) The originality of the concept.
2) The excellent cooking.
3) The freshness of the ingredients.
4) The menu was very reasonably priced.

1) None.

Food rating: 4.5/5

Prices: Four-course lunch was £32 excluding drinks and service.


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