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How to celebrate Cinco de Mayo in London

Simon Calder’s Travel

This year, the first May bank holiday Sunday has aligned with Cinco de Mayo celebrations.

Contrary to popular belief, the annual festivities do not mark Mexican Independence Day – this is commemorated on 16 September. Instead, the 5 May fiesta marks the unexpected victory of the Battle of Puebla by the Mexican Republic over France in 1862.

Mainly celebrated in Mexico’s eastern Puebla state, a colourful combination of festivals, street parties, food and folk dancing is commonplace to ring in the military victory.

In the US, the 5 May is widely celebrated as a carnival praising Mexican cultural heritage. In the UK? It’s more of an excuse to indulge in tequila, guacamole and tacos while dancing to the music of mariachi bands or taking a mezcal masterclass.

Here are the restaurants and bars in London honouring the holiday where salt-rimmed shots and filled tortillas will be flowing.

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Los Mochis, Notting Hill

For a weeklong fiesta of bespoke cocktails, agave flights and live mariachi bands, Los Mochis’ Pan-Pacific blend of Mexican and Japanese cuisine in Notting Hill is a big hitter in the Cinco de Mayo arena. From 2 to 9 May unique offerings extend the party beyond the main event on 5 May – music and dancing from 6pm to 9pm and a host of mighty Mexican dishes from crab tostaditos to shrimp guacamole.

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Cinco de Mayo Fest, Covent Garden

This Sunday from 11am to 6pm Covent Garden and Rotary Square will come to life with artisan vendors, face painting and live music for a family-friendly Cinco de Mayo Fest. A bouncy castle, street food vendors – including La Burreria, La Parrillada and Qbites – and handmade jewellery and candle stands are all set to spice up the iconic market.

Cost: Free

Wahaca, London

If a menu of on-the-rocks margaritas, mezcal cocktails and a catalogue of tequila shots for less than £10 takes your fancy, visit one of Mexican-inspired Wahaca’s 11 London locations. Small plate streetfood, quesadillas and churros promise an affordable flavour of Mexico, and there are even extensive vegan and vegetarian options for everyone to enjoy the Cinco de Mayo long weekend.

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Jalisco, Brixton

At Jalisco in the heart of Brixton Village, “there’s always time for tequila” and this sentiment alone should cement your Cinco de Mayo plans in South London. Expect a lively…

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