Wednesday, 9 June 2010


El Rincon Quiteno
235 Holloway Road
020 7700 3670

It was the hottest day of the year and every pore in my body begged me not to go to a cramped eatery on Holloway Road and gorge on meat, beans, plantain and rice. But a voice inside my head decided it was necessary to paraphrase Homer Simpson.

"You don't win friends with salad, you don't win friends with salad, especially when vast quantities of meat, beans, plantain and rice are on offer from a cramped Ecuadorian caff on Holloway Road," said the voice.

My lunchtime companion, who can put away an impressive amount of meat for her small stature, ordered the fritada con mote y maduro frito, which loosely translates as pork cooked in pork fat with fried plantain. "Ask them to make one with extra pork," the voice inside my head said. I ignored him, but did make it absolutely clear to my hungry tablemate that we were doing a 50/50 split on this meal. Assured of hog-happiness, I ordered the seco de chivo con arroz (lamb in white wine sauce). We sipped head-spinningly oversweet soft drinks from Ecuador and Bolivia while waiting for the food to arrive.

El Rincon Quiteno, meaning "A Corner of Quito", fails to live up to its name - it looks like any other London caff. The dishes listed on the main blackboard are bog-standard fare such as jacket potatoes and sandwiches. Only a person with severe mental health problems would come to a place like this and order a jacket potato or a sandwich.

The fritada was as wonderful as you'd expect from a dish built from pork, pork fat and a flame. Each piece offered a perfect fusion of crispiness, juiciness, tenderness and smokiness. The token non-artery-destroying dish was also delicious, although it possibly wasn't what we ordered. It was lamb and it came with rice, and the sauce may well have contained wine, but it was suspiciously red and tomatoey for a white wine sauce. We saw no cause to complain.

After the meal, I walked out into the Highbury sun carrying a doggy bag. Saturday night at home with microwaved fried pork? Fuck yeah.

El Rincon Quiteno on Urbanspoon