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Los Mochis: The Magic of the Yoda Shrine

The hidden gem Los Mochis—in the heart of Notting Hill—transports its customers into an excitingly unique dimension uniting Japanese and Mexican cuisines. The restaurant was founded by Markus Thesleff, who innovatively combined his two favourite cuisines and named the restaurant after his Yorkshire Terrier: Mochi. Describing Los Mochis as a place where Tokyo meets Tulum, Thesleff certainly expresses this intersection through the colourful decorations and mouth-watering food combining the strong flavours of Mexico with the elegant precision of Japanese food. Customers are immediately welcomed by the Yoda shrine, which references the Día de los Muertos and functions as an ode to the Mexican inspiration. The rest of the walls are splattered with colourful and vivid chalk graffiti, the ceiling is covered with vines and dangling lights, and the music is subtle—contributing to a warm, playful ambiance welcoming dates, families, and even big groups.

  


Los Mochis Interior (image courtesy of Lago Starck)


Despite opening in 2021 during the pandemic, with crowds rushing to experience its sensational tastes, this pan-pacific restaurant quickly became a hit and has won multiple awards such as the SME Greater London Award for Best Mexican Cuisine in West London and the New Lifestyle Business of the Year Award. Los Mochis values not only deliciously fresh food but also humanitarianism. Through a partnership with The Felix Project London, for every meal eaten at Los Mochis, a meal is provided to the less fortunate. Through this initiative, over 264,259 meals have been provided to underprivileged people over the past two years. Los Mochis also works with Belu Water to address water and climate crisis issues. Furthermore, on National Dog Day, all money raised through the restaurant’s special Doggy menu is donated to the Silver Fox Dog Rescue, which focuses on rehoming abused dogs.


Regarding the restaurant's drinks, housing one of the UK’s and EU’s largest collections of fine tequilas and mezcals—ranging from big brands to small breweries—Los Mochis’ bar is the perfect destination for all tequila lovers. When it comes to cocktails, my go-to is the Los Mochis Mezcalito (below). Containing Lost Explorer Mezcal Espadín, lime, Cointreau, and a salt rim, the drink is a modern take on the Margarita demonstrating the Mexican Japanese fusion that the restaurant prides itself on. (A tip: if you like your margaritas spicy and enjoy having your mouth slightly on fire, just let the staff know.)




Los Mochis Mezcalito and Crispy California Tostaditos (image courtesy of Lago Starck)


Regarding food, since the menu is gluten, nut, and celery-free and includes minimal dairy, it accommodates numerous dietary needs. Furthermore, only using the finest and most sustainable products, Los Mochis places a premium on the quality of their ingredients. I recommend ordering a couple of plates from the para picar and small plates appetizer section (but make sure you do not fill up on them as you will want to save space for the makis and tacos)! My favourite para picar plate is the Crispy California Tostaditos (above), which is perfect with a drink and as a starter. Crispy on the outside but soft on the inside, the tostadito contains crab, avocado, cucumber, spicy aioli, and a sweet potato shell.


I would then suggest ordering three makis: the spicy tuna (below right), shrimp tempura (below middle), and spicy Hiramassa (below left)—which is also a signature dish. A go-to basic, the spicy tuna is enhanced with gochujang aioli, jalapeño, mint cress, and fresh tuna that melts on the tip of the tongue. The shrimp tempura is similarly elevated with crispy shallots and a transformative sauce. Lastly, the revolutionary spicy Hiramasa, served with its own sauce (not soy), contains yellowtail Hiramasa, avocado, yuzu kosho, spring onion, jalapeño, truffle chili goma, sesame, and mint cress. When it comes to these makis, they are so good that you’ll find yourself fighting over the last piece.



Los Mochis Makis (image courtesy of Lago Starck)


Coming in pairs and filled to the brim, Los Mochis’ tacos are the perfect way to end the meal. From the sea, I suggest the Dynamite Prawn (below right), which contains three perfectly battered juicy prawns on a bed of guacamole— uniquely combining sweet and spicy flavours. From the land tacos, I recommend the Pato Carnitas (below middle) and the Yakiniku (below left), both of which are signature dishes. The former puts a fresh twist on Peking duck and is made of teriyaki duck with cucumber, habanero-cumin hoisin, and pomegranate, and is accompanied by a jalapeño-pineapple salsa. Predominantly soft while also incorporating some crunchy bites, this taco boasts an ever-changing texture. The latter is filled with grass-fed sesame-soy steak mixed with chili-ginger honey and coriander on a base of cabbage and radish. The subtleties of the Yakiniku flavour are indescribable and utterly unique, making this taco either a hit or miss (although I have yet to encounter anyone who has not loved it).



Los Mochis Tacos (image courtesy of Lago Starck)


Los Mochis is also unique as on the first floor, there is a smaller more intimate Omakase restaurant called Juno, which opened in January and provides a private counter-style experience. ‘Omakaese’ is Japanese for ‘I leave it up to you’, consequently indicating that there is no menu and customers place their trust in the chef. Juno stays true to the pan-fusion concept as guests are served 15 dishes blending Japanese and Mexican flavours.



Juno (image courtesy of Los Mochis Press)


If you are not ready to go home after such a satisfying meal, look no farther than just 2 minutes away, where you’ll see Viajante87: a cocktail bar that looks like a speakeasy. With black stairs leading down to the bar, the bar is quite dark until you reach the live DJ and cool ambiance. Split into sections representing the voyages of Latin Americans, the drinks menu has sections entitled ‘Be Comfortable’, ‘Be Curious’, ‘Be Courageous’, ‘Be Present’ and ‘Be Involved’. I ordered the Pisco Sour (below left), which ticked all the right boxes and compelled me to keep ordering one after the other. In addition to drinks, the bar also offers para picar plates, makis, a dance floor, and cork walls in the shape of sand movements—making it the perfect place for a cocktail, snack, dance, or lounge.



Above: Viajante87 Drinks and Interior (image courtesy of Lago Starck)



Above: Los Mochis London City Location (image courtesy of Los Mochis Press)


For all you East Londoners who may find Notting Hill a bit far to venture to, you are lucky as Los Mochis will soon be opening a new location in London City in Spring 2024. This new Los Mochis will launch on the rooftop of 100 Liverpool Street’s Broadgate and customers can expect a new range of outstanding signature dishes and cocktails throughout their two bars. This is not to say, however, that the restaurant won’t remain true to its Mexican Japanese decorations; the walls will mirror those of the Notting Hill Los Mochis with hand-painted murals by Mexican artist, Tellaeche. Moreover, executive chef Leonard Tanyag has already expanded the menu of the Notting Hill Los Mochis and will surely provide the growing fan base with additional new indescribable dishes.



Los Mochis London City Location (image courtesy of Los Mochis Press)


A few final things to note are that although during weekdays you may be able to snag a table by walking in, it is necessary to reserve a table in advance on weekends (20:00 or 21:00 are recommended reservation times since the kitchen closes at 23:00). You want to make sure you have enough time to keep the taco orders rolling! Additionally, the restaurant is cashless, so remember to have your card handy!


Going to Los Mochis is an amazing experience that I would urge you to indulge in. From the aesthetics to the food—everything is impeccable and defies expectations. Los Mochi is definitely not going to disappoint and is perfect for every occasion.



 

Edited by Trisha D. Gupta, Co-Food and Drink Editor

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