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El Pastór: Mexico City Comes to London

One of the many delights of dining out in London is the architectural innovation that marks out each new venture. London-based architectural practice, Michaelis Boyd (whose recent commissions include the interiors for Battersea Power Station’s new residences), has just completed work on El Pastór, a vibrant new taqueria in the heart of Borough Market that pays homage to the vibrancy of Mexico City and the mighty ‘al pastor’ taco.

El Pastor restaurant interior

El Pastór is the latest restaurant venture of acclaimed proprietors, the Hart Brothers (of Barrafina fame) and Crispin Somerville, a founding partner in El Comillo – a seminal mid-90s jazz and underground house club in the Juárez district of Mexico City.

Michaelis Boyd, the Harts and Somerville visited the streets of Mexico City to seek out inspiration for the new London eatery with the aim of bringing back some of the atmosphere of an authentic, local Mexican street-food café/taqueria.

ElPastor view to the street

The long narrow site of El Pastór lies beneath London Bridge’s railway arches, that encircle Borough Market. The main dining space is clad with corrugated metal and exposed bricks, but despite the industrial shell, the space is both inviting and warm. The lively, painted shutter shopfront of El Pastόr welcomes diners with real Mexican spirit, and a fiesta ambience is continued inside through vibrant artworks, bold pieces of furniture, flashes of neon and strings of bright lightbulbs.

Inspired by the local food markets and colourful displays of Mexico city, Michaelis Boyd have created a ‘mezcaleria’ using dazzling emerald-green conglomerate marble. The back wall of the bar contains a purpose built shelving unit for storing fresh fruits and glass bottles, in the same way they are found in the markets of Mexico.

El Pastor tables and chairs

Most of the tables are bar counter height with bright and vibrant glazed Pyrolave tabletops. Pyrolave is created from slabs of natural lava rock, which is then glazed and fired at very high temperatures to create a hardwearing vitreous finish in an array of vibrant, mottled colours. The fixed seating areas include simple banquettes, while the rest of the space is filled with a colourful array of Afro Chairs designed by India Mahdavi. These are made from a system of coloured woven strings wrapped around a simple metal chair frame, with each chair having its own unique colour combination. The second room features an emerald clad kitchen bar with a tortilla factory visible in the mezzanine above. All the metalwork, such as stairs, balustrades, windows and shelving units were inspired by Mexico City’s intricate architectural elements and vernacular design.


The polished concrete floor includes two manhole covers located at the two different ends of the restaurant. Dramatic 3.5 metre high custom-designed arched windows, embellished with art deco details, fill the back of the space to create a sense of spectacle. Bright colours and bold artwork are also located in different parts of the restaurant to conjure up the vibrant colours and atmosphere of Mexico City.

El Pastór
7A Stoney Street