In March of last year, a great thing happened. A restaurant named Santo Remedio opened its doors on Rivington Street in Shoreditch, and husband-and-wife duo Edson and Natalie Diaz Fuentes welcomed diners to one of the most exciting, authentic and delicious Mexican dining experiences to be found in the capital. I went and had guacamole topped with crickets, cactus tacos, slower-than-slow-cooked ox tongue, and loved it all.
Five months later, a sad thing happened. After glowing reviews (including ours) and queues out the door, Santo Remedio was forced to close, due to “problems outside of their control”. The wording was diplomatic; the circumstances were anything but: like the much-loved Truscott Arms before it, a presumably eye-watering rent hike on the part of the landlords shattered any dream of a profit margin for the business.
Edson and Natalie were not to be moved so easily, though. After dusting themselves down, and with a brief return to street food at a few events with Street Feast, they set up a Kickstarter page, with the aim of raising £40,000 from punters to relaunch.
If you're signed up to our e-newsletter, you might remember us telling you about it: they offered rewards for pledges ranging from recipe cards and feasts at the restaurant to a trip to Mexico with the two of them and a blowout feast for ten people.
Long story short: they hit their target, and, after some time spent revamping their new location on Tooley Street, near London Bridge before soft launching, they're back open for business, bigger and better than ever. There's an expanded menu; there's an upstairs mezcal and tequila bar; in a nice touch, the counter is partly made out of broken tiles salvaged from the Shoreditch site.
The move turned a sad situation into an incredibly heartening one. And more than that, it showed the extent to which Londoners care about the venues they eat in. Here's to putting your money where your mouth is…