Mexican food is in danger of becoming the new Peruvian, such is the trend for all things taco. But whereas the Nikkei dishes of Peru were alien to many of us when they first appeared on the scene, Mexican has been around, in a more casual guise, for years and the familiarity has arguably made it more difficult for high-end Mexican restaurants to flourish.
Peyote is here to change our minds. Set in DIFC, where the underwhelming Marco Pierre White venue Wheeler’s once stood, the restaurant comes to Dubai via London’s Mayfair.
Prices here are towards the higher end of the city’s spectrum, but you’d expect that for the area. The food needs to be good to justify them, though, and we’re not convinced it all is.
On our midweek visit, the dining room is quiet and staff unhelpfully recommend pretty much everything from the menu, then fuss around us (but there’s no-one to be found when we try to get the bill).
A “sharing concept” (of course), we order six dishes in total and it’s the right amount for two people.
The cactus salad is one of the highlights. Cactus has the texture of green pepper but with a more earthy flavour, and comes mixed with a tangy Mexican cheese, queso fresco, that pairs well. The cheese also pops up again in the excellent sweetcorn salad that we pair with the superb piece of sea bass we treat as a main.
Our guacamole is disappointingly bland and is a stingy portion to boot. The prawns in the ceviche are top-quality, but there’s so much of the overpowering lime marinade that their sweetness is lost. The short rib tacos are forgettable, too.
Will Peyote be the restaurant to help Mexican cuisine muscle in on Peruvian plates? Not on this evidence.
The Bill (for two) 1x tiger prawn ceviche Dhs55 1x guacamole Dhs48 1x cactus salad Dhs45 1x short rib tacos Dhs65 1x sweet corn side Dhs40 1x Chilean sea bass Dhs175 1x large water Dhs30
The bottom line Solid but doesn’t shine in DIFC.