Set in the heart of Covent Garden, El Nivel is London’s first Agaveria cocktail bar and restaurant specialising in rare and unusual tequila and mezcal. Launched in May 2014, the space is a sophisticated bar for grown-ups designed in a distinctive retro Latin-American style. Its airy yet intimate wood panelled bar with light ambient music is a homage to the first licensed cantina in Mexico opened in 1855.
El Nivel is the brainchild of the UK’s most well-regarded tequila experts, Tomas Estes and his son, Jesse Estes, the co- owners of Ocho Tequila, a single estate vintage tequila. The venue is set to indulge and inspire tequila and mezcal fans while educating and enthusing those who aren’t so sure about this complex and fascinating spirit, along with their lesser known siblings, bacanora, raicilla and sotol.
Featuring special bottles from private collections, vintage tequilas and craft cocktails, the offerings will combine classic spirits with inventive twists. Designed by Jesse Estes, the carefully crafted cocktails at El Nivel range from delicate to earthy, and light to heady, utilising unusual flavour combinations and forward thinking techniques to create a balanced and diverse list. Starting at £9, examples from the cocktail list include the La Altua, a margarita made with two tequilas: Ocho blanco and Toapatio 110, a perfect aperitif. The brilliantly named Diplomat’s Downfall made with Tapatio 100°, fresh lemon and orange juices is remarkably refreshing and pleasant. And the Mulatto Margarita is an exciting combination of Maestro Dobel with lime juice and white creme de cacao and a complex and tingly mix of chipotel salt and cacao sugar rim which elevate this into an outstanding cocktail.
The great selection of cocktails is accompanied by innovative Mexican tasting plates, created by Le Cordon Bleu trained Head Chef Eamonn Mullen, designed with the tequila in mind. The food is rooted in contemporary Mexican cooking, but takes inspiration from Asia and Europe as well as Latin America. Dishes such as Pork Belly Chicharones are crispy pork belly pieces served with a teriyaki, sambal and sesame seed sauce. The Guacamole “Yim Fun Ho” is a twist on the classic avocado relish made with with fresh strawberries, mango, and jicama. It has a lovely light, citrus and creamy texture, topped with pomegranate seeds which give it a crunchy bite. And the Tostadas se Atun ‘Luzia’ have raw line caught Yellowfin tuna with avocado served on corn tortillas, a great example of bite size Mexican freshness.
El Nivel is a perfect place for a cocktail with friends and with space for around 30 people, El Nivel is also available for private events. Its intimate yet bright space, along with the menu and cocktail on offer, makes this a great sanctuary from the bustle of Covent Garden.