Masa + Mezcal will offer artisanal Mexican food and drink in abundance
Opening in Spring 2019, Masa + Mezcal will offer fresh, innovative and artisanal Mexican food and drink, in the site currently occupied by Corner 77 in Stokes Croft.
The menu will be a collaboration between owners Kieran and Imogen Waite and Chef Carlos Rivas, a Mexican native who currently heads up the kitchen at Bravas Tapas Bar. It will centre around 100% naturally gluten free ingredients such as stoneground, homemade tortilla, the staple ingredient for tacos, as well as the best local produce the West Country has to offer, all complemented with careful sourced, sustainable Mexican ingredients brought direct from the source.
The menu has been designed in a way that allows diners to ‘graze’ through a range of smaller dishes or have larger Mexican style family dinners. Any meat or fish dishes will be from free range, organic and ethically sourced produce, and a separate plant-based menu will be available for vegan diners. All menus will be 100% naturally gluten free.
Inspired by a recent research trip to Mexico, owners Kieran and Imogen Waite and their team will be refurbishing Corner 77 in early 2019 to turn it into Masa + Mezcal, a plan they’ve had since acquiring the site in 2017. In order to stay true to authentic Mexican techniques, Imogen Waite (season and taste director), Mark Chapman (season and taste executive chef) and Cargo Cantina Head Chef Alec Morton underwent an intensive training programme at Maisajo, the best tortilla maker in Mexico City. There they learned the entire process of grinding corn and making ‘masa’, the corn-based dough from which tortillas are made from nixtamalization. This is a Mayan process which increases flavour, aroma and health benefits of the finished tortilla. They will be importing specialist machinery from Mexico and will be one of only a handful places in Europe following this process.
Speaking about the new restaurant and refurbishment owner Imogen said:
“We’ve always had a vision to bring authentic Mexican food to Bristol after many trips around Mexico, and after a great year of food, drink and music at Corner 77, we’re really excited to be transforming the space into Masa + Mezcal.
“We’ll be stone grinding all of the Masa dough, in house, which is a process often not even done in Mexico itself, and we’re passionate about keeping the food as authentic as possible to the food we fell in love with in Mexico! I’m under no illusion about how difficult and laborious this will be, it’s a real labour of love. I’ve been on the phone to Mexico all week and as I said to our friends over there – if we aren’t doing it properly I won’t be able to look myself in the mirror, so the real hard work starts now!”
Mezcal will be the focus of the drinks menu, which is made from roasting, fermenting and distilling the many varieties of the agave plant. With its well-known smoky flavour, mezcal is being tipped by industry experts as being one of the most exciting drinks categories that will take the UK by storm in 2019. Mezcal will be available straight up, in flights to help guests explore the flavour profiles such as fruit, stone and earth or as the staple ingredient of the cocktail menu.
“Mezcal will be a huge feature of what we do, Kieran stated. “Our bar shelves will climb to the ceiling and be back lit to display our mezcal library, we intend to build such a large collection that a roller ladder will be required behind the bar which we’re dubbing the stairway to heaven.”
Refurbishment work to Corner 77 will begin at the end of January and Masa + Mezcal will open in Spring 2019.