Day of the Dead 2018 in London: The Ultimate GuideBy Angelica Malin
Not to be confused with Halloween, Día de Muertos (Day of the Dead) is an annual festival, recently made famous by films from James Bond to Coco, held in Mexico and across South America in honour of those who have died to ensure their memories still live on. A colourful explosion of food, dancing and reflection, people are encouraged to gather and celebrate to help those who have departed on their spiritual paths.
All over London, restaurants and bars are celebrating Day of the Dead in their own delicious ways. From candlelit dinners to tequila fuelled parties – here’s our top picks:
What: To mark Day of the Dead, chef Martha Ortiz and the team has crafted an eight-course Painted Black tasting menu with accompanying serves; the perfect opportunity to gather friends and family and celebrate life at Ella Canta.
The Lowdown: Available from 1st–17th November, the Painted Black menu has a continuous river of black running through each dish, a line that celebrates life. The recipes combine bold, authentic flavours with contemporary culinary techniques, with dishes such as burnt corn masa, huitlacoche, cheese and black habanero ashes and black tamal stuffed with entomatado short rib and chicatana sauce. The eight-course menu is completed with beguiling desserts including Maria goes to Mictlán, The Land of The Dead and dark chocolate spheres with a magical dust of smoked chile.
Where: Ella Canta, One Hamilton Place, Park Lane, London W1J 7QY
What: To celebrate the traditional Mexican holiday Day of the Dead, Patrón Tequila is throwing an Art of Patrón x Day of the Dead bash at the UNIT London in Mayfair on Friday 2nd November.
The Lowdown: To help commemorate this joyful celebration of life, the evening will play host to Day of the Dead inspired Patrón Tequila cocktails and masterclasses, live art installations, and make-up stations, alongside a top DJ with Mexican heritage playing epic latin beats. Enjoy specially-created Patrón Tequila Day of the Dead cocktails including: El Diablo – Patrón Silver tequila, lime, ginger beer and Crème de Cassis, and the Panteon Margarita – Patrón Silver tequila, Patrón Citrónge, vanilla syrup and lemon.
Price: £15 includes entrance to the event, x3 complimentary cocktails and experimental masterclass. Buy here.
Where: 3 Hanover Square, Mayfair, London W1S 1HD
What: Wahaca will celebrate Mexico’s famous Day of the Dead festival with a one-off immersive dinner event hosted by co-founder Thomasina Miers in London, and a week-long celebration with delicious feasting menus, specially crafted cocktails and traditional decorations at all Wahaca restaurants across the capital.
The Lowdown: Wahaca’s dinner in Soho on 1st November will include a five-course menu cooked by Thomasina, featuring trout and passion fruit ceviche and a traditional slow-cooked rabbit and partridge picadillo, a welcome Olmeca Altos Marigold Margarita and tequila and mezcal tastings. The feasting menu, available across all sites, will feature seasonal specials including the likes of chargrilled squash grown especially for Wahaca by the team at Riverford Organic, freshly baked cornbread with whipped goat’s cheese and chilli jam, as well as locally cured Trealy Farm chorizo quesadillas, and a freshly shaken Marigold Margarita with 100% agave Altos Tequila.
Price: Tickets for the dinner are priced at £50 per person. Buy here.
Where: 80 Wardour Street, Soho, London W1F OTF
What: If you like tequila, tacos and seriously good tunes, Bluebird Café at White City is hosting a Day of the Dead Brunch Party on November 3rd, celebrating the Mexican fiesta.
The Lowdown: In partnership with Patron Tequila and Fever Tree, they’ll be serving a Bloody Maria and margaritas a plenty, a three course brunch menu featuring a mash-up of breakfast bites with a Mexican twist, plus they’ll be a live DJ set throughout the day.
Price: Ticket cost £35 per person, and include 3 courses for £35 with a welcome cocktail. Buy here.
Where: Television Centre, Wood Ln, White City, London W12 7FR
What: BigEasy are honouring their Mexican heritage and celebrating the Mexican event of the year in style with a special four day shindig.
The Lowdown: From October 31st to November 2nd, they’re going the whole fajita and putting on a special Mexican sharing feast – think grilled corn, quesadillas and tacos. And on the 31st, there will be a Mariarchi band, special Big Easy piñatas (with special prizes to be won) and a happy hour all night long.
Price: Sharing feast menu is priced at £22.50 per person.
Where: 332-334 King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 5UR
What: Premium tequila brand Cazcabel have teamed up with Mexican restaurant Corazon to host a brunch complete with bingo game ‘La Loteria’ to celebrate this year’s Day of the Dead festival.
The Lowdown: On Sunday 4th November, Corazon will tacover the menu while Cazcabel Tequila take care of the cocktails… and that’s not all. All attendees will be invited to play La Loteria – a Mexican Bingo, where they are in for the chance of winning all sorts of enticing prizes. Main courses include buttermilk cornmeal pancakes topped with caramelised bananas, toasted pecans, maple and whipped cream, bacon, egg and cheese tacos, and baja fish tacos with red and white shredded cabbage and chipotle mayo.
Price: £15 per person and includes a drink on arrival, main course, sharing side (service included) and La Loteria. Buy here.
Where: 29 Poland St, Soho, London W1F 8QR
Photo Credit: Steven Joyce
What: Cantina Laredo will this year be hosting a Candlelit Day of the Dead Dinner on Friday 2nd November, welcoming chicos y chicas to a memorable evening, in celebration of Mexico’s Dia de los Muertos. Bringing Mexican traditions to life, experience a free-flowing dinner by candlelight surrounded by Mexican marigolds, whilst tucking into authentic Mexican cuisine and one-off special dishes and drinks.
The Lowdown: The menu offers unlimited Margaritas, wine and beer, and will include; grasshopper topped guacamole, aubergine tostadas served with green habanero mayonnaise, duck tacos with Nutella mole and plums and butterfly tiger prawn served with Valentina butter. Specials include a special Day of the Dead dessert, The Dangerous Don, a coconut tres leches cronut with coconut sorbet on coconut sand, topped with a melting dark chocolate skull, filled with an oozing chocolate and dulce de leche centre and hot tres leches sauce.
Price: £50 Per Person. Book here
Where: 10 Upper St Martin’s Lane, London WC2H 9FB
What: Leading the way in Mexican cuisine, chef Pedro Evia is collaborating with Santo Remedio to host a 5-course special tasting menu, to celebrate Hanal Pixan, Day of the Dead, on Monday 5th November.
The Lowdown: On the menu, Pedro has created the traditional day of the dead dish, Mucbipollo as well as scallop ceviche negro, made with dried chillies, annatto, all spice, cloves and cinnamon and venison in a Yacatán plum pipian. Dessert will be a classic Mayan dish of passion fruit, Mayan honey from the Yucatán and bee pollen, and drinks will include Balche, a sacred local drink used in ceremonies and rituals.
Price: Menu from £40.
Where: Santo Remedio, 152 Tooley St, London, SE1 2TU
Photo Credit: Nick Hopper
What: Jose Cuervo Tradicional 100% agave tequila will host a vibrant Day of the Dead party on Friday 2nd November. The unique spin on Día de los Muertos by Jose Cuervo will see everyone transported to a London version of this grand and reverent Mexican celebration.
The Lowdown: Taking place at Shoreditch’s trendy 93 Feet East, the night will feature Day of the Dead themed cocktails, a mariachi band, sugar skulls, music from celebrity DJ Goldierocks and a tequila bar draped in colourful marigolds, the traditional orange flower of the Mexican celebration.
Price: Grab £10 tickets here.
Where: 150 Brick Lane, Shoreditch, London E1 6QL
What: On 1st November Home House will be hosting a Dia de Los Muertos Party with Tex Mex band Los Pacaminos performing live sessions throughout the night as well as a special Mexican dinner for hungry partygoers.
The Lowdown: No celebration is complete without face painting, cheery skeletons, flower laden hair and garlands. And The Octagon Dining Room will also be serving a one-off Mexican menu, with dishes including: slow roasted pork carnitas with watermelon pico de gallo, seared flank steak with coriander crema, corn red onion and jalapeño salsa, and chilli and cinnamon spiced dark chocolate flan with candied pumpkin.
Price: Party tickets: £25. Dinner and party tickets: £55
Where: 20 Portman Square, Marylebone, London W1H 6LW