If there’s one holiday I’m prepared to go all-out for, it’s Halloween, aka Gay Christmas. But this year, instead of the frightening inspirations for past costumes (conjoined twins! Bette Davis!), I’m feeling much more Mexican, for their Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is a colourful and kitsch celebration. Luckily some of London’s Mexican restaurants agree with me.
Mayfair is not the obvious place to go for Mexican food – you don’t envisage Masters of the Universe stepping out at lunchtime for enchiladas, rather the much more decorous sushi. But Peyote has nevertheless brought Oaxaca to Cork Street.
From Monday, Peyote will be getting into the groove (the grave?) with Dead Week where the rites, rituals, colours and celebrations of the Día de Muertos will fill the restaurant. Alongside dishes like avocado tempura, soft shell crab tacos, stone bass with ajillo sauce and rib-eye steak with borracha salsa, there will be live music, DJs and performers with enough noise and enthusiasm to wake the dead.
And if you go on Tuesday, you’ll be at the launch of Peyote Ugly, where you can be behind the bar mixing your drinks (or on the bar drinking your drinks).
Meanwhile, Wahaca, the chain of Mexican restaurants, is offering temporary Day of the Dead tattoos to customers until 7 November, and on 1 November (All Saints’ Day, when the spirits of deceased adults come to visit) you can get a full-face decoration to delight and horrify your colleagues and friends. (‘Jones, why do you look like a skeleton?’ ‘Day of the Dead, sir.’ ‘I thought we’d been working you too hard. Carry on.’)
You can also enjoy Day of the Dead specials like a bloody pomegranate mezcalita (orange, pomegranate, 100 per cent agave mezcal) or skull-shaped chilli chocolates.
If you venture to Brixton (or Junior Bankerville as it shall henceforth be known), Wahaca there is supporting a Day of the Dead Futuro party on 1 November at Number Six, with Mexican films and, appropriately, cutting-edge performers and DJs.
Londonist has many more Day of the Dead celebrations here. And remember: too much tequila or mezcal and you might wake up the day after the Day of the Dead wishing you were.
Peyote, 13 Cork Street peyoterestaurant.com