Can’t make it to Mexico? Just head for Hacha in Haggerston instead. Run by luxury tequila ambassador for Diageo, Deano Moncrieffe, and named after the axe used to cut agave pinas, Hacha serves a changing range of 25 tequilas, mezcals and other lesser-known agave spirits. This, coupled with a Mexican small plates menu courtesy of Conga and (if you’re lucky) weather warm enough to sit outside, you won’t feel like you’re on Kingsland Road…. except that you’ll have a view of traffic rather than a beautiful sandy beach.
The agaveria, on the site where wine bar Sapling used to be, is bright and airy, with a pink tiled floor, lots of plants and a mix of table and seating, plus a handful of tables out front, which is where we perched on our visit.
If you really want to get into the nitty gritty of agave, the bar offers single serves of each of the bottles on the list and tasting flights, complete with flavour enhancers. We stuck to the cocktails, all fairly classic with a little Hacha twist. The Mirror Margarita is the bar’s signature serve. It tastes exactly like a margarita but it’s completely clear so it looks just like water – some Willy Wonka shit right there. We tried to get the scoop from Deano on how he does it but like any magician, he wouldn’t reveal his secrets.
The Hacha Tommy’s Margarita (blanco tequila, rosemary smoked lime and pistachio agave syrup) is also excellent and dangerously drinkable, and the Mexican Highball (reposado tequila, mezcal and soda) packs a punch, with a smoky finish coming courtesy of the mezcal.
If, like us, you find the margaritas slipping down extremely easily, you’ll want to order a few plates from the kitchen – we can recommend the aubergine and avocado crema tostaditas; the shredded beef, tomato and crispy plaintain tacos; and the prawn aji amarillo ceviche tostaditas. Just make sure to have napkins at the ready.
With a relaxed atmosphere and some knockout drinks, Hacha is a great neighbourhood joint and definitely one of the best places for tequila and mezcal in town.
378 Kingsland Rd, London E8 4AA