Flavours of Mexico

Posted on Friday, 25th September 2015

Last week, The Cookbook Café at The Intercontinental Hotel on Park Lane played host to the pop-up event, Flavours of Mexico. The event was designed to showcase the best of Mexican food, namely the cooking of Executive Chef Ricardo de la Vega from the award-winning Frida Restaurant at the five-star luxury Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort. Located on Playa del Carmen, the resort is about an hour away from the popular tourist city of Cancun and about three hours from the famous Mexican ruins, Chichen Itzá. More importantly, the resort hugs Mexico’s sublime West Coastline which boasts of pristine sandy beaches and clear, crystal waters.

Flavours of Mexico is no longer running, but I wanted to talk about the event as the food was so delicious. Chef Ricardo de la Vega was born in Mexico City and has worked for some of the best hotels and restaurants in Mexico, and with this experience has developed a style of Mexican food that delicately balances traditional ingredients with modern, refined cooking techniques. Flavours of Mexico showcases some of Chef Ricardo’s dishes from Frida, and it was a chance for Londoners to get a taste of some Mexican fine dining.

For starters, aguachile, green shrimp and scallops, radish, green apple and garlic scented chips (£12) was a very tasty starter. The seafood was wonderfully fresh and the combination with the acidity of the aguachile was well judged. The prawns and scallop were served whole, and although tasty, my preference would have been for the prawns and scallops to have been cut into smaller pieces for a finer texture.

Flavours of Mexico - London Food Blog - Prawns & scallops

Flavours of Mexico – Prawns & scallops

The tortilla soup with fresh cream and roasted chilli pasilla (£9) was also delicious. Tortilla soup is generally a hearty, satisfying and homey dish, and perfect in cold weather. With this version, Chef Ricardo was able to elevate this simple soup to something more elegant. The flavour of the soup was spot on, but with a texture that was more refined then the average versions. Prettily presented, there was use of edible flowers in the dish.

Flavours of Mexico - London Food Blog - Tortilla soup

Flavours of Mexico – Tortilla soup

Beef fillet with fresh panela cheese, poblano chilli and mashed refried beans (£29) proved to be a delicious plate of food. The fillet had been perfectly cooked and was brilliantly tender. The beef combined beautifully with the cheese and the delicate earthy flavour of the beans.

Flavours of Mexico - London Food Blog - Beef fillet

Flavours of Mexico – Beef fillet

Rajas poblanas tamales with panela cheese and smoked tomato sauce (£10) was simple but tasty. The tamales was perhaps a bit thin, but was an excellent example of a typical Mexican dish. The sauce was rich and flavoursome with a delicate kick to it.

Flavours of Mexico - London Food Blog - Tamales

Flavours of Mexico – Tamales

To dessert, and a mole mousse (£10) was really tasty with a lovely, light texture. Accompanying the mousse was a topping of Mexican chocolate dust and some pleasant honey and mole biscuits served on the side.

Flavours of Mexico - London Food Blog - Mole mousse

Flavours of Mexico – Mole mousse

I was really impressed with the food from Chef Ricardo de la Vega and his team from the award-winning Frida restaurant at the five-star luxury Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort. With Flavours of Mexico, Chef Ricardo showed off a more refined and elegant take on traditional Mexican food, without compromising on any of the traditional flavours of Mexcio. His food was delicious, and would no doubt taste even better with the beautiful Grand Velas Riviera Maya Resort as a backdrop.

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Website: http://riviera-maya-grand-velas.com/

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