We do enjoy Halloween’s terror and mischievous shenanigans but how much do you know about Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos)? Celebrated in Mexico and countries with large Spanish speaking populations, Day of the Dead (officially on 2 November 2019) is all about celebrating and remembering family and friends in an explosion of colour, costumes, parties and feasting.
To celebrate, top London Mexican restaurant Ella Canta have created a Painted Black menu. Esteemed Chef Martha Ortiz sought to pay tribute to this Mexican tradition by showcasing black dishes that are striking but convey a beautiful message to celebrate life.
Available from 31 October until 16 November, the Painted Black menu will be made up of six stunning courses, carefully curated to take you on a unique culinary journey from octopus with black sesame and lime through to the grand sweet finale María la Catrina, an elegantly-dressed skeleton figure and symbol of the Day of the Dead celebrations. Here is the full menu:
Quesadilla Negra – Black quesadilla with courgettes flowers
Pulpo con salsa negra picante – Octopus, black sesame sauce and lime
Taco de chamorro y salsa de frijol con chile morita – Pork taco, black bean sauce, watercress
Pescado con polvo de cebolla y espuma de papa – Seabass, onion ash powder, potato puree
Sorbet de jamaica con dulce de remolacha y narajanja – Hibiscus sorbet, beet and orange candy
María la catrina – Maria with her catrina costume
The menu has a continuous line of black running through it – a line that celebrates life. We met the super elegant and talented Martha Ortiz recently and had an amazing chat about Mexican cooking and the importance of colour. She described Mexican cuisine as an emotional, solar cuisine kissed by the sun. This is reflective of the array of ingredients used and the contrasts of flavour. Look out for her book about colours in Mexican food next year.
A bold cocktail list is also on offer at Ella Canta, made with premium tequilas and diverse infusions with over 100 tequilas to sample. For Painted Black, Marta and the bar team have created The Lady in Black, a citrus focused margarita made with Amarillo chilli infused Patrón silver tequila, Cointreau, Rinomato Bianco aperitivo, lime, angostura bitters and Serrano chilli.
Staying with colour, If you happen to be around for the festive season, Ella Canta are celebrating the life of Mexico with the hypnotic richness of gold. The “Into the Gold” six course menu will be available from 12-21 December 2019 and includes sea bass ceviche, guinea fowl and much more. View the menu here.
The Painted Black menu is available at Ella Canta from 31 October to 16 November 2019 at £70 per person and includes one Painted Black cocktail. To book, visit www.ellacanta.com