Walking through the town centre this afternoon made me wonder why there were so many seemingly very similar (and tatty) Mexican/Spanish joints in Greenwich? Are they all owned by the same person/company? Did Greenwich at some point in the past go through a Mexican wave (bad but intended pun)? I am hoping you can shed some light on this perplexing Mexican mystery.
The Phantom replies:
Think yourself lucky Ankur – there are actually fewer ‘Mexican’ / ‘Tex-Mex’ restaurants here than there were even a couple of years ago. The one that really stank is long gone (hands up who remembers The Alamo, opposite Greenwich Picturehouse – a truly abysmal experience from the word go).
To be honest who owns what in Greenwich Town centre is a mystery to me. I understand that one or two of the noodle bars are owned by one company but as for the Tex-Mex I really don’t know. I don’t think the Spanish restaurant is owned by any of the Texican places but in truth, I’m not party to who owns what – I just don’t move in those circles. I am a consumer, not a purveyor and as such nobody tells me nothing.
Over the years I have tried them all though. There isn’t one of them I’d go back to; indeed one of them I didn’t actually stay long enough to order food in. It’s not that I don’t like Tex-Mex food, I just don’t like this Tex Mex food. Certainly when I had pals staying from New Mexico, I took them elsewhere.
Why are there so many? Well, my guess (and it’s only a guess) is that it’s cheap and comparitively easy to do. The ingredients, especially the veg, by their very nature, cost little, and if you slather enough sauce over the meat you can hide a multitude of sins.
It’s possible the various Tex-Mex places in Greenwich town centre have improved since I was last inside one – a good couple of years ago at least – but with a list of places still to test, I’m not going back for a while.
Not that they care. They’re not here for locals. They’re here for the constant supply of tourists who will only ever visit Greenwich once and, even if they don’t enjoy the food, will chalk it up to experience and perhaps mention to a couple of friends (far away) not to go to so-and-so, something the friend will have almost certainly forgotten when they come here.
The closest I’ve had reasonable Tex-Mex recently was, actually, the one time I visited Westfield and, being freaked out by the crowds, retreated to Wahaca, which I really enjoyed. I’ve since eaten in the Soho branch too and liked that as well. Sadly, IMHO, this is one example of a chain being better than an independent (or at least the comparitive indies we have).
I’m not advocating a branch of Wahaca in Greenwich, I just wish the restaurants we have would up their game. But while there are once-only tourists filling the seats every day, I’m not holding out much hope.
I already know what the comments section’s going to be like today – full of people defending these glorious places, telling me how much they enjoy them and that I’m a snob. I’m cool with that.
Tell me convincing reasons why I should go back to any of these places and I will.