Making our blackened octopus dish

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One of our most favourite creations on our menu is the blackened octopus in chichilo ashes. The most striking thing about the dish for most people is its appearance; the contrast of the black tentacle against a speckled white plate and the pastel pink and herb green salsas. This dish was inspired by a taco in Mexico where the meat of the rotisserie is marinated in a black sauce. We wanted to create a dish that pushed the boundaries of a mole and presented the customer with something both aesthetically beautiful and a new taste.

To make this dish, we were very careful to stick to the principals of a mole; incorporating chillies, nut spices and fruits, but we take it one step further when cooking the ingredients and reduce them all to ashes. 

If you have ever tried to marinate something in ashes, you’ll know just how difficult it is; so we mix the ashes with a black sesame seed paste which not only allows the mole to evenly marinate the tentacles, but it also gives a deeper, richer and more intense flavour of the mole.

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After marinating for 24 hours, the octopus is ready to be cooked and served. The final addition before serving to a customer are the two salsas we make, which are designed to balance the intensity of the mole. The herb-green salsa is made from avocados and tomatillo; and the pastel pink salsa is a combination of hibiscus flowers, truffle and aioli. When combined together, every mouthful should give an umami flavour. 

We hope you enjoy this dish as much as we enjoy making it!

Brunch is here…

Head chef, Felix, has been busy prepping his Mexican-inspired Brunch menu and we’re excited to see it finally on the menu on Saturday and Sundays from 12-4pm,

You’ll be able to tuck into our very own huevos benedict topped chorizo, bacon and chipotle-hollandaise sauce as well as your usual favourites like burritos and tacos from 12-4pm on Saturday and Sundays.

We will of course have bottomless margaritas, prosecco and juice on offer for the perfect brunch pairing. 

 

What we got up to during lockdown?

There’s no hiding that lockdown hit us – and every other food and drinks business out there – really hard when we were least expecting it. I am not somebody who can’t stay still; I need to always be doing something, so most of the time you’ll see me moving about keeping busy. There were two weeks between the start of lockdown and re-opening for takeaways on 1st April where I had so much free time, I ended up doing nearly every trend that was going. I’m ashamed to say that I even participated in a few Tik-Tok videos.

After about 10 days, I got in touch with the Caldera team and asked if they would be comfortable to re-open for takeaways, and thankfully they were more than happy; they too had had their fill of tik toks and dagona coffee.

The first few weeks of Ubereats and Deliveroo were slow and sluggish, but a massive thank you goes out to everyone who ordered from us in that time! You know who you are. The support we got in that time, gave us the boost to serve, keep smiling and continue with our purpose as a local community-based restaurant and serve our neighbours during times which I am sure have been difficult and draining for everyone. Nothing perks up a mood more than great food.

We started by offering care packages to our lovely residents of the Monohaus building where we are based with a sample of our salsas, tortilla chips and some lovely British tea and biscuits.

Ever since we opened our doors last year, we have focussed on creating a comfortable and enjoyable atmosphere inside, without giving much thought to our online look,  so we used the opportunity to take some nice foodie shots for our delivery pages, which meant making lots of pictures for photoshoots – and since we hate waste – there was only one solution…. Having a feast for ourselves (and the flatmates and families we live with).

Our biggest challenge was ensuring that the food delivered to you was as tasty and wonderful as we serve in-house.  We have always been big advocates for using sustainable packaging and use companies such as Biopak for our takeaway packaging to help deliver dishes like our tacos, padron peppers and poke bowl safely to our customers in a sustainable way.  Biopak contributes profits toward positive changes to the environment helping to protect rainforests, support renewable energy projects and towards social change. 

Now we face a new challenge – coping with social distancing measures and trying to offer something close to normality for our customers.  For now, we are still operating on a limited menu and hours, but we are slowly increasing both. We know that dining out can be a bit of a luxury for many people now as redundancies are made and hours are being cut.  That’s why we are running days like Taco Thursday (whilst we are closed on Tuesdays) – two taco pieces for £5, and soon we will be bringing you both bottomless margaritas and our Mexican-inspired brunch on the weekends, making up for lost 2020 time so grab some friends and book in. We always guarantee you smiley faces, great food and delicious drinks here at Caldera.

Thanks once again, see you soon.

Arya, 
Caldera Founder.

 Tortilla Workshops

Starting on Monday 24th February, we are hosting tortilla workshops in collaboration with Karla Zazueta, the founder of Mexican Food Memories

We will show you how to make the perfect corn tortillas from scratch and explain the different types of corn we have in Mexico and the process of nixtamalisation (the process that corn goes through to make tortillas). 

We will make yellow corn tortillas, blue corn tortillas and dual corn tortillas.  After we finish making the tortillas, you will make our own tacos with your tortillas and some Mexican sample dishes that we will cook for you!

Dates
Class for adults £40
Monday 24th February, 2020 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 5 places available
Monday 2nd March, 2020 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 5 places available
Monday 9th March, 2020 from 7:00 pm to 8:30 5 places available

Parent & Child £45
Saturday 29th February, 2020 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm 5 places available
Saturday 7th March, 2020 from 11:00 am to 12:30 pm 5 places available

Email us at bookings@calderalondon.com to book your place!

  • Introducing Caldera December 5th 2019 by Caldera_Admin

    Hi – I’m Ernesto and welcome to Caldera, a Mexican-inspired restaurant offering a refined version of traditional Mexican dishes.

    My earliest memory of cooking was when I tried to cook pancakes for my mum and sister as a surprise when I was 12 years old. I mis-read 2 ½ cups of milk for 21 ½ cups and felt so ashamed that I wanted to learn how to cook properly and what began as a necessity, developed into a love.

    Caldera was a brainchild of me and my co-founder, Arya, when we met through a mutual friend in 2014 one night in Hackney. Arya was then working for an asset management company in The City; he had just returned from a trip to Mexico and was raving about how amazing the food was, but that most of the restaurants were either chains or all looked the same and didn’t do the food any justice.  I agreed and felt that London needed a restaurant similar to what Dishoom is for Indian cuisine – breaking away from the stereotypes and shining a light on its vast array of gastronomy.

    In 2015, Arya left finance and immersed himself in the world of hospitality and fell in love with the industry and reached out to me in 2018 to team up on a new project creating Mexican food that people had not tried before.

    Fast forward to 2018 and we began creating our menu and our concept. Through my experience with Asian cuisine, I was keen on combining Asian and Mexican ingredients to redefine traditional dishes.  Our grilled octopus with black chichilo-goma ashes is a wonderful dish that shows how ingredients from all over the world can be combined to truly create something better and unique. 

    We believe in diversity and drawing inspiration from different cultures, which is why we named ourselves caldera, meaning cauldron, which reflects the influence of different cultures on our food and our identity.  

  • An introduction to Caldera’s menu November 25th 2019 by Caldera_Admin

    Caldera – Spanish for cauldron – reflects and inspired the creation of a globally influenced menu. Whilst the menu includes a number of familiar and classic dishes, such as nachos, tacos and burritos, it is also an opportunity to introduce to everyone less well-known local and regional food and traditions. Caldera’s menu is about sharing Mexican gastronomy beyond this trio and incorporating ingredients from around the world to create dishes that will excite and educate. From well-known favourites, to unusual ingredients and meat-centred dishes to vegan creations, there’s something for everyone to tuck into.

    One of the new additions to the menu is the ‘lamb cutlets with rice’. What makes Caldera’s lamb cutlets different? The ground mole rojo marinade. With 19 ingredients and a process that takes 12 hours, the mole rojo is truly a labour of love. The ingredients are ground to a paste on a volcanic metate, with essential minerals from the metate incorporated into the mole. The ground mole is then mixed with miso, to give the lamb cutlets a beautifully rich, slightly sweet and umami-packed flavour.

    Another dish to look out for on the menu is a truly Mexican-Japanese fusion. The key ingredient in this playful dish is the grilled octopus, which has been marinated in black chichilo-goma ashes. The first of the Japanese elements is the black goma paste (black sesame), which has been used for its intense black colour, as well as flavour. The octopus is then given extra flavour and colour with a delicate piping of hibiscus kosho and truffle aioli in the suckers and the use of ikura. Aside from the contrast of the unique texture of the pop, the ikura also delivers a fresh, salty flavour, elevating the more delicate flavour of the octopus. Finally, the dish is completed with the third Japanese element of kaiso seaweed salad.

    Enjoy these dishes and many more on Caldera’s all-day menu!